Laguna Beach, CA
Best for: Surfing, observing, tidepooling, (swimming / body boarding prohibited)
Rockpile Beach is a small cove beach only 700 feet wide, found at the south end of Heisler Park. It is popular for exploring tide pools, and for local surfers who are familiar with the reefs and currents. Rockpile Beach is one of only three beaches in Laguna Beach that has officially designated surf waters. Swimming and body boarding are prohibited here due to the dangerous reef and rocks that dominate the cove. You also run the chance of stepping on sea urchins and other hazards if you attempt to swim. So really, just stick to exploring the tide pools and watching the local surfers do their thing.
The best time of year for tide pooling is in the winter, when the tides get especially low. Bird Rock, a bird sanctuary, is also located in the cove. It may be tempting to explore Bird Rock at low tide, but this is prohibited due to the protected bird sanctuary and other dangers involved.
Parking: Street parking is available on Cliff Drive all along Heisler Park. Parking is mixed in with residential neighborhoods. You may need to bring change for metered parking.
Access: There is an initial paved trail down to the beach, and then a stairway. This can be difficult to climb back up with a lot of gear. The beach is rocky, so be careful.
Facilities: No facilities on the beach.