Best Beaches and Parks in Laguna Beach
A visit to a beach is one of the top things to do in Laguna Beach. It is easy to do so; there are many beaches and parks that access over eight miles of coastline here. The stunning ocean views from Laguna Beach's neighborhoods add to the quality of life here and the real estate property values in Laguna Beach.
The coastal terrain here varies from flat sandy beaches like Main Beach to sheer cliffs that drop right into the Pacific Ocean. Some beaches are all sand free of rocks and stones, while others are mostly stones. However, the surface changes throughout the year. If you live in Laguna Beach or spend any time here as a visitor, you will notice that some beaches lose a lot of their sand during the winter months, only to regain it in the spring and summer months.
To give you a head start with discovering the best beaches of Laguna, below you will find descriptions and photos of our favorite beaches and parks:
Thousand Steps Beach
The public entrance to Thousand Steps Beach is on the Pacific Coast Highway, directly across from the 9th Street junction, just two blocks South of the South Coast Medical Center. There is a sign and approximately 230 steep steps leading to the beach. It is a trek going down and coming back up, yet it is worth the haul to get to one of the premier beaches in town. Be advised that some folks use the stairs for exercise.
Parking is very scarce. If you park on the inland side of Coast Highway, your best bet is to use the crosswalks at the Hospital or 9th street. Crossing anywhere else is quite dangerous and illegal. The speed limit here is 45 mph, but many vehicles drive faster.
As you descend the stairs, you will get glimpses of the ocean and the beach. Take your time and stay focused, as the stairs are very steep. The stairway is covered with trees and vines in a thick canopy. At the bottom, the view opens to the beach with the ocean straight ahead.
There are a few small beach houses and a sheer cliff to the homes above to the right. To the left is a long stretch of beach with another sheer cliff. These two cliffs capture the cove that makes Thousand Steps Beach, which stretches about seven blocks. This beach is famous for its long staircase and excellent surfing, body surfing, volleyball, and sunbathing. When the surf is up, you will see waves crash spectacularly against the rock outcroppings.
Victoria Beach sits south of Main Beach and is known for its white sands, beautiful blue-green waters, and unique residences (old and new).
The prominent landmark is Pirate Tower at the north end of the beach that looks like a Victorian turret or lighthouse. It was built in 1926 as a spiral staircase to access the beach from the residence above. The castle-like tower is a big draw for tourists and photographers.
Victoria Beach is one of Laguna’s most private public beaches mainly because it is not easy to find and there is little parking. Many residents are not familiar with it or have never been to Victoria Beach.
Volleyball courts grace the north and south ends of the beach. Other popular activities are skimboarding (south end), body surfing, diving, and fishing. The majority of the people who use this beach are locals who live nearby in the neighborhoods like Victoria Beach, Lagunita, and Blue Lagoon.
There are no amenities at this beach, no water or restrooms. However, there are lifeguards.
There are several hazards and rip conditions. Victoria Beach is one of the beaches that loses almost all of its sand in the winter, exposing rough rocks that can be very difficult to navigate. Be careful when climbing or walking on these rocks because large swells or waves can take you by surprise and knock you over.
Waves tend to break onshore at this beach. Rips can develop in various places along the whole length of the beach and should be avoided by all, but especially children. The rock area to the north is popular with anglers and sightseers but can become unsafe during heavy surf or high tide conditions. Remember to always keep an eye on the ocean for large waves that can come by surprise.
To get to Victoria from the north, take PCH traveling south from Main Beach, make a right turn on Victoria Drive just after Rockledge Road and Terrace. Continue on Victoria to where it intersects with Sunset Terrace. There you will find a staircase leading to the beach. From the south, traveling north on PCH, make a right at the light at Nyes Place, go about 50 feet, turn left on Victoria Drive, and go under PCH to the intersection of Sunset Terrace. Again, there you will find a staircase leading to the beach.
If you are serious about visiting Victoria Beach, your best shot is early in the morning or late in the day. Parking is a premium, and finding spots can be difficult. Once you are in the vicinity, start to look for parking on PCH, then along Victoria Drive or one of the side streets. Please remember you are in a private residential area and be careful not to park in or block someone’s driveway or in no parking areas. You will get a ticket or be towed. Don’t even think about looking for a place on or just off Dumond Drive; it will not happen.
Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is located near the Montage Resort in South Laguna. In fact, it is co-managed by the city and the resort. Treasure Island Beach is known for its interesting rock formations, pristine sand, and easy access.
Some of the popular activities here include snorkling, swimming, and inspecting the tide pools for little ocean critters.
The best way to reach the beach is to use the parking garage at Treasure Island Park on the south end of the beach. From here, you can take ramps to the from the cliffs down to the ocean. The park has excellent faciliites including bathrooms, wheelchair ramps, and grassy lawns overlooking the ocean.
Heisler Park sits in the North Laguna neighborhood of Laguna Beach. It has benches, picnic tables, barbecue stands, plenty of grass for lounging, and magnificent views. You will find folks sunbathing, artists painting, large gatherings of friends and family picnicking, people taking pictures, sightseers resting and enjoying ocean views, and the occasional wedding.
Heisler Park is a great spot to watch sunsets. At the south end of the park at Aster Street, a Gazebo sits at the cliff's edge overlooking Bird Rock. Midway through the park is the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Greens (a private club). To the west of the bowling greens is another point that juts out and offers beautiful views south toward Main Beach and north toward Divers Cove.
If you approach from the north, turn right (west) at the light at Beverly Street, the street forks immediately, so take a quick left onto Cliff Drive. After traveling a short distance on Cliff Drive, you will start to see the trees and green of the park and the views of the ocean as you approach the park at Divers Cove. This area at the north end of the park is private and residential. Please be courteous and quiet. Do not park in or block someone's drive. If you block a driveway, you will get a ticket. There is plenty of metered parking further south along the park.
The park can also be accessed at Myrtle and Jasmine Streets and the south end at Aster Street by the Laguna Beach Museum of Art. If you are on foot, coming from the Main Beach neighborhood, walk north (right if you are looking at the ocean) on the boardwalk, and you will find a staircase leading up to the park.