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Crystal Cove is a stunning oceanfront wildlife reserve, perfect for picnicking, hiking, sunbathing and more.
The park is divided into two sections. The beach side has three miles (five kilometers) of pristine beach and a protected water park popular with scuba divers, snorkelers, surfers and swimmers. Behind the beach is 2,400 acres (971 hectares) of undeveloped woodland. Here you will find hiking trails, campsites and mountain vistas. Pay for an all-day parking pass and leave your vehicle in one of the three public parking lots while you take your time exploring.
To choose a walking trail, pick up a map from a ranger at the park’s visitor center. Easy walks pass numerous oceanfront lookouts. Hike the perimeter of the park on the advanced 11-mile (17-kilometer) trail. Mountain bikers and horseback enthusiasts can choose from the series of dirt paths that wind through the area. There are also basic campsites nestled deep in the woodland, dubbed the park’s “Back Country.” Getting to these sites is recommended only for the energetic, as they require several hours of strenuous hiking to reach. You must also take all supplies, including water. Alternatively, there are easily accessible waterfront camps and van sites that have communal restrooms and showers to use for a small fee.
The best-known pocket of Crystal Cove is the Historic District. This seaside village has rustic beach cottages, a restaurant, snack bar and souvenir shop. The more than 40 cottages were built in the 1920s and ’30s, and one appears in the 1988 film Beaches, starring Bette Midler. About half the cottages are restored as holiday rentals, which are booked solidly year-round. For reservations, book at least seven months in advance. On a day trip you can take a guided tour of the village on the second Saturday of the month. Book at the visitor center.
Crystal Cove is a short drive south of tourist hot spots Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.
This family-friendly Newport Beach resort is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Crystal Cove and Crystal Cove State Park. Corona del Mar State Beach is 2.5 mi (4 km) away.
Located in Laguna Beach, this beachfront hotel is in the city center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Main Beach Park, Crystal Cove State Park, and Victoria Beach. Heisler Park and Gallery Row are also within 5 minutes.
Situated by the ocean, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Heisler Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Crystal Cove State Park and Victoria Beach. Diver's Cove and Main Beach Park are also within 5 minutes.
Located in Laguna Beach, this beachfront hotel is in the city center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Gallery Row, Victoria Beach, and Crystal Cove State Park. Main Beach Park and Laguna Playhouse are also within 15 minutes.
This family-friendly Newport Beach condo resort is located near the beach, within a 15-minute walk of Crystal Cove and Crystal Cove State Park. Corona del Mar State Beach is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) away.
Located in the heart of Laguna Beach, this beach motel is within a 15-minute walk of Crescent Bay Point Park and Heisler Park. Main Beach Park and Crystal Cove State Park are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Emerald Bay, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Crescent Bay Point Park and Crystal Cove State Park. Diver's Cove and Heisler Park are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Emerald Bay, this romantic vacation home is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Crescent Bay Point Park and 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Crystal Cove State Park. Diver's Cove and Heisler Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).