Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove State Park is one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore. It features 3.2 miles of beach, 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness and an offshore underwater area. The park also features the federally listed Historic District, an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & 40’s and nestled around the mouth of Los Trancos Creek.

I recently bought a state park parking pass and Crystal Cove is one of the beaches you can use it for.  Parking is normally $15 per car but I paid close to $200 for an annual pass.  Based on my few visits so far, I think I will get my moneys worth.  Lady Egg has never been here so I thought it would be fun to take a weekend afternoon and explore this area.  It’s a massive area so it would be hard to see everything in just one day.  I picked the north end that is closest to Corona Del Mar and Pelican Golf Resort to explore.  It has a really interesting rock formation that I wanted to show Lady Egg.  High tide would be at 6:30pm so I knew that when we got there around 2:30pm we would need to explore fast before most of the rocks would be covered by the rising tide.  Next time, we will come when the tide is pulling out.  What I love about the beach is that the area still feels primitive and untouched by all the development around it.  I think parking at $15 a car keeps many people away.  On the north end there is this large cliff face that shows a really interesting strata layer and has this wonderful color banding like a multi layer cake.  It’s definitely a great place to take portraits or anything with that interesting backdrop.

A visitor
Cliff face up close
North cliff face

We spent the rest of the time at the beach exploring the shore and the rocks.  I managed to take some pics of the sunset using my Zeiss 12mm lens on my Sony A7II with a 10 stop ND filter.  The rest of the photographs were taken with my Zeiss 55mm lens.  This place is special to me and I look forward to exploring it further.







Working up an appetite, originally I was thinking of going to Side Door in Corona Del Mar but instead we got some Italian with a modern flare at North Italia in Irvine.  We shared a bottle of Manifesto Zinfandel and lots of little appetizers.  It was a great way to end a fine day.

Dinner details:

  • Arincini crispy mushroom risotto stuffed with scamorza cheese & served with red sauce)
  • Italian Farm Salad salami, provolone, pepperoncini, olive, campari tomato, red onion, cucumber, roasted pepper, italian dressing)
  • Chef’s Board prosciutto di parma, artisan cheese,marinated eggplant, roasted pepper, castelvetrano olive, marcona almond
  • Squid Ink Mafaldine white shrimp, calamari, acqua pazza, mint, fennel pollen, calabrian chili
Manifesto Zinfandel
Ceiling detail
Squid Ink Pasta
Italian Farm
Chef’s Board


P.S.  We tried to get dessert at Meet Fresh but the parking was a nightmare so we ended up at Milk Box Bar at the District in Tustin for a Match Milk tea and a Jasmine Milk tea with boba.  Really subtle flavors without it being overly sweet.  A really good place with quality ingredients.

Crystal Cove-60.jpg



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