Near downtown’s village, Main Beach has volleyball and basketball courts, a playground and restrooms. It’s Laguna’s best beach for swimming. Just north at Picnic Beach, it’s too rocky to surf; tide pooling is best. Pick up a tide table at the visitors bureau. (Tide pool etiquette: tread lightly on dry rocks only and don’t pick anything up that you find living in the water or on the rocks.)
Above Picnic Beach, the grassy, bluff-top Heisler Park offers vistas of craggy coves and deep-blue sea. Bring your camera – with its palm trees and bougainvillea-dotted bluffs, the scene is definitely one for posterity. Drop down below to Divers Cove, a deep, protected inlet popular with snorkelers and, of course, divers. A scenic walkway also connects Heisler Park to Main Beach.
North of downtown, Crescent Bay has big hollow waves good for bodysurfing, but parking is difficult; try the bluffs atop the beach; the views here are reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast. Off Cliff Dr north of Heisler Park before reaching Crescent Bay, Shaw’s Cove provides the best tide pooling around. Volunteers are often on duty to answer questions and give you tide pooling tips.