Crystal Cove State Park ~ a Few Short Miles from Irvine, CA

Robin Fenchel February 22, 2012

We have some idyllic places just a short bike ride from Irvine, CA. One of these places is a throw-back to an earlier time–Crystal Cove State Park in Corona del Mar, CA. We had a pleasant, sunny afternoon strolling on the beach, catching some rays and cogitating how fortunate we are to live in this little piece of paradise.

Back in the 1920’s Crystal Cove was transformed into “a paradise of the south seas” by a budding silent film industry, and small cottages were built and thatched with palms to reflect the exotic appearance of Tahiti or Hawaii. Silent movies were filmed on location here as it was easily accessible by rail and much more affordable than shooting in a far off location.

A tradition evolved that allowed employees and friends of the James Irvine family to return each summer, make improvements to the existing cottages, and build additional cottages throughout the 1920’s and ’30’s. In the late 1930’s the summer dwellers were asked by the Irvine family to choose either move their cottages or relinquish their ownership and lease the cottages from the Irvine Company. The lease agreements specified that no dimensional changes could be made to the cottages, thus preserving the cottages original integrity.

In the mid 1970’s one of the long time summer cottage residents together with another Crystal Cove resident and historian and a local preservationist worked on a successful proposal to place Crystal Cove on the National Register of Historic Places, thus preserving it for future generations to enjoy as it was originally conceived.The State of California purchased the land from the Irvine Company in 1979 to form a state park named after Crystal Cove. Today visitors to Crystal Cove State Park may rent Historic Cottage at Crystal Cove State Parkthese historic beach cottages on a “first come-first serve” basis.

In addition to enjoying the If you’re looking for a great place to have brunch, a midday snack, or a romantic sunset dinner, you may want to check out the Beachcomber cafe

The Beachcomber Cafe The Beachcomber Cafe

On the sand of Crystal Cove State Park in the Historic DistrictViews from The Beachcomber Cafe

a restaurant right on the sand in Crystal Cove State Park. Parking is free with a Beachcomber cafe validation and is located across the street on the Pacific Coast Highway and Los Trancos. A tram will take you from the Beach parking lot and let you off a few steps from the Beachcomber restaurant. There is a nominal $1.00 per person charge each way with children under 12 years riding free. Or if you are to traveling by foot, it’s a pleasant ten-minute walk from the parking lot to the beach. Views of the sandy beach from The Beachcomber Cafe in Crystal Cove State Park

“Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon…in the summertime…in the summertime…”

(Lyrics by The Kinks)

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