4 Enchanting Things to Do in Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove

Hello fellow escapees. Landing at a coveted state park campsite can be tricky, especially as summer approaches. But landing a weekend at one of Crystal Cove Beach’s famous cottages, a bucket list item for many, is the mark of a truly savvy California traveler.

In this issue of Escapes, you’ll find my colleague Cindy Carcamo’s expert advice on making your California cabin dreams come true. You’ll also find more ways to soak up the sun — and the art — beyond the shore at Laguna Beach.

Do you have any tips for getting hard-to-get reservations in California? Want to share your favorite places in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach? As always, my inbox is open for your travel recommendations.

Guests dine by the sea at Beachcomber at Crystal

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Stay in one of Crystal Cove’s famous cabins

It’s hard to overstate the rustic magic of Crystal Cove State Beach’s iconic homes. “The cabins, some with new or faded paint, others clad in bare wood shingles and a few surrounded by white palisades, are part of a quirky village that looks like a time warp nearly 100 years into Crystal Cove State. Beach, a piece of pristine coastline,” Carcamo described in her recent story.

“Absolute failure is the typical outcome when trying to book a stay at Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. Still, the challenge didn’t deter me from trying.” His efforts paid off: in recent years, Carcamo has managed to stay in no less than seven different cabins on the beach.

Her recommendation: if you live relatively close, check for cancellations on the day you want to stay, in person.

“Some weekends my family wakes up early and goes for a bike ride or hike to Crystal Cove. I happen to go to the main office just before 11am to see if there are any cancellations. If there is, we go home, pack our bags and come right back,” he explains. “If we’re unlucky, we still have a good morning at the beach.”

Find the rest of Carcamo’s booking tips here.

The photo illustration shows a keyhole opening in a cliff on a rocky beach.

Visitors explore a tidal pool in the rock arch at Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach.

(Photograph by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Li Anne Liew)

The cabins at Crystal Cove aren’t the only popular structures on this stretch of the Orange County coast. Just 15 minutes away, at Laguna Beach, is a “pirate tower” hidden between the cliffs.

Is its name due to the buccaneers? Well no. As you may have guessed, the name “pirate tower” is not quite accurate.

According to Laguna Beach tourism officials, the seemingly ancient tower was actually built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase connecting a senator’s home to the beach below. Later, the senator sold the tower to a retired and “hobbyist” sea captain, who would sometimes disguise himself as a pirate and hide coins in the cracks of the tower to surprise anyone looking for treasure.

Three young people stand on a rocky shore as the sun reflects off the ocean waves.

Another charming place in Laguna Beach: the tidal pools of Shaw’s Cove.

(Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Los Angeles Times)

The 60-foot-tall turret is accessible from Victoria Beach at low tide, so visitors should plan their visit carefully. Naturally, this Instagram-famous spot also draws a lot of people, so anyone who wants to take a solo photo with the tower will have to work hard.

Walk along the beach to a “pirate tower”

Five men dressed in 18th century clothing and with painted faces stand in a group.

Cast members wait for their paint backstage at the 2021 Pageant of the Masters ‘Made in America’ show.

(Don Leach/Daily Driver)

Visit rescued seals and sea lions

After taking in the ocean views, animal lovers can set aside time to visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, which rescues, rehabilitates, and releases California sea lions, northern elephant seals, and sea lions. other animals.

Many animals can be seen on tours led by volunteers from the centre’s “visitor’s yard”. The 15 to 20 minute tours allow visitors to see and meet the animals in the centre’s rehabilitation tanks. Visitors leave with a better understanding of ocean protection measures that anyone can take to keep marine mammals safe.

Tours are free, although the center accepts donations. Advance reservations are required for groups of 10 or more; small groups do not need to book a time.

Explore Laguna Beach’s art scene

Pageant of the Masters is perhaps the best-known example of Laguna Beach’s thriving creative scene, earning a spot on Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds’ list of California’s 40 Best Outdoor Experiences. .

“The good folks of Laguna Beach don’t often make crazy art, but when they do…that’s it,” Reynolds writes. “On an open-air stage with orchestral accompaniment, live models pose amidst pristine backdrops to mimic famous works of art, new and old.”

This year’s Masters Competition runs from July 7 to September 2, but in the meantime, there’s plenty of art in town to enjoy. Here are some ideas:

Laguna Art Museum, one of the oldest in the state, it houses more than 3,600 works of art.

· More than 100 works of public art are scattered throughout the city. This brochure is a useful guide.

· Laguna Beach Art Galleries open on the first Thursday of every month from 6-9pm with free trolley service connecting galleries in the community.

· LOCA Arts Education organizes courses, workshops and conferences for artists and art lovers. My attention was drawn to the upcoming “Paint Out” event at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, scheduled for April 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.

📰 what i read

· “As I fled the war in Ukraine, I remembered the generosity of foreigners,” writes Maria Romanenko in Condé Nast Traveler. He describes his flight from kyiv to Poland and the people he met along the way.

Are 1,818 Airbnbs in Joshua Tree too many? Heather Murphy asks this question and details the “short-term rental gold rush” in The New York Times.

· Sedona, Arizona is another desert destination that is experiencing over-tourism. “Am I part of the problem? asks Stephanie Pearson in Outside.

· If you have a library card, you can now get a free pass to more than 200 California state parks, reports Carly Severn. On the KQED website, it explains how to take advantage of the program.

· Harmony, California is “real life Schitt’s Creek”. Andrew Pridgen covers the small town’s colorful recent history at SFGate.

🎸 road song

Song: “Cuff Your Jeans” by Claud

Favorite phrase: “Do you ever go out West? I mean beyond Texas, like California. I’d like to take you there.”

Where to hear it: Walk down the stairs to Thousand Steps Beach in South Laguna.

If you want to read this article in English, Click here

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