Overview of Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park
California Mid
USA West


Site Review by
 Jesse Rorabaugh
Date: 08/02/2010


Site Condition
(1=worst, 5=best)

Name:  Jesse Rorabaugh Entry:    2.00
Email:   Click Here Bottom:    5.00
City:   Riverside Reef:    5.00
State:   CA Animal:    5.00
Country:   USA Plant:    5.00
Diving:   10 years Facilities:    4.00
 Dives:   60 Solitude   3.00
    Roads:    5.00


*Average:    4.40
The walk down to the beach carrying all my gear wore me out. Not as challenging as say Reverse Cove in central California because there are stairs. I however did not park near the stairs and wandered all over the place looking for them. The entry was challenging. Even on a day where surf was below average it was a fight to get out. This was partially my fault though. I got in at a part of the beach that was rock not sand. Climbing on invisible rocks is really quite difficult, and at one point I hit my knee pretty hard. Visibility was poor. It was a day with 10-15 foot of visibility at Shaw's Cove. I would say that it was only 10 feet here. Close to shore it was no more than 5. Despite all of this, it is my third or forth favorite free diving site in California. It does not quite beat Coral Street in Monterey, or Reverse Cove in Big Sur, but it at least beats anything in Laguna. When I dive in Laguna it feels fished out. I have tried spearfishing there several times and after probably 15-20 hours of diving have only pulled out one fish and only seen a few more that I would have shot at. Here however it felt like a whole different place. I saw many reasonably sized Sheepshead, Opaleye, Sand Bass, and Perch. They are pretty skittish but it makes a reasonable intermediate spearfishing site. Judging by the guy in the full cameo wetsuit and big teak speargun it may even be a good advanced spearfishing site. A few notes: Parking was $15. The previous reviewer wasn't kidding. Fish and Game really does watch this place closely. Expect to get your catch looked over. All of Laguna Beach is about to become a Marine Reserve. This site is outside the boundary of that reserve. I expect that next year it will be fished out as all the diving from Laguna moves to this site. However in five years I strongly suspect this will be an amazing site again. Once the Marine Reserve is established, fish leaving the reserve should sustain it. Watch out for boats. I saw at least a half dozen fishing and diving boats outside the kelp bed.    

Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:    5.00
Beginner:    2.00
Intermediate:    4.00
Advanced:    4.00
Night diving:    3.00

Seasonal Information

Season:    Summer
Year:    2010
Visibility:    2.00
Current:    4.00
Surf:    2.00

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