I'm not gonna lie, when I first got to Crystal Cove State Park, I was a bitter, bitter woman. I thought, why go through all this hassle (parking in a lot across the street, taking a shuttle and then walking down a hill) to get to a beach? Obviously, I'm a spoiled Californian, but still, it did beg the question. But once I got down to the beach, laid my eyes on the ocean and felt the sand surround my feet, I exhaled.
Head to the tide pools, over to your left.
You can even stay at one of the beach cottages.
The Beachcomber Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spend $15 or more with them and they'll validate your parking.
We went for lemonade and Pellegrino at the bar.