Laguna Beach, CA
Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM
Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Laguna Beach's 8 miles of coastline is a collection of pocket beaches and secluded coves, anchored in the middle by Main Beach. As many as 30 named beaches are spread along the Laguna Beach coast between Crescent Bay and Thousand Steps Beach.
The longest continuous stretch of sand runs from Main Beach Park south to Cactus Point. For convenience, this 1½-mile-long beach is divided into a dozen named segments. To the north and south of it are the smaller pocket beaches and coves.
Beautifully landscaped paths meander through Heisler Park overlooking the shore north of the main beach. Works of art, benches, overlooks, and small grassy retreats are found around nearly every bend. It is a magnificent place to walk, to view the rugged coast and beaches, and to encounter artists at work. Perhaps no other community along the California coast can match the splendor of Laguna Beach's shoreline paths.
Metered parking is found along streets around Laguna Beach at $1 to $2 per hour, but many areas have maximum time limits of only several hours. Ten hour meters are found in the 100-200 block of Cliff Drive between Broadway and Highway 1. Similar meters are found on part of Lower Cliff Drive.
Free parking is available at the Forest/Laguna Lot in designated areas from September to June. It is $10 a day in the summer, but the lot is a fair distance from the beach.
The Act V Parking Lot out Laguna Canyon Road charges $7 a day in the summer. Cash or pay attendant. Local buses, including a free summer trolley, connect with downtown and the beaches.
The Glenneyre Structure is close to Main Beach, but has a 3-hour limit. Cash or credit cards at $2 per hour. Most other parking lots around Laguna Beach have the same rates and 3-hour limit.
Limited parking is available in street-side parking lots around Heisler Park. As mentioned above, ten-hour meters there allow plenty of time for most beach visitors.
Year-round buses operate from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM on weekdays and beginning at 9:20 AM on Saturdays. There is no Sunday service. The Canyon Route connects the Act V parking out Laguna Canyon Road with downtown. Other routes run along the coast.
A Free Trolley runs daily every 20 minutes from June 28 to September 1 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM. Routes extend north and south along the coast and inland to the Act V parking lot.
Beautiful Crescent Bay Beach's quarter mile of sand is a popular gathering place from swimmers, skim-boarders and sun-bathers. A good place for diving. Restrooms and an outdoor shower. Crescent Bay Park overlooks the beach and the rocky points that enclose it.
Shaw's Cove Beach is a favorite of divers and tide poolers. Skim boarding is not allowed here. Anglers find this a good place to cast their lines. Access via a path at the foot of Fairview Street. There are no facilities.
Another popular spot for divers to enter the water. Many catamarans are usually hauled out on the beach here. Entry into the water is rocky.
As its name suggests, Diver's Cove draws its share of scuba divers. The small pocket beach is also a great place to avoid some of the crowds on the more popular beaches and spread your blanket on the sand. Families find it a good place for children to wade. It adjoins Picnic Beach to the south. The closes facilities are up at Heisler Park.
More than 200 yards of sand situated below Heisler Park make Picnic Beach a popular destination for many. Divers and snorkelers find plenty of interest just offshore. Tide poolers enjoy studying the marine life. Families like the convenience of the facilities in the park close at hand. Skimboarding is not allowed here.
Rockpile Beach lives up to its name. Surfers like the waves here despite the danger of the rocks. Most sun-bathers stick to Picnic Beach to the north. Tide pools are worth investigating during the lower tides. Swimming and bodyboarding are not permitted here. Access is via stairs from Heisler Park.
Main Beach, in the heart of town, is a popular gather place. The boardwalk along the edge of the sand makes a great place for a stroll. Basketball half-courts, volleyball courts, and a playground attract many visitors. Restrooms with outdoor showers are located at convenient places. Surfing is not permitted on the Main Beach during summer months.
South of the main beach are the smaller beach areas, usually designated by their street access names. None of them have restroom facilities.
Many families like coming to the welcoming sand at Woods Cove Beach, except at high tides when the sand is inundated. The secluded beach is bounded on either ends by rocks. Tide pools are crowded with interesting sea life. Divers often set out from the beach. There are no restrooms.
The beach at Moss Point is a small pocket of sand south of Wood's Cove. Divers use it as a launching site to explore the reefs. Surf can build up to dangerous levels, however. Rip currents are a hazard. During high tides the beach is covered. There are no restrooms at the beach.
For more detailed information about beaches in South Laguna, see our page South Laguna Beaches
Victoria Beach is considered by many to be the most attractive of all the beaches along the Laguna Beach coast. Access is at the foot of Sunset Terrace or Dumond Drive.
A broad stretch of inviting beach, shore-breaking surf, and a sandy bottom make this a popular spot in the summer. Skim boarding is limited to the beach's southern end.
Aliso Beach Park is a county park popular for surfing and body surfing. Facilities include a parking lot, restrooms, a playground, a pier, snack bar, and fire rings. Aliso Creek is known to have poor water quality, raising questions about the safety of the nearby ocean. A steep beach makes it a hazardous spot for swimming. Even so, it is the site of the Skimboarding World Championships. Hours are 6 AM to 10 PM. Parking is $1 per hour.
Popular with the gay and lesbian community, West Street Beach attracts a wide range of visitors to its clean sand and great waves. Body surfers like the spot. Access is via stairs at the foot of West Street.
About 150 steps at Eagle Rock Way lead down to this secluded beach. Rock cliffs surround a small patch of sand. Tide pools attract attention during low tides. At other times huge waves crash onto the beach. At the southern end of the beach a flat rock (Table Rock) extends over the water. Climbing on the rocks is not permitted. There are no facilities at the beach.
Guarded on either end by cliffs, Thousand Steps Beach is a nice pocket of sand at the southern end of Laguna Beach. Ferocious waves crash against the beach, making it a better place to sun bathing than water sports. Be prepared to descend about 230 steps near 9th Street. Facilities include restrooms, shower, and sink.
California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs,
pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as
playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly."
Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety