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Reef Point at Crystal Cove State Park

Reef Point at Crystal Cove State Park

Reef Point at Crystal Cove State Park is the start of the bluff area that stretches north above Moro Beach. You can stick to the bluff trails and boardwalks or you can take the stairs and ramps down to the ocean.

reef point crystal cove state park - stairs down to beach with sand and tidepools visible below

How to Get to Reef Point at Crystal Cove State Park: Take Pacific Coast Highway to south of the shops at Crystal Cove. The entrance to this Crystal Cove State Beach parking area is on the beach side. Turn at the light that says “Reef Point.” There are two parking lots once you go through this entrance. MAP TO REEF POINT AT CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

sea anemone inside the tidepool


You can ride bikes back and forth between the parking areas up here on the bluff.

Keep your eye out for whale watching boats and you might even see whales spouting from shore.

Walk south from here to Moro Beach. Walk north to the Historic District.

It’s just a beautiful wild place to explore with trails that take you down to the beach.

Come for the view from above on the bluff or come for a walk.

reef point crystal cove state park - rocks

Be Aware:

  • Many of the stairs and ramps are super steep for little kids with big drop-offs, so make sure you don’t let them run too far ahead of you.
  • Beach is not really accessible unless you are able to take stairs. The Pelican Cove/Treasure Cove entrance is better because there is a boardwalk and paved trail that can get you closer to the ocean.
  • Follow the Good Tidepooler Rules and obey the signs to preserve this Marine Protected Area.
  • Not good for swimming because of the rocks – choose Moro Beach or down by the Historic District instead.
  • $15 to park or use your California State Parks annual pass
  • Opens at 6am and closes at sunset
view of abalone point with tidepools in the foreground


  • Restrooms up by the parking lot – none down at the beach
  • Access to the bike path
  • Bring a towel and change of clothes for the car. Also a good idea to have snacks and water for your time on the beach.
  • Make sure you check the tides, before you go. Because of the bluffs, there’s not much beach at high tide.
  • Crystal Cove Conservancy and are the best sources for info about the park
  • Read How to Buy a California State Park Annual Pass – I think it’s really worth it. The more you go, the more it pays off!
two kids playing on the winter beach berm which looks like a shelf of sand

What Families Can Do When You Get to Reef Point at Crystal Cove State Park: 

  • See if you can spot whales from the bluff. Bring binoculars!
  • Start a bike ride on the Bluff Top Trail from here to Treasure Cove.
  • See wildflowers.
  • Watch a rain storm blow in.
  • Go tidepooling. Remember to read about them here before you go!
  • Catch the sun setting over Catalina Island.
  • Find a beach berm (sand wall – pictured above) to play on.
  • Take the stairpath down to the beach.
  • Explore the bluff trail. Do you see any lizards? Any quail (the California state bird)?
reef point crystal cove state park - seagulls
Looking at Reef Point from near Abalone Point at Moro Beach

There is so much more to Crystal Cove than this one post. If you want to visit more of Crystal Cove State Park, here is a load of information that took me years to research and experience:

Originally published May 2015.

Reef Point Crystal Cove State Park | Ocean Views with Native Flowers