Even though I have mentioned that Seattle is where I want to settle someday (read my blog here), I feel blessed to be living in SoCal. It is ultimately the best place to raise children, in my humble opinion. With so many theme parks, national parks, museums and activities to take your kids to, it’s totally impossible to run out of things to do and explore. There’s also an overabundance of beautiful beaches all throughout, and this is one of the main reasons why most people move here.
Now there are tons of hidden beaches in Southern California, but the one I want to share with you today is literally concealed. We had a hard time finding it the first time we went here, because the beach is obscured by houses and not visible from the road. Now the stairs on the way to the beach is not really 1,000 but it feels like it, especially when you’re climbing back up. There are only around 300 steps and I’d say this will give you a good cardio and leg workout even if you only pass by it once. Also, the fact that this is in Orange County, which is famous for some of the most amazing beaches in the US, make this more of a secret gem than a tourist spot.
This is one of those places where you had to exert effort to get there, both in planning and finishing the long walk up and down the steps. You will see a few people challenging themselves to go up and down several times. It’s a great workout spot, especially since you get to see the spectacular views of the ocean while running up and down. Once you get to the beach, you’ll realize that every step is actually worth it. My wife bought a lightweight blanket with her to lay down on the sand. It was sunny when we went but the cool breeze and the sound of the ocean waves made it the perfect spot to relax, to read a book. I don’t recommend bringing tons of items as this will just make it harder when climbing back up. I also do not recommend taking small kids as the steps are pretty steep and you’ll end up having to carry them as I see most families do.
Unlike the other popular beaches in California like Santa Monica Beach, Newport Beach and Venice Beach, just to mention a few, this is not crowded at all. It looks like most of the people who hang here are locals, maybe the ones who own the beautiful houses in the area, each of them having their own private steps to the beach, enough to make anyone jealous. And they’re not small beach houses, most of them are huge, lavish mansions - another reason to go here. Pretty sights are always a bonus, am I right?
Now the beach I’d say is dramatic because of the rock formations, and most importantly because of the cave at the Southern part. This is such a cool area to explore during low tide, but very dangerous when tides are high, so please be careful. Please note that there’s usually no lifeguard on duty.
So how do you get here?
If you’re driving down Pacific Coast Highway south bound, park at 9th street or along PCH.
The public entrance to the beach is located directly across the street from 9th Street and PCH.
Where to park?
Unfortunately, this beach doesn’t have a dedicated parking. You park on the street but you have to be cautious because there are tons of areas not allowed for public parking. If you’re going during the Summer time, that makes it even more difficult to find a spot. You can also park at the hospital if there are spaces available. Now we’ve been here a few times, and the perfect time for us at least, is to go really early in the morning around 7am or after lunch between 2-3 pm.
You can park in residential areas but please be careful not to park or block in someone’s driveway because streets are regularly patrolled and you will get a ticket. (Free)
You can park in the hospital’s parking lot if there’s any space. (Free)
You can use metered parking at a rate of $1.50 per hour in PCH.