Victoria Beach Tower and Tide Pools, Laguna Beach
Victoria Beach is one of several secluded public beaches in Laguna Beach, guarded on both ends by rocky points, cliffs, and intertidal zones. A perfect stretch of sand, great tide pools, and a mysterious cliffside tower make Victoria Beach a great explorers beach day escape from Los Angeles. Known locally as Pirate Tower, the Rapunzelesque structure is apparently nothing more than a condemned elaborate staircase to the house above.
But you can think of a better story than that.
Address: Look up map directions to this house address, 2717 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, and then park on the street somewhere close. The path down to the beach is right next to this house.
Swimming and snorkeling: Swimming/bodyboarding in the beach break, and snorkeling along the rocky coast on a calm day if you know what you’re doing.
Sandy beach, tide pools, and an old light house tower
A Few Tips
Water shoes/sandals, Keens, or flip flops are highly recommended. Walking along the rocky intertidal and on sharp mussels in bare feet isn’t fun. Bring a light day pack, lunch, water, etc. And go at low tide. Check the NOAA tide tables here. Also, remember this is a marine conservation zone. Don’t take anything, even empty shells. And watch out for intermittent large waves. I got surprised and soaked taking photos along the waters edge.
Access the beach via an easy paved path and staircase starting from the street near the address mentioned above. The path leads to the sand, near the rocky point at the north end of the beach. To the south (left) is Goff Island, to the right is Sugarloaf Point and the tower. If you want to start your day checking out the tower and exploring tide pools, then head to the right, following the path along the base of the cliff.
As you round the point, you’ll see a small beach and a circular cement enclosure. At high tide, this fills with with water and is a great swimming hole. Just past that, you’ll discover the tower. It’s an elegant old structure standing in stark contrast to the neighboring black-and-white eyesore of a staircase. I was disappointed to learn that there wasn’t a fantastical story behind it’s construction, so I kept that to myself. I didn’t exactly lie to the kids about it. I just let them tell me what they thought it was. You can’t go inside, but can peer through the metal door.
Continuing past the tower, the beach becomes narrow and rocky, but it’s flat and easy walking. At low tide, the intertidal shelf is exposed and there are many tide pools and channels in the composite rock. The outer edge of the rocks is covered by dense patches of mussels and pocked with clear pools. A few of the pools along this short stretch of beach were big enough for the kids to swim in. Algae, small fish, crabs, and anemones are abundant.
We stopped for a couple hours here to explore and eat lunch. No one else was around. As always, be wary of the gulls. My daughter is still upset about seeing her unopened bag of pita chips fly away.
After lunch, we walked south, past the tower, around the point, and down the beach toward Goff Island. I don’t think even at the highest tide it’s actually an island, but it is nearly surrounded by water. A sandy stretch and low cement wall connect it to the shore. The island is collared by a rocky intertidal flat which allows you walk around about 2/3 of its base. It’s interesting and different than the intertidal near the tower, so definitely worth checking out. There were seabirds everywhere on the island the day we visited.
You can get out onto the rocks in front of the island, and from there you’ll have an amazing view up and down the coast, and down into the crystal clear water. Perfect place to watch the sunset. There’s also a super nice official tide pool docent guy who will talk your ear off about sea stars and birds.
I am a SoCal native but just discovered Laguna Beach last year! Such a shame, I know! This post caught my eye because I am exploring it little by little ^_^ I’ll have to visit this summer! Thanks for sharing!
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