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BEST BEACH FOR: Body whompers, tide pool lovers, and Laguna’s 20-somethings.
As far as epic views go, it’s just about impossible to beat Crescent Bay. The beach is bordered to the north and south by towering cliffs, pitted with caves. Between them sits a (you guessed it) crescent of golden sand – backed by stunning houses sitting atop the bluffs.
When the south swells hit, this much-photographed setting also plays host to Laguna’s favorite “body whomping” spot. That’s a phrase Laguna locals use to describe body surfing in massive waves that pitch directly onto the sand. Body surfers (typically wearing fins), get every bit as excited about a south swell hitting Crescent as surfers are about Brooks Street or Rockpile beaches. If you’re a beginner and the waves are high, do be careful, though – letting the ocean throw you onto shore without getting hurt takes a degree of expertise.
When the waves are mellow, Crescent Bay is perfect for snorkeling along the rock outcroppings on either side of the shoreline. There are also tide pools that are easy to access at low tide, via the rock shelf at the south end of the beach.
With plenty of space and two entry points, Crescent Bay never seems to get unbearably crowded. Bathrooms, disabled access, and a fair bit of nearby parking make it feel like an easy spot to hang for hours. For what it’s worth, popularity with skim boarders means that the crowd here skews a little younger. Families aren’t quite as common, because of the powerful surf.
Everyone “oohing and ahhhing” as a few brave skimmers and body surfers brave a big summer swell.
Body whompers, tide pool lovers, and Laguna’s 20-somethings.