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Moro Beach at Crystal Cove State Park

Moro Beach at Crystal Cove State Park

Moro Beach is very confusing with all its names: El Moro, Moro Cove, or El Moro Canyon.

The signage seems to indicate that they’ve decided on Moro Canyon Area – as a way to describe the beach, canyon, and hiking/biking trails.

Whatever you want to call it, you enter near El Morro Elementary School off Pacific Coast Highway just north of Laguna Beach. And, yes, I spelled the name of the school correctly. See how confusing it can get?

el moro beach sand area with waves breaking in front of Abalone Point

How to Get to Moro Beach at Crystal Cove State Park

Get to Moro Beach through the southernmost entrance to Crystal Cove State Park.  From Pacific Coast Highway – PCH – (between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach), turn inland at El Morro Elementary School.

Follow the narrow driveway up the hill and bear to your right at the fork. 

It will look like you are going into the campground. Pay or show your pass at the booth.

Go straight and turn downhill to the right (not into the campground). Turn right at the bottom of the hill and park in the lot.  MAP TO MORO BEACH at Crystal Cove State Park

sign showing map of crystal cove state park highlighting moro cove, reef point, the historic district, pelican point and treasure cove on the north end


  • Truly one of my favorite Orange County beaches – we go here ALL the time
  • Nice restrooms and showers
  • Super EASY parking and walk to beach under PCH
  • Beautiful for a day at the beach or sunset
  • Awesome spot for long beach walks between Abalone Point to the south and Reef Point to the north – or all the way along Crystal Cove State Park beach (depending on the tides)
  • CA State Park lifeguards during the summer
  • Snack bar located at the front of the restroom building for buying treats and they even sell sand toys and beach chairs (expensive, but if you need them . . .). Open during summer.
  • Berns Environmental Study Loop has 8 field stations behind the beach where you can walk on an ADA-accessible trail and get involved in citizen science projects.
el moro beach tunnel which takes you underneath coast highway to get to the beach

Be Aware: 

  • $15 to park or use your California State Parks annual pass
  • Opens at 6am and closes at sunset
  • The tunnel can sometimes be flooded at high tides or during storm events. I wouldn’t go playing in the water right here.
el moro canyon field station picnic area with wooden gazebo over concrete picnic table in a nature area at crystal cove state park


door to a unisex restroom building with an outdoor shower fixture

What Families Can Do Once You Get to Moro Beach at Crystal Cove State Park

Take a beach walk to Abalone Point on the south side of the beach.

Set up “camp” near a lifeguard and enjoy a beach day boogie boarding and swimming during the summer.

In winter, hang out on the beach and let the kids get their toes wet and play in the sand.

Start a long beach hike from the south end of Crystal Cove State Park all the way to the north. Watch the tides! It’s 3.2 miles of beach — so it would be a 6+ mile hike if you do the whole thing out and back.

If you want to spend the night here, reserve a campsite at Moro Campground.

Walk the trail to the stations on the Berns Environmental Loop.

Want to explore more of Crystal Cove State Beach?

moro beach crystal cove state park - pin of sunset

Greg S (SocalAdventures)

Tuesday 29th of July 2014

This is a really great park for mountain biking too. You can park for free at the top of the hill at Coastal Peak Park and ride down to the bottom. Biking back up is strenuous though.

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