13 Breathtaking Public Beaches in Laguna Beach, CA

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Treasure Island Park in Laguna Beach, California

Stunning cliffs, colorful flowers, and sand as golden as the sun… the public beaches in Laguna Beach, CA are a dream come true! Nestled into the coastline and tucked beneath the pristine parks, stunning panoramic viewpoints lead to secluded coves and hidden tide pools.

I was so excited to take my boyfriend on a recent Laguna Beach getaway. A former California native, I’d spent plenty of time exploring Laguna with my family. I thought I knew all there was to know about this literal beachfront paradise.

But guess what? While there, I discovered even more about Laguna Beach! Between the secret beaches locals don’t want you to know about, and, of course, California’s utter lack of parking, navigating this charming town isn’t always the easiest.

Since the public beaches in Laguna can be notoriously hard to find, I’ve put together all the directions and parking details you need. Now, all you have to do is show up!

Just don’t forget to pack sunscreen. If you’re anything like my boyfriend, one day in the sun will have you hiding under umbrellas and wrapped in blankets the rest of your trip. Lather up and let’s get going!

This Laguna Beach guide will tell you…
  • Which beach will suit your preferences
  • How to find each beach and where to park
  • Where to rent beach gear and equipment
  • How to prepare for the ultimate beach day in Laguna

PS: Check out the rest of my Laguna Beach resources before your next trip:


Stunning view of Laguna Beach

Table of Contents

Best Public Beaches in Laguna Beach, CA

 Sandy shorelines and crystal-clear waters, a day at any of Laguna’s beaches is next to perfect. Here are the best public beaches in Laguna for anything from sunbathing to kayaking to plopping yourself down on the pristine white sand and refusing to move until the sun goes down.

1. Goff Cove

Goff Cove secluded beach in Laguna Beach California

Goff Cove is my personal favorite beach in Laguna. If you’re lucky (and brave enough to climb over a few rocks), you could have this place all to yourself. Goff Cove is a small, secluded beach with clear, blue waters and a lovely view of a rocky arch. When the tide is low enough, it’s an ideal spot for photos. Surrounded by steep cliffs and rock formations, it has a peaceful and intimate atmosphere.

Psst: If you love the rugged beauty of Goff Cove, you’re bound to fall in love with the Algarve, and all of these incredible beaches in Cascais, Portugal.

How to get to Goff Cove

  • Public stairs north of Montage off Shreve Drive
  • Turn right once you reach the bottom
  • Stairs leading to Goff Cove are past a viewpoint
  • Turn left and climb over a few rocks to reach the Cove

Where to park at Goff Cove

  • PCH free and metered parking
  • Lot 7, Lot 8, Lot 9
  • Montage Valet ($40 or restaurant validation, note you can only use valet if you’re dining on-site)

2. Treasure Island Beach

Entrance to the Montage in Laguna Beach, CA

The name may sound a little silly, but trust me when I tell you that Treasure Island Beach is full of serious beauty! The Montage resort- the most expensive and luxurious spot in Laguna- is nestled on the cliffs above this pristine paradise and they have a lot to do with keeping it clean and sparkling! This is the kind of soft, white sand and clear blue water resort dreams are made of. I definitely recommend walking around the property, and the park above the beach, and checking out the tide pools.

How to get to Treasure Island Beach

  • Public stairs north of Montage off Shreve Drive
  • Turn left once you reach the bottom
  • Head down the Montage property stairs

Where to park at Treasure Island Beach

  • PCH free and metered parking
  • Lot 7, Lot 8, Lot 9
  • Montage Valet ($40 or restaurant validation, note you can only use valet if you’re dining on-site)


california beach in rearview of rental car

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3. Thousand Steps Beach

Sea caves at Thousand Steps Beach

Thousand Steps Beach doesn’t quite live up to its name- in a good way! Though the walk up is strenuous, especially on a hot summer day, the stairs leading down to one of Laguna’s most famous beaches are only 266, not quite a thousand! Thousand Steps Beach is famous for its two man-made natural pools that fill up with saltwater during high tide. You can follow the directions in this TikTok to reach the beach, but make sure to wear protective footwear and proceed with caution.

How to get to Thousand Steps Beach

  • Off the PCH, take the stairs near the 9th Avenue traffic light down to the beach. They’ll be on your right if you’re facing South.

Where to park at Treasure Island Beach

  • PCH free and metered parking
  • Park as close to 9th Avenue as possible

4. Victoria Beach

Victoria Beach pirate tower built into cliffside

This is my favorite spot to take out-of-town visitors because it’s both incredibly scenic and unique! Victoria Beach’s claim to fame is a pirate tower built into the cliff that was constructed in the 1920s and has an interesting history as a rumored hideout during Prohibition. Although it’s a relatively small beach, it offers stunning views of the clear blue waters and soft sand.

At low tide, you can explore the rocky tide pools and caves at the south end of the beach. Just be careful because beach access can be challenging, as the entrance is located at the bottom of a hill and then down a steep flight of stairs. If you’re going for the pirate tower, make sure you check the tides schedule because you won’t be able to access it at high tide. (Note that this is also a popular spot for wedding and engagement photography.)

PS: This beach is also next to one of my favorite boutique hotels in Laguna Beach. Check out the post to learn more about where to stay!

How to get to Victoria Beach

  • Off the PCH, head down Blue Lagoon Street. Note that this is a steep, residential street.
  • There’s a small gate and stairway with beach access at the bottom of the hill.

Where to park at Victoria Beach

  • PCH free and metered parking

5. Pearl Street Beach

Pearl Street Beach is a total hidden gem. This quiet beach in Laguna is tucked away in a residential area, accessible via a staircase at the end of Pearl Street. It’s a popular spot for surfing and boogie boarding, but also a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. The beach’s claim to fame is Arch Rock, a natural arch nicknamed the “keyhole” surrounded by tide pools. At low tide, you can walk through the arch to a rock shelf that leads you to Woods Cove Beach.

How to get to Pearl Street Beach

  • Stairs leading to the beach can be found at the west end of Pearl Street

Where to park for Pearl Street Beach

  • PCH free and metered parking
  • You may be able to find free parking down nearby sidestreets

6. Rockpile Beach

Rockpile Beach overlook in Heisler Park

This is another one of my favorite beaches in Laguna! Rockpile Beach is relatively small, but offers (in my opinion) the most stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and rock formations, dotted with palm trees and flowers. Located in Heisler Park, the long stairway leading down to the beach is my favorite place to snap photos. Bring sneakers or water sandals so you can explore the tide pools and boulders. Rockpile Beach is also a popular spot for surfers, known for its consistent waves and challenging breaks. Just be careful if you get in the water here, because the surf can be a little powerful for kids or inexperienced swimmers.

How to get to Rockpile Beach

  • The stairs leading down to the beach can be found in Heisler Park, off Cliff Drive

Where to park at Rockpile Beach

  • Metered parking on Cliff Drive
  • Closest parking lots
    • 10-minute walk: 720-734 High Dr, Laguna Beach, CA
    • 10-minute walk: 281-399 Boat Canyon Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

7. Crescent Bay Beach

Crescent Bay Beach is a hidden gem in Laguna with a picturesque crescent shape and crystal-clear waters. The beach is located at the end of a residential area, offering a more secluded and peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy swimming, bodyboarding, and snorkeling in the calm waters, while taking in the stunning views of the rocky cliffs and lush greenery. Crescent Bay Beach also has tide pools that are home to an array of marine life, making it a perfect spot for families with children to explore and learn.

Local Tip: Don’t miss the stunning photo opp at Crescent Bay Point Park!

How to get to Crescent Bay Beach

  • There are 2 access points off Cliff Drive: down Barranca Street or Circle Way

Where to park at Crescent Bay Beach

  • Metered parking on Cliff Drive

8. Aliso Beach

With its own parking lot and a beachside restaurant, Aliso Beach is the most convenient option for beachgoers. Just make sure to arrive early if you want to snag a parking spot! The beach makes things easy with showers and restrooms on-site. Right next door, Aliso Beach Park has a grassy area for kids, plus volleyball and basketball courts for active beachgoers. (Not I.) Aliso Beach is also a popular spot for skimboarding and hosts an annual competition for both local and international enthusiasts.

Local Tip: After a day of soaking up the sun along the sandy shorelines, head to Lost Pier Cafe, one of the best Laguna Beach restaurants with a view, and roast some marshmallows at one of the cozy firepits. (They rent for $75/hour.)

How to get to Aliso Beach

  • Parking Lot: 31049 Monterey St.

Where to park at Aliso Beach

  • Aliso Beach has its own parking lot at only $1/hour


  • Private Helicopter Tour: You’ll never forget this view of over 30 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world.

  • Surf Lessons: Don’t miss out on the chance to learn to surf in one of the world’s best surfing destinations!

  • Temecula Wine Tasting: A stunning wine country awaits about an hour from Laguna. This tour includes transport and lunch.
view of laguna from helicopter

Private Laguna Beach Helicopter Tour

🕚 Duration: 30 minutes


surfing in laguna

Surf Lessons in Laguna Beach, California

🕚 Duration: 1.5 hours


temecula wine tasting

Temecula: All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch

🕚 Duration: 6 hours


9. Picnic Beach

Swimming is one of the best things to do in Laguna Beach, CA

Picnic Beach is a highly accessible beach in Laguna, offering a sloped ramp instead of steep staircase access, which makes it a great option for people with limited mobility. It’s conveniently located near Heisler Park’s BBQing station and offers stunning views of the Laguna coastline. Once you reach the beach, you can set up on the soft sand or the flat rocky areas. The nearby bathrooms at Heisler Park are a huge convenience. Additionally, if you’re lucky, you may find metered parking on Cliff Drive.

How to get to Picnic Beach

  • Enter from Heisler Park, off Cliff Drive

Where to park at Picnic Beach

  • Metered parking on Cliff Drive
  • Closest parking lots
    • 8-minute walk: 720-734 High Dr, Laguna Beach, CA
    • 8-minute walk: 281-399 Boat Canyon Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

10. Thalia Street Beach

Thalia Street Beach has a wide sandy shoreline, excellent surfing conditions, and a lively atmosphere.
You’ll notice this renowned surf break is the go-to spot for surfing and stand-up paddleboard lessons thanks to its gentle and consistent surf break. This beach is widely popular with locals, but you should know that swimming isn’t allowed here. Make sure you respect the surf flag which divides surfers to the south and bodyboarders to the north.

How to get to Thalia Street Beach

  • Head to the public staircase at the end of Thalia Street

Where to park at Thalia Street Beach

  • Free and metered parking on PCH, Thalia Street, or Glenneyre Street

11. Wood’s Cove

Did you know there’s a secret blowhole in Laguna Beach? The hidden gem of Wood’s Cove is home to not just the only blowhole in Orange County, but to tidepools that are so large you can swim in them! This beach is for the adventurous at heart. Part of the rocky outcropping called Cactus Point, brave souls have been known to jump through the blowhole and well, I guess they survived. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be able to keep trying it, right? Anyways, Wood’s Cove can be tricky to visit and will require keeping a close eye on the tide. At times, the beach may be completely covered under water. It’s worth the effort though. This secluded location and the vibrant blue waters make it feel like you’re on a tropical island.

How to get to Wood’s Cove

  • You can find the entrance to Wood’s Cove at the intersection of Diamond St and Ocean Way, west of PCH.

Where to park at Wood’s Cove

  • PCH free and metered parking

12. Diver’s Cove

one of the best public beaches in laguna

Diver’s Cove, nestled between Fisherman’s Cove and Shaw’s Cove, is a marine-protected area and a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Its calm and clear waters, vibrant marine ecosystem, and rocky reefs make it a haven for underwater exploration. Divers can admire colorful fish, kelp forests, and even encounter marine creatures like sea turtles and dolphins.

How to get to Diver’s Cove

  • Beach access is on Cliff Drive, right next to Picnic Beach

Where to park at Diver’s Cove

  • Metered parking along Cliff Drive
  • Closest lots:
    • 8-minute walk: 720-734 High Dr, Laguna Beach, CA
    • 8-minute walk: 281-399 Boat Canyon Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

13. Main Beach

Main Beach is a public beach in Laguna

Main Beach is located in the heart of Laguna Beach. This long sandy beach offers breathtaking views of the coastline, with an iconic lifeguard tower that serves as a symbol of the town. With its prime location in the heart of downtown, Main Beach provides easy access to a variety of amenities, including volleyball courts, basketball courts, and a children’s play area. Main Beach is a great spot with easy access and plenty of restaurants nearby for lunch.

How to get to Main Beach

  • Main Beach is located alongside the PCH

Where to park at Main Beach

  • Use lots 11-14

Beach Tips for Laguna Beach, CA

A little preparation and a few practical tips can go a long way toward a successful beach outing in Laguna. With factors like parking availability, beach access points, and gear rental to consider, it may seem complicated. But not to worry, these quick tips will make everything easy!

  • Pack lunch: If you plan to be at the beach all day, plan wisely. Certain beaches are located off residential streets and lack easy restaurant access. They can be difficult to reach without much nearby parking so I don’t recommend trying to leave and return.
  • Check the tide: Most of Laguna’s best natural wonders are only visible at low tide. Plan in advance if you want to explore tide pools and hidden coves.
  • Get there early for parking or plan to take the trolley: To avoid parking challenges, arrive early at the beach or consider utilizing the convenient trolley system to avoid any hassle.
  • Equipment rentals: On vacation? Make your life easy by renting equipment like chairs, umbrellas, or boogie boards from local shops. Coolers, kayaks, surfboards, and wet boards too!
  • Book lessons: Have a few days? Book surf, kayak, or paddleboarding lessons to improve your technique under expert guidance.
  • Stop at a viewpoint: Laguna’s most breathtaking coastal views can be easy to miss. I’ve listed the best scenic viewpoints that deserve a quick stop before or after your beach day.

How to check Laguna Beach tides:
You can use a tide forecasting website to see the tide schedules up to 30 days in advance. Low tide is when beaches are safest and easiest to explore.

Where to Park in Laguna Beach, CA

Like the rest of Southern California, finding a parking spot in Laguna Beach can be a challenge.

Some areas of the Pacific Coast Highway south of Heisler Park offer free street parking, while public parking lots and garages are available for a fee. Careful attention to posted signs is crucial to avoid getting ticketed.

I’ve provided the best parking spots for each beach below. Additional information is available on the Laguna Beach city website.

Heisler Park Parking

Heisler Park is the most incredible spot in Laguna Beach! Come snap photos of the rugged coastline and admire artists at work. It’s definitely worth a quick stop before or after your beach day.

Parking for Heisler Park is available along Cliff Drive and surrounding streets. If you snag one of these spots, please go buy a lottery ticket.

Additionally, there’s a paid parking lot located at the corner of Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive.

Laguna Beach Trolley

I guarantee you’ve never seen a cuter public transit vehicle than Laguna Beach’s free trolley. It buzzes up and down Pacific Coast Highway every half-hour, and it’s an absolute delight!

There are two main routes that run all year long:

  • Canyon Route: Starts at the free parking lot in Lot 16 and stops at the main beaches. Summer weekends only!
  • Coastal Route: Services North Laguna, Heisler Park, Downtown Laguna, and South Laguna.

During the summer months, there are even more routes that can take you from other parking lots right into the heart of this charming town. No more driving around in circles looking for a spot!

Local Tip: Use Laguna Local, a complimentary ride-share service provided by the City. It offers on-demand transportation between residential areas and key activity centers throughout Laguna. This is especially convenient for accessing hiking trails that intersect with residential areas.

Artistic statue in seaside Heisler Park

Best Beach Viewpoints in Laguna Beach, CA

With dramatic cliffs and sweeping vistas, you really have to see Laguna from its best angle. These panoramic views are filled with large rock outcroppings, majestic sea caves, and other unique features that make these gorgeous beaches so special. A stop by any of these viewpoints will be the highlight of your day.

Rockpile Beach overlook in Laguna Beach

READ NEXT: The 10 Best Boutique Hotels in Laguna Beach

Heisler Park

Heisler Park is my personal definition of happiness. Swing by and check out any of these spots. Rockpile Beach Overlook is my favorite!

  1. Lookout Point: Positioned near the southern edge of Heisler Park, Lookout Point offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, with Catalina Island visible on clear days.
  2. Sunset Point: This viewpoint is an excellent spot to catch the vibrant colors of a Laguna Beach sunset, casting a golden glow over the ocean and coastline.
  3. Rockpile Beach Overlook: Located near the southern end of Heisler Park, this viewpoint provides a panoramic vista of the sparkling ocean and the picturesque Rockpile Beach below.
Epic view from Crescent Bay Beach Point Park in Laguna
Crescent Bay Point Park
Top of the World Lookout in Alta Laguna
Top of the World Lookout

Crescent Bay Point Park

This overlook is a picturesque spot nestled in Crescent Bay Point Park where you can see a, well, a bay, and well, yes, it is in the shape of a nice, round crescent. In this case, simple is good!

Did I fall in love with this view simply because it reminded me of the incredible beaches I saw on an epic solo trip to the Portugal’s Algarve coast? Maybe! But regardless, the view here is one you’ll never forget.

Top of the World Lookout

Perched atop a hill in Alta Laguna Park, this is an incredible vantage point where you can see the ocean stretch for miles below you. If you have the time, this spot is also reachable from a popular hiking trail.

Arch rock formation at Pearl Street Beach
Arch Rock
Victoria Beach pirate tower built into cliffside
Victoria Beach pirate tower (Source)

Pearl Street Beach’s Arch Rock

Pearl Street Beach in Laguna Beach is home to a gorgeous natural wonder known as Arch Rock. This rock formation is a stunning natural arch carved by erosion. Typically, only visible during low tide, you’ll want to time your visit just right.

Victoria Beach’s Pirate Tower

Yes, there is a pirate tower in Laguna Beach, and yes, it’s as cool as it sounds. Built as a private staircase to the beach in the 1920s, today, it’s more of an awesome backdrop for your next Instagram shot.

Activities & Lessons in Laguna Beach, CA

Laguna Beach, CA is home to some of the most beautiful public beaches in the world. There are so many fun and unique things to do in Laguna Beach. You can enjoy a variety of activities like swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. 

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the sand or an exciting adventure out at sea, Laguna Beach’s stunning coastline has something for everyone!

Basketball & Volleyball Courts

Main Beach Park in Laguna Beach is a great destination for active beachgoers. With two full-sized volleyball courts and a basketball court, it’s a popular spot to get your game on with friends and family. You’ll find more volleyball courts at Aliso Beach.

Underwater creatures snorkeling in Laguna

Scuba & Snorkeling

Ready to explore Laguna’s magical underwater world? Head to Shaw’s Cove or Diver’s Cove. Protected from swells, this is the ideal spot to discover colorful marine creatures beneath crystal-clear waters.

Head to Beach Cities Scuba, the largest dive operation on the West Coast, for scuba lessons and get ready to plumb the depths of Laguna’s incredible deep sea world.

Wondering where to get snorkeling gear in Laguna Beach? You can also grab snorkeling gear at Beach Cities Scuba or Main Beach Toys.

What about the best Laguna beaches for snorkeling? Glad you asked! Diver’s Cove, Shaw’s Cove, Thousand Steps Beach, and Treasure Island Beach are ideal for diving and snorkeling.


Skimboarding, surfing, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities you can enjoy in Laguna Beach. Keep reading for gear rentals or check out any of the lessons and tours below:


Laguna Beach is famous for its incredible tide pools! You can find everything from starfish and sea urchins to crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. These rock pools packed with marine life will take your breath away.

The best spot for exploring the tidepools is Treasure Island or Thousand Steps Beach.

Beach Shops & Gear Rentals in Laguna Beach, CA

If you’re wondering where to rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and more in Laguna Beach, I know just the spots! You can grab everything from surfboards to coolers at the local shops below:

Beach Bros. Sharing

Convenient beach rental delivery service

Y’all there is a SoCal beach rental delivery service where you get your own personal concierge! Had we not gotten free gear from our hotel, I would’ve been all over this. Honestly, I will jump on any service that offers me my own concierge. (Yes, I’m aware it’s just a fancy name for a courier, but I don’t care, I love feeling rich. Let me live!)

Book a gear or package rental from Beach Bros. Sharing and these guys will meet you right on the beach. No lugging heavy, sandy gear around for you! You’ve got a concierge.

Just tip well. These guys are locals and their service is pretty incredible. With six different packages to choose from, prices range from $45 for two people to $220 for a family of four. The package contains comfortable Tommy Bahamas chairs, a canopy tent, boogie boards, and even a surfboard!

Main Beach Toys & Games

Kid-friendly beach toy shop with no-frills rentals

Main Beach Toys & Games is a beloved local shop where you can pick up shovels, frisbees, floaties, and more! Along with their huge selection of kid-friendly beach toys, they also offer chair, umbrella, and boogie board rentals.

You can expect affordable rentals around $10. But the best part? This store is conveniently located adjacent to the grassy area of Main Beach, mere steps from the soft, golden sand!

Laguna Beach Bums

Short or long-term watersports and beach equipment rentals

Coolers, wetsuits, skim, and surfboards of all kinds are available at Laguna Beach Bums. You can also rent adorable high-quality chairs and umbrellas from Business & Pleasure, an outdoor furniture and gear brand I am low-key obsessed with, and you will be too when you see this stuff.

Want to hold on to your chair and umbrella an extra day or two? No problem. They’re all yours for $20 per day, per item.

Laguna Beach Bums also has e-bikes and scooters for rent. A great option if you’re spending a few days here, but don’t want to rent a car. (Because, you know, parking…)


Are dogs allowed on Laguna Beaches?

When leashed, dogs are allowed most of the year except for peak season. From mid-June to early September, dogs are prohibited from 9-6. 

Laguna’s dog-friendly beaches are Shaw’s Cove and Main Beach. Note that dogs are prohibited at Thousand Steps Beach.

Is Laguna Beach kid-friendly?

The most kid-friendly beaches in Laguna Beach are Main Beach and Aliso Beach. They’re safe, easily accessible, and convenient! Both have public restrooms, food options, and nearby parking.

Aliso Beach has public showers and its own parking lot. Be warned, it fills up quickly!

Steps from Main Beach Park, you’ll find Main Beach Toys, the perfect place to pick up goggles, buckets, shovels, and more!

What is the easiest beach to get to in Laguna Beach?

Main Beach and Aliso Beach are both easy to get to. Main Beach doesn’t require any stairs and Aliso Beach has parking for just $1 an hour.

What is the best beach in Laguna Beach?

Many people consider Treasure Island Beach to be the best beach in Laguna thanks to its cleanliness and tidepools. However, it’s quite subjective and depends on what you’re looking for.

What beaches in Laguna Beach have clear water?

All the beaches in Laguna Beach have clear water. That’s what makes this place so special.

What is the secret beach in Laguna?

Thousand Steps Beach is a secret beach in Laguna where you’ll find two man-made rock pools accessible at low tide.

Is it warm enough to swim in Laguna Beach?

It’s usually only warm enough to swim in the summer months. The Pacific Ocean is very cold so surfers and divers will want to be sure to wear a high-quality wetsuit.

How many beaches are there in Laguna Beach?

There are at least 30 beaches and coves tucked inside Laguna Beach, each of them as beautiful as the next.


pirate tower and shores of laguna beach beaches
stairs leading to Heisler Park beach in laguna beach


Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

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