You want to know the best toddler beaches with no waves in OC? And I’m going to provide you with my Top 3 plus two bonus beaches, but they come with a note of precaution. Still water beaches, meaning no waves or surf, have a general propensity for water quality issues and they can also be good stingray habitat – at least along the warm sandy edges. Check Heal the Bay Beach Report Card for water quality. Make sure a lifeguard is watching and ask for his/her advice about local conditions on the day you visit. Any body of water is a dangerous place for a toddler – you should be within arm’s length of any child under 4 years old when they are wading or swimming – and this especially applies at the beach!
As long as you move forward with those precautions in mind, then you should have a grand time!
Corona Del Mar — inside the harbor (Pirate’s Cove)
Scramble down the path that leads over the rocks and take the stairs to this mini beach (NOT stroller-friendly). Check the tides before you go! You’ll have to find parking on the street above the beach or pay for parking in the adjacent lot. Read my post about Corona Del Mar Beach.
It’s also a fun place to watch boats enter and leave Newport Harbor. The Wedge is just across the harbor and from the bluff you can see the surf pound the breakwater.
Baby Beach in Dana Point
You can park close and you don’t have to pay for parking, but this one can get incredibly busy on weekends and holidays. So arrive early! It’s a launch point for paddleboards and kayaks, as well. Swimmers are roped off from boat traffic by a buoy line. Read my post about Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor.
Weekday trips in the off-season are probably the least crowded. August and September can still be very warm in California. Also, be aware that it can be 90 degrees at your house inland and foggy at the beach. Make sure you come prepared! Some families prefer the grassy area behind the beach for relatively sand-free picnics.
Newport Dunes in Newport Beach
Parking inside Newport Dunes will cost you, but there is a wide bay for swimming and you can pay extra for access to a waterpark with float toys in the summer. Tim at Pirate Coast Paddle Company, is also located inside the Dunes for families looking to SUP . Read about our stay at Newport Dunes Beach Cottages in 2011.
Marina Park in Newport Beach
And here’s a 4th beach that became more toddler-friendly after Marina Park opened nearby. It’s adjacent to a wonderful lighthouse themed park and playground. Wading can happen on the harbor side where there are no waves.
A favorite for the Huntington Beach area is Mother’s Beach inside Huntington Harbour (thanks to reader, Meg, for pointing that one out)!
So that’s it! If you can think of any other beaches in OC with NO waves, please leave a comment!
And if you want to know what to pack for your beach trip – read my tips in What to Bring to the Beach and How One Parent Can Carry It All.
Originally posted in August 2013.