This past weekend we took a trip to Crystal Cove State Park, California for a family trek to the beach there. We didn’t know what to expect since we’ve never been to this specific section of the coast, so we took the recommendation of the ranger at the Pelican Point parking lot entrance ($15 fee) and headed out looking for the caves as a group of 5 adults and 3 kids- a 6 and 4 year old plus an infant in a carrier. And we found them!
Lucky for us it was during low tide so all the tide pools were revealed and you could climb the rocks (so very carefully!) into the biggest cave. It’s not very deep, but for children, still a lot of fun to play “make-believe” inside. (Our nephews imagined where you would sleep and what area would be the kitchen for making food out of rocks.)
We spent some time on the sand, mostly poking around at the various shells littered throughout. But as a protected area it’s illegal to take the shells home with you (even though we saw people doing it, unfortunately.) There are a lot of different types of former sealife “homes”, from crab and oyster shells to even some lobster shed exoskeletons. Even our baby niece enjoyed teetering around near the ocean waves and picking things up.
There was also a viewpoint bluff overlooking the area and we witnessed at least 1 parasailer soaring above. We then hiked back towards the parking areas since that concrete path leads to only 1 destination. We were considering continuing on in the other direction to see what other trails there were up top, but we were all too exhausted from the full sun of the afternoon.
Be prepared for lots of people heading to the beach access points here and difficult rock climbing near the caves. We only logged about 2 miles all in all and spent about an hour there. It is a slow climb back up the path to the parking areas and has one steep set of stairs.
Bring a hat, sunscreen, water, water footwear if you’ve got them, and beach accessories if you’re going to stay and play there. Many people made the day of it with the unseasonably warm weather. As they say, sometimes life’s a beach!
-Summer (& Amanda, Drew & Josh, Juli, Gavin, Nathan, Macie)