Continuing my series of the best beaches in California is Pearl Street Beach in Laguna Beach. This post contains photos of Pearl Street Beach, tips for finding it, and some info about the beach. Pearl Street Beach is a small spot with reefs comprising both the north and south rims of the beach.
I previously covered Laguna’s Victoria Beach, and Pearl Street Beach is another “South Laguna” beach approximately .75 miles north of Victoria Beach. You can see where it’s located on this map showing the various beaches in Laguna Beach.
The main draw at Pearl Street Beach is Arch Rock, pictured above. Archways like this are not atypical in Laguna Beach, but I think this one is fairly unique in that it has a really light, earth-tone, and from the north side on Pearl Beach, it almost looks like a tropical island setting. Birds flock to the top of Arch Rock, and people flock all around its base, which you can pass through on foot to reach the tide pools and Cactus Point on the other side.
In addition to Arch Rock, among the tide pools there’s a blowhole through which you can swim–I’ve never done this as I always have my camera gear along with me, but it looks pretty cool.
Like Victoria Beach, Pearl Street Beach can be tricky to find if you don’t know what to look for. There is a set of stairs down to this beach tucked away in a residential area without any signage indicating where they are.
There isn’t parking in the residential area near the stairs, and unless you want to pay for metered parking outside the neighborhood or along the Pacific Coast Highway, I’d recommend driving down Pearl Street on the other side of Pacific Coast Highway and finding free street parking on a side street about 10 minutes away.
Once you cross the Pacific Coast Highway and are heading down Pearl Street, you’ll curve around to the north, onto Ocean Way. From there, you’ll come to a gap in the guard rail along the road, and that’s where you’ll find the stairs down to the beach.
You can see this location on Google Earth here. From the bottom of those steps, you should see Arch Rock to the south.
Surfing isn’t permitted at Pearl Street Beach, but just about everything else seems fine. What I like about this beach is that it has both a normal sand beach area and also some rocky coastline, making it a great option for sunbathing and relaxing, or taking photos and exploring the coastline. The item of visual interest is obviously Arch Rock, but there are a couple of large rocks and some other things scattered around the beach.
As compared to Main Beach, Pearl Street Beach is far less tourist-y, and although I’ve seen other locals here the couple of times I’ve been down to this beach, it is never crowded. The atmosphere is pretty quiet and relaxed, with the most “action” around Arch Rock as people pass through it, climb over it (which technically isn’t allowed), and wander out around it.
I have a lot of other photos from beaches and coastline in Southern California, with more coverage to come. I know that it’s sort of a niche topic, but for those of you taking a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway (or SoCal locals), it might be useful to avoid the typical tourist hotspots…
Have you been to Pearl Street Beach? What do you think of it? Have another favorite secluded beach in Southern California? Interested in finding this pirate beach? Have any questions or other thoughts? Please share below in the comments!