Friday, July 20, 2007

Crystal Cove State Beach, Newport Coast

Crystal Cove State Beach, Newport Coast

Why we love it: It is always an adventure and different every time! It feels off the beaten path and is rarely every packed with people, even in the summer. The kids love to explore the tide pools and there is an infinite amount of things to explore. A huge bonus is our book is the physical element of it. We always park by the stairs down to the beach- so the kids get a great workout in addition to all the trekking on the sand. The views are incredible. Lifeguards are present during tourist season.

Be sure to bring: Sunscreen most importantly! We always bring a good sized back pack or tote with towels, change of clothes, water, snack, sand toys, swim vest (just in case I turn my attention for a minute) and of course a camera. I have seen many people bring their own portable umbrellas or shade tents in addition to chairs. Flip flops are a good idea because you want to be sure to wear something on your feet on the trek down to the beach from the parking lot. There are restrooms on site, but be sure to bring hand sanitizer because there isn’t soap at the sinks.

A day pass for parking is $10, but you can also buy a yearly pass for just over $100 (which is good at all California State Parks).

Check out the tides before you go because going at a low tide is one of the neatest experiences we have ever had exploring. There are rocks full of mussel shells, pools full of sea anemones, sand crabs, hermit crabs, fish and other sea life to explore. You can track the low tides on http://www.weather.com/ under tides for the Newport area.

Appeals to: Toddlers and up. It’s a bit of a trek down to the beach, so it can be cumbersome if you have young ones. We always take the stairs, and I am very careful to hold hands with my youngest because the stairs can get slippery with sand. The stairs are a little steep for a few steps, but well worth it in my opinion. My kids LOVE that beach. As an example: the last time we found an amazing tide pool, it was perfect for a young toddler because the waves weren’t reaching it, yet it was perfect for the kids to get in to explore the shells and other sea life very safely.

Location: Just off of Pacific Coast Highway, at the Laguna Beach and Newport Beach line. There are several parking lots, we turn in at Reef Point Drive. This is a link to the Google Map. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=crystal+cove+state+beach,+Ca&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=45.822921,70.576172&ie=UTF8&ll=33.574904,-117.838111&spn=0.02367,0.034461&z=15&om=1

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