Every time we come here, I fall more in love with this beautiful spot. Crystal Cove State Park is designated as an Underwater Park and definitely goes under my Summer Educational Series. This place makes it easy to add a learning experience to a family fun day at the beach.
Nothing is better then nature’s classroom. Stop by art museum, located across from the one restaurant on the beach, and pick up a Sea Life pamphlet (made especially for kids but I love it) It describes how to explore the tidepools and the sea life you find at different tide levels. All the kids love seeing sea anemones and get so excited by the Shore crabs. You can also read through the Crystal Cove State Park pamphlet with your to give them a some of the history of Crystal Cove.
I am simply amazed by God’s beautiful creations when I’m here. The pristine beach is surrounded by 80 foot coastal bluffs. It has 3.2 miles of beach and seven separate coves to explore. There’s plenty of room on the beach for sunbathing and picnicking.
There are volunteer led tidepool walks and every Wednesday throughout the summer, the Education Commons has classes on sea glass jewelry making, historic radio shows, historical games and more. These classes are from 9am-4pm and best of all it’s FREE.
A great way to teach your kids about serving your community and preserving our beaches is to join in a beach clean-up effort check out Save Our Beach.
- The best tidepool viewing experience is at low tide. Find the daily tide table on the weather page of the newspaper or go online Oakley Surf Report app.
- Please remember this is a protected area, please respect the tidepools by walking gently, do not pick up, poke or move the animals, shells or rocks and do not splash through the tidepools. Do not take anything home with you.
- Purchase a state parks annual pass before you go or have $15 ready for parking. There is a shuttle you can take from the parking lot to the the top of the beach. The cost is $1.00 per adult, children are free.
- Link to the official CA State Park Crystal Cove State Park website
- The Crystal Cove Interpretive Association has even better local information.
- Crystal Cove Tidepool Identification page complete with a tidepool song!
- Go to CA State Parks lessons about tidepools and tidepool ecology with your kid before your visit
How to Find the Park
The park is located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, California with easy access from I-5, 405 and 73. Crystal Cove State Park is located just north of Laguna Beach, California and just south of Corona Del Mar, California. Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, passes directly by the Park. There is parking both on the ocean side of PCH at Reef Point and Pelican Point as well as inland parking at El Moro Day Use Parking Area by the Ranger Station which can be reached by going inland at School/State Park traffic signal, located next to El Morro School.. A few miles north from Reef Point is the Los Trancos parking area with trolley access to the Historic District.