You’ll hear the ocean waves crashing against the rocks before the winding Cliff Drive reveals the beauty of Laguna Beach’s hidden gem: Heisler Park. Suggesting this out-of-the-way spot for a day trip will earn you rock star points, whether you are looking for breathtaking views, romance, or just a relaxing day in the sun.
While other beach areas are more popular for volleyball and tanning, Heisler Park (375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651) beckons those with an artistic eye—often, literally, as it is not unusual to see painters, sketchers and photographers at various points along the paved pathways overlooking the ocean. Rumor has it, it’s a popular dive point, but the entry is rocky and not for the novice.
It’s a perfect day trip for the solo traveler, or you can grab the whole gang and pick your viewing spot. There are picnic and BBQ areas set up on the north side of the park near Monument Point (a veterans monument), and since SoCal weather is gorgeous most of the year, your outdoor fun doesn’t have to be limited to the summer months. Kids also love the tide pools and watching the creatures that live there—but this is preserve, so no collecting, please.
The roadways above the park have a lot of metered parking, but weekend days during the summer months can still be tricky for parking (weekdays after summer are a breeze). Some of the gates to the beach access stairways are closed during high tide, but the views from the higher elevations are still fabulous. The stairway down to the tide pools near the south side (Rock Pile) does require some stamina, but there are a number of landings where you can rest, or take photographs.
The next time you are down in the Laguna Beach area, give Heisler Park a look. It’s sure to become one of your new, favorite spots in Southern California!