Total Pageviews

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Greater Los Angeles: Experiencing Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove State Park is located between the communities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach in Orange County. Run by the California State Park system, Crystal Cove has three miles of coastline, as well as 2800 acres of bluff and canyons set aside for hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding. 

This time last year, my wife, teenage kids and I were in Orange County for a few days. Good times. My wife and I got up early one morning to explore Crystal Cove. 

What's unique about Crystal Cove is how incredibly undeveloped it is. We were staying across the Pacific Coast Highway at the Marriott Newport Coast Vilas, so we just walked. There's also parking available on-site ($15 for the day, with discounted "sunset" rates). 

Regardless if you walk in, or park on site, you'll pass through several hundred yards of coastal sage before getting to cliffs overlooking the ocean. This is what much of coastal Southern California looked like for thousands of years. 

There are several overlooks and trails down to the beach below. 

The beach is generally wide, flat and - for Southern California - very empty. The lack of people is due to the face that it's not possible to park your car at the edge of the sand and easily haul your stuff to the sand. Crystal Cove is purposely different.

There's also rocky outcroppings and tidepools to explore. 

This was about 9am on a weekday. I'm curious what Crystal Cove looks like on an weekend afternoon in July. That, perhaps, is drawback of the limited on-site parking. 

Crystal Cove also and a dozen or so "historic" rustic beach cottages available for rent. If you're expecting the Marriott, you're probably gonna hate this. These cottages were built in 1920's - 1940's, they are an absolutely a step back in time. Apparently, there's not even parking next to the cottages; instead you have to hike in about a half a mile from a lot on the other side of the Pacific Coast Highway.  

If, however, you're looking for a step above camping, and a unique get-away at the beach - then this might be for you. The reviews on Trip Advisor are very postive. 

Here's a link with some reservation information. Like other State Parks, they begin taking reservations six months in advance! 

A final view of Crystal Cove State Park. Worth a visit, in my opinion. 

© 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Laguna Beach, California

In June 2017, my wife, two teenage kids and I spent a week in Southern California. We drove down to Hollywood the first night to see the sights (here's a link from last week). 

A few months earlier, Newport Coast Villas, asked if we'd like to come down for a time share presentation. I know time share presentations get a bad rap, but we will willing to give it a shot.

The good people at Newport Coast Villas were kind enough to schedule the obligatory 90 minute time share presentation our first morning there. My wife and I time to enjoy an hour or so for a walk along the bluffs at nearby Laguna Beach. 

Coastal Southern California can be surprisingly cold and foggy in both May and June. Hence the terms "May Gray" and "June Gloom." That's actually what we were expecting. 

Instead, we were fortunate to experience some pretty fabulous "chamber of commerce" weather. Sunny skies and warm, comfortable days. 

We had forgotten how beautiful Laguna Beach was. The city has a beautiful park along the bluffs overlooking the coastline. 

Another view, looking north. 

Looking south. 

These photos were taken walking along Heisler Park in Laguna Beach. Although it can get crowded, especially on weekends, it was very mellow on the morning we visited. 

While palm trees are not native to Southern California, they still look pretty great.

Laguna Beach prides itself on it's artist community, various art galleries, and and public artwork. Above, a colorful mural near the main beach. We had a 10am appointment for our time share presentation, so we headed back to Newport Beach. 

Another view from the Newport Coast Villas. The presentation included walking around the resort property. 

During our presentation, I noticed this on the wall of the office where we were meeting. 

Laguna Beach flashback photo. This was 12 years earlier, back in Fall of 2005, when our kids were just five and three. I'm reminded of the quote on the wall: "One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now."

That afternoon, we drove down to "Big Corona" - the beach at Corona del Mar, a couple miles from where we were staying. More next time. 

© 2018