Laguna Beach, CA
Best for: Body surfing, snorkeling, body boarding, diving, tide pooling, fishing, observing. Surfing is not allowed.
Pearl Street Beach is famous for the "blow hole" and arch rock that make for ever interesting observation. The contrasted colors of the rocks, cliffs, and ocean make it a photogenic, and lend a rather otherworldly feel that some describe as a mini Galapagos. You're not allowed to surf here due to strong rip currents and rocky hazards (although you can surf at adjacent Agate Street Beach). However, body surfing, body boarding, diving, tide pooling, snorkeling, fishing, sunbathing, and generally having-an-awesome-time are all free game--with one more caveat: you may be tempted to cliff jump off Arch Rock, but be ye forewarned it is forbidden.
Parking:Limited free parking is available for Pearl Street Beach is available on Ocean Way, otherwise there is metered parking on the Coast Highway just a couple blocks walk to the beach.
Access: Pearl Street Beach is about a mile from Main Beach downtown. Access to the beach is down cement steps.