BEST BEACH FOR: Divers, families with small children, and tide pool fans.
Explore your way through the beaches and coves that promise under water exploration for scuba and snorkeling.
Best Snorkeling & Scuba Diving Beaches:
The rock formations that line Laguna's coastline don't simply disappear where the ocean meets the sand. The town's underwater landscape is full of rock reefs and craggy outcroppings to explore with a snorkel or a SCUBA tank. The zoning for Marine Protected Areas throughout the city, which went into effect in 2012, has led to dramatic increases in the size and quantity of fish on display. It's also relatively common to see larger mammals -- seals and dolphins abound.
If there are no major waves to contend with, any beach with visible rocks jutting out of the water is sure to provide solid options for undersea exploration. Snorkeling standouts include Shaw's Cove, Diver's Cove, and the south end of Thousand Steps, but the options are virtually endless in Laguna Beach. For SCUBA, Shaw's is your best bet, though the famed Cleo Street Barge at Cleo Street is definitely worth an investigation.
Garibaldi, rock and kelp bass, halibut, octopi, rays, leopard sharks, eels, and lobster are easily visible. Just make sure that you snorkel or dive with a buddy and check in with the lifeguards before heading out. Big swells not only spoil visibility, they also create a dangerous situation for inexperienced snorkelers or divers entering the water.