In moving yet further south on our trip down the Southern California coast, we made it down to Newport Coast. This also happened to be where we spent a week in the Newport Coast Marriott Villas. While the Villas were beautiful and the view from the villas was very pretty, it did not compare to the natural beauty of this beach.
When we lived here in Orange County, this area was not yet developed, but it sure is now. Lots of big named and wealthy folks around this area, but this park is still a State Park and as such has maintained its naturalness and beauty.
As you can see from this picture, this place was just alive with creatures and all sorts of stationary sea life like; sea urchins, mussels, sea grass and most of all, colors for us to enjoy.
Several mornings we would walk down there at just about sunrise to see all of the excitement of what is left in the tide pools (after that tide has receded) for several hours. We saw dolphins, pelicans, lobsters, seagulls, crabs, sea slugs, star fish and even an octopus on the beach while on our walks along the shoreline.
The Cove is actually a three-and-a-half mile long beach and 2,791 acres of wooded canyons, bluffs and trails. It is a haven for protected habitat as well as recreational users, including mountain bikers, joggers, hikers, and equestrians. The park is actually operated by the California Department of Parks & Recreation.
We saw several Park Rangers while we were there even in those early hours, (but even more of them) as we left the Cove after our walks. The interior is popular for hiking and horseback riding. Mountain bikers use the inland areas and divers use Crystal Cove underwater. The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers. Visitors can explore tide pools and sandy coves just as we did. There was a charge to drive a car into the park, but we just walked in for free. No drinking water available; you must pack it in like we did.
Tent sites are a strenuous three-mile hike from the parking lot, away from the beach. Sites are primitive, but there are pit toilets available. A telephone was in the parking lot (just in case you forgot your cell phone I guess)?
We also saw that they are in the process of renovating some old beach houses at the south end of the park so that people can rent them out someday. I am not sure how the houses all got there and it may have been one of those "Right of Emanate Domain" issues, but I am sure someone will enjoy them someday when they are all fixed up. They looked a little rustic for my particular sleeping tastes, but that's just me!
There were signs around that said it was a protected environment and not to take anything from the beach. And as hard as that was to try and do, we left everything there except for the photos and the wonderful memories.(And as always), you can get a closer peek, by just double clicking on the picture."There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart."
- Celia Thaxter, American Writer