A glimpse at Crystal Cove in Summer

“Summertime at Crystal Cove is magical – and our programs team has been working all year to create new opportunities for folks to explore the park and to reimagine old favorites,” said Crystal Cove Conservancy President & CEO Kate Wheeler. “Our team has been testing new ideas like science hikes and rethinking and expanding classics like the Historic District Walking Tours and movies on the beach to create a menu of programs to help parkgoers deepen their connection with the park and become part of protecting it.”

From hands-on explorations of history and nature to art classes and conservation stewardship, there is something for everyone to explore during the summer at Crystal Cove.

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Sign up to spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines

The Great Plein Air Art Experience every Monday and Wednesday through October, except September 2 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration is required. Celebrate more than 100 years of plein air art at Crystal Cove State Park and spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines. During these four-hour classes, you’ll take part in living history while learning the step-by-step process of creating your very own plein air painting from beginning to end. Each class will have a break for lunch, but lunch is not provided. Classes are for ages 18 and up. Register here for July 10. Register here for July 15. Register here for July 17. For additional dates, visit https://crystalcove.org/art-class/.

Tuesdays in the Commons: Hands-on Educational Activities from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (July 9, 16, 23 and 30).

Stop by the Education Commons in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District each week on Tuesday for new hands-on educational activities that will help participants learn about ongoing conservation work at the park, the critical habitats at Crystal Cove, and how it all connects with landscape scale efforts to protect and preserve the natural world. Park at the Los Trancos lot near the trailer then walk through the tunnel to the Education Commons (PCH inland at stoplight Los Trancos). $15 day use fee.

Junior Ranger Programs, Tuesday and Thursday mornings continuing through July 30 from 10-11 a.m. Join a Park Ranger for a fun introduction to the animals and plants of Crystal Cove State Park in their weekly Junior Ranger programs. This children’s nature program is a favorite in State Parks and allows kids to earn a badge, stamps, a poster, or a patch. Each Tuesday they will focus on tidepools and on Thursdays they will learn about sharks. Meet at the Berns Amphitheater (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the Campground.) $15 day use fee. No program on July 4.

Shark Shack, Thursday, July 11 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy learning about sharks at Crystal Cove State Park when students from the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach staff their Shark Shack information and activity booth and help beachgoers build an appreciation for and eliminate fear about sharks and other marine life. Check out some cool shark stuff, play a game and learn some fun facts about these amazing creatures and about the technology the lab is using to study them. The Shark Shack will be popped up near the Beachcomber Cafe. Park in the Los Trancos lot (PCH inland at stoplight Los Trancos then walk across the street or take the shuttle.) $15 day use fee.

Sunset Bluff Walk, Thursday, July 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. Join a park naturalist for a three-mile guided Sunset Bluff Walk and enjoy the day’s end along the coastal terrace. Bring a camera and binoculars as you scan the ocean for dolphins, look for birds and watch the sunset. Your walk will take you along the paved path from one end of Pelican Point to the Treasure Cove overlook. Dress in layers and bring water and a red flashlight (if you have one.) Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #4, (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, left at kiosk to the last lot.) $15 day use fee.

Perimeter of the Park, Monday, July 15 from 6:45-11 a.m. Ready for a challenging hike to tour the Crystal Cove State Park backcountry? Join a park docent as you go from the “gills to the hills” on this strenuous but very scenic loop hike known as the “Perimeter of the Park.” Distance is around nine miles; elevation/gain loss, around 1,850 ft. The hike is done at a moderate pace with one or two short breaks. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack. Arrive by 6:45 a.m. as the hike will start promptly at 7 a.m. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at the stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs towards the Ranger Station.) $15 day use fee.

Walk on the Wild Side, Friday, July 19 at 10 a.m. At Crystal Cove, you walk upon some of the rarest land in Southern California: coastal sage scrub. Join a park docent for a Walk on the Wild Side and enjoy a one-hour stroll learning about this amazing native habitat as you walk along a boardwalk to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #2, at the top of the boardwalk near the parking lot (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, right at kiosk to first lot.) $15 day use fee.

Whale, Dolphin & Wildlife “Twalk,” Saturday, July 20 from 9-11 a.m. Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale, Dolphin & Wildlife “Twalk” and learn some fun facts about the coastal creatures as you walk the bluff trail and scan the ocean at each overlook. Bring binoculars for better viewing. Meet at Pelican Point lot #4 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast left at kiosk to the last lot.) $20 day use fee.

Full Moon Hike on Saturday, July 20 from 7:45-10 p.m. Explore the park after dark, on a guided interpretive two-hour, four-mile Full Moon Hike at Crystal Cove State Park. A park naturalist will lead hikers on this moderate to difficult loop trail with uneven terrain and a steep uphill climb, elevation gain of 600 ft. This hike is suitable for ages 10 and up. Hikers must wear sturdy shoes, bring water and a snack. Bug repellant is recommended. Please bring a red flashlight, but if you don’t have one, they will have plenty to share. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs to the Ranger Station.) Registration is required, so sign up at https://letsgooutside.org.

Explore the Cove Science Hikes, Fourth Saturday each month: July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Registration is required for this event. Take a hike with a Conservancy educator to explore Crystal Cove State Park’s geological and ecological systems. Explore the impacts and challenges of climate change including fire ecology, ecological restoration, coastal engineering and marine conservation, as well as native versus non-native species and their impact on natural communities and ecosystem functions. Registration is required for these events.

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Historic District Walking Tours take place the fourth Saturday of every month

Historic District Walking Tours, Fourth Saturday each month: July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 2-3 p.m. Historic District Walking Tours return to Crystal Cove State Park. During this 60-minute tour led by Conservancy educators and former cottage residents, participants will step back in time to explore the history of Crystal Cove and the Historic District’s rescue and restoration.

Movies on the Beach, monthly from July through September. Click here for upcoming events.

Cove Talks, Ongoing. Click here for upcoming events. Registration is required for these events.

Grunion Run, One night only. Click here for details. Registration is required for this event.

For more information about summer programming at Crystl Cove and to register for upcoming programs, go here.

For a complete calendar of events, go to www.crystalcovestatepark.org/park-calendars/.


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