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Pelican Point and Treasure Cove at Crystal Cove State Park

Pelican Point and Treasure Cove at Crystal Cove State Park

The Pelican Point Entrance is where Newport Coast Drive dead ends into Crystal Cove State Park.

Parking is on the beach side of PCH.

My family enjoys this entrance because of the boardwalk that goes through the coastal sage scrub and the path that winds around to the viewpoint path over Little Treasure Cove.

pelican point and treasure cove area of crystal cove state park with rock formation and people walking on tidepools

How to Get to Pelican Point and Treasure Cove Parking Lot: Going north on Pacific Coast Highway, turn left at Newport Coast Drive. There are a number of smaller parking lots inside this entrance. Park in the first lot on your right to reach the Boardwalk. Or go all the way to your far right if you’d like to walk to the viewpoint. The other two lots to the left make a for a nice loop walk if you go out to the beach and back up to one of the other lots. 

rocks that look layered with waves splashing over them and a sailboat in the distance

How to Get from the Parking Lot to the Beach on Foot: To get to the viewpoint, walk as far north as you can on the paved path and keep bearing right until you get to the small viewpoint area on your left. Otherwise, pick a trail and get to the beach! You can take the same trail back up or try another one. You can re-orient once you get to the top of the bluff and the bike path that runs along the parking areas.

boardwalk winding through the bluff top near pelican point and treasure cove at crystal cove state park

Highlights:

This is probably my favorite access point to Crystal Cove State Park. I like walking through the archway that protects walkers from stray golf balls flying from Pelican Hill Golf Course. And the steps to the beach are pretty easy from the northern part of the park.

chain link archway over path that leads to the beach with shrubs off to the side

There are 4 parking lots accessible from this entrance and each have something a little different to offer by way of beach access, trails, views, benches. Try them all and pick your own favorite.

Little Treasure Cove Viewpoint (visible in the 2nd photo of this post) gives you a peek around the corner towards Little Corona, Corona Del Mar Beach, and Newport Harbor.

Lots of rocks and tidepools to explore.

We come here often because we don’t really have to prep at all. We just grab our backpack, stow some water and snacks, and wear our clothes to the beach to watch the sunset and explore.

And if you love the look of this place, you’ll love the rest of Crystal Cove State Park.

a girl in a pink dress and a boy in shorts with a white tee shirt lean on a wooden railing on a dirt trail overlooking the ocean

Be Aware:

  • Some of these trails have quite steep drop-offs once you get close to the bluffs, so make sure you stay close to little ones who like to dart away. Stick to the northern-most paved path for the safest route.
  • Follow the “Good Tidepooler Rules.”
  • $15 to park or use your California State Parks annual pass
  • Opens at 6am and closes at sunset
  • Stay on the boardwalk and watch for rattlesnakes during hot weather. I’ve heard reports of rattlesnakes off the boardwalk, so just keep your eyes out while you hike the bluff and don’t let the kids run ahead.
  • Not a good spot for swimming because of the rocks. Choose Moro Beach or near the Historic District where lifeguards are stationed in the summer.
  • It’s quite a long walk with some fairly steep hills and steps to get to/from the beach.

View south on a stormy day:

patches of yellow flowers in the foreground with a great expanse of beach and ocean going far in the distance

Same view on a sunny day:

same view but the color is bright blue on a sunny day

Checklist:

Low tide looking north towards Pelican Point:

wide flat sand on the right with the ocean meeting the sand tame waves

A little closer:

sandy bluffs on the right with lots of shrubs with rocks in the foreground spread before a walk on the beach

What to Do When You Get to Pelican Point and Treasure Cove

Watch boats enter and leave Newport Harbor. Bring binoculars!

Start a bike ride from here south to Reef Point.

Walk the boardwalk and hike up and down other points on the bluff.

Hike out to the Little Treasure Cove viewpoint and then go explore the tidepools below. Make sure you follow the tidepool rules!

Play in the sand and see what you can find on the rocks at this stretch of beach.

Park at the furthest south lot and walk to the Historic District.

Bike trail and restrooms at the top of the bluff:

bike trail near restroom building and picnic tables under a blue sky by pelican point and treasure cove in crystal cove state park

Explore Other Entrances to Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park tide pool sign about not collecting animals or turning over rocks
brilliant blue green anemone in a tidepool

Originally published May 2015.

Crystal Cove Historic District featured image of buildings at the beach
Family Guide to Crystal Cove Historic District via Los Trancos
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Moro Beach at Crystal Cove State Parks view of sunset
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