Laguna Beach, CA
Best for: Skim boarding, wildlife viewing, scuba diving, skin diving, body surfing, body boarding, surf fishing, rock fishing, tide pooling, sunbathing, general beach fun
Crescent Bay beach is one of the best all around beaches in Laguna Beach. Yes, at certain times of the year it can get crowded. But even then it's worth a visit. Not only is it a beautiful setting, it will satisfy a variety of interests. If you just want to sunbathe and even people watch (a lot of locals seem to hang out here), it's an excellent place to catch some rays. There are excellent tide pools to explore at both the north and south ends of the beach that are easy to get to. Divers and snorkelers will find plenty to Crescent Bay as well. And if that wasn't enough, the beach is sometimes a great spot to see wildlife. Seal Rock--although off limits to humans--is aptly named for its seal population. And don't be surprised if you see a dolphin pod hanging out just beyond the surf break on a good day.
Although body boarding, body surfing, and swimming is allowed, the tides here can be strong and dangerous. Don't go too far out in the water unless you're experienced. Otherwise, this beach is popular and generally safe for families with children. You will likely need to drive and park to access Crescent Bay, so be sure to have enough supplies on hand for a day at the beach. There aren't any shops within a convenient walking distance.
Parking: Limited free parking is available for Crescent Bay beach Cliff Drive or other side streets. There is also some coin metered parking on Cliff Street.
Access: There are two access points to the beach - one on Cliff Drive not far from the Coast Highway. This access is down a steep narrow road (with sidewalks). The other entrance is a little further north on Circle Way (after you've entered the neighborhood on Cliff Drive). This access is a little harder to find.
Facilities: Restrooms, rinse shower.