It’s officially summer in Los Angeles, which means we’re hitting up all our favorite beaches and seeking out secret watering holes to cool down in. But this magical tide pool and hidden cave in South Laguna Beach might top our list of summer spots.
Head down the tunnel of plants with roughly 250 steps to Thousand Steps Beach (it adds up when you count the grueling thigh workout back up and you need to fetch something in the car). When you make it to the bottom you’ll be rewarded with pristine white sands, sandstone cliffs, waves crashing into tide pools and even a cave to explore. This hidden haven is actually pretty easy to get to, but the steep staircase in the heat can be pretty daunting, even when you’re shaded under the canopy of trees. Then, of course, reaching the tide pools requires a healthy amount of bravery and can be dangerous.
While it’s quite a well-known beach, the entrance is easy to miss and parking is often impossible which deters a lot of people, much to local’s delight. Of course, there are plenty of secrets to explore and discover when you actually get to the beach, like the cave to the south or the abundance of marine life like mussels, barnacles, limpets, snails, sea urchins and starfish in little rock pools.
The tide pools are on the north end of the beach (turn left when you reach the bottom of the stairs). If you keep walking you’ll get to rocks that you’ll need to climb over to get to the pools (which are said to be on private property, but really, it’s only the direct access to them that is) but only during low tide as high tide is extremely dangerous. You should also note that the rocks are sharp with plenty of crabs lurking in between them so you’ll want to wear trainers or shoes for this part and make sure you don’t trample any marine life. There are two main tide pools to choose from, a rectangular one and a circular one on the edge of a cliff where you can enjoy huge sprays of water when the waves crash into it.
Remember, the reason you’ll love this beach is because it’s clean and treated with care, so do your part to keep it that way. Also, be sure to check the tides online before going as that will impact how full the pool is and the access to it.
📍 31972 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA