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Top 5: SoCal Beaches

by Michele Leivas

Sep 10, 2014

Thousand Steps Beach, California © Jenningssayre | Dreamstime

North America

Going to the beach is a must-do for SoCal residents and tourists. The most popular beaches — Laguna, Huntington, Newport, La Jolla — can get crowded quickly onhot summer days. Here’s a local’s guide to the Top 5 of SoCal’s lesser-known beaches:


Thousand Steps Beach

Located at 9th Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway in South Laguna Beach, this beach definitely requires you to pack light. Beachgoers access this strip of sand by descending a sometimes-narrow staircase from the PCH down to the shore. Tip: The walk up when you’re done soaking up the sun seems a lot longer than it did going down.


China Cove Beach

Located at the north end of Ocean Boulevard where Dahlia Avenue dead ends in Corona Del Mar, China Cove offers two small beaches and mellow waters without the SoCal beach crowd. There is no street parking, though, so you have to park up on Ocean and walk down. Tip: There are no public restrooms at this beach.


Shorecliff Beach

Shorecliff offers two private beaches for its community residents accessible by key only. The first beach, on the north end, is located off Poppy Avenue while the other beach is on the south side of Shorecliff and is truly a “secret” beach. Tip: Make friends with someone who has a key!


Fiesta Island

This island is located in Mission Bay Park in San Diego near SeaWorld. The island is not a secret, but it offers an alternative to those who want to enjoy sandy shores, sun and water without battling the crowds. It is a popular location for water sports and also has fire pits for bonfires on those cool summer nights. Tip: Stake your claim early in the morning for a coveted fire pit.


Crown Point

Also located in Mission Bay Park, Crown Point South has a large beach area as well as a grassy area with picnic tables, BBQ grills and fire pits. Permits can be issued for private events for up to 350 people and up to two inflatables and/or party jumpers. Tip: Call the Permit Center early for summertime events.



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