What’s better than getting a good workout going to a beautiful beach? A sea cave! A sizable one at that! Finding it isn’t the easiest, and parking is even tougher, but it’s definitely worth it!
Ok, I’ll be honest, it’s not really 1000 steps. One of my kids counted 230. But it sure feels like it. Probably because it is really steep and seems to go on forever. Also, when it’s crowded, it feels a bit narrow on the stairs and it adds to the feeling of ‘how much more?’ But, it IS worth it. Definitely a gorgeous view once you get down. Even then, some people run up and down the stairs for exercise. I saw a few while we were there, and I admire their determination.
The best time to go is during low tide. Be sure to check the tide chart before going. I used the one here. Even then, we were manuevering between wet rocks and I slipped a couple of times on the algae and got wet. (We went during the winter when the tide was at a low 0.3m). During the summer and high tide, it is impossible to get into the cave and dangerous; I’ve been told the cave is closed for safety during those times.I suppose that’s the best time to just enjoy the stairs for the workout component, and definitely the beach.
Thousand Steps Beach is located along PCH (Highway 1) and across from 9th Ave in Laguna Beach. Parking along the PCH is difficult to find and beware, watch for traffic! We parked in the Mission Hospital parking lot. It was the weekend, and finding parking in the residential areas across the street from the beach was impossible. Please refer to the map here.
After we made it down the stairs, we were greeted with a gorgeous view. The water is always beautiful at Laguna Beach and I could’ve enjoyed the beach alone. But of course we had to explore the cave. We made a left and could see the cave from a distance.
As we got closer, the cave entrance was definitely easier to spot. Beware of the rocks beneath your feet…they seem to protrude from nowhere. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention because I was focussing on the cave.:)
Once we entered the cave, we carefully walked along some wet sand, then maneuvered around and climbed rocks to get to the other side. It was amazing! There were different colors of rocks..pastel green, turquoise, pink..and pale green/turquoise water in between the rocks. To me, the opening to the other end of the cave looked like a profile of a man with a distinct nose, but that changed depending on where you were in the cave.
Once we made it to the other side of the cave, we enjoyed the ocean view from within. Supposedly there is a private beach if one continued climbing to the left, but we didn’t. I wasn’t sure if the kids would slip and I didn’t want to chance it. There’s also some uncertainty as to what might be private property. And there was enough beauty already as it was! 🙂
In the photo below, we saw other people climbing on the rocks to the left.
We spent a good amount of time there enjoying the view and exploring the cave. It was amazing! Then we turned around to head back. The view from that side was pretty spectacular too.
The photo below shows the outside of the cave entrance and to the right was a little enclave where the water would wash up. My kids played here for a bit longer and protested leaving. I don’t blame them. 🙂 It was beautiful…we sat around and enjoyed the ocean waves some more.
Eventually, it was getting darker and dinner time was fast approaching, so we had to head back. The climb back UP the stairs was tougher for sure. But I think we were tired from the day, so that makes sense. Kids got their energy out, we had a relaxing time, and we got to explore a cave! Couldn’t ask for more!
Thanks for reading!