Merry Christmas from Crystal Cove!

Well, Merry belated Christmas, that is. Yesterday, we headed to Crystal Cove State Park to see some of the vintage-inspired holiday decor and enjoy a “traditional” white (sand) Christmas.

I think it’s going to take years to get used to trading in the snow and evergreens of the Midwest for the beaches and palms of Southern California, but I can’t really complain. The solace this year is in knowing that most of the Midwest experienced record high temperatures, so I would’ve missed out on a white Christmas, regardless. (And if we really wanted one, we could have driven 2.5 hours to the mountains where it did snow in California.)

It was nice Christmas for us, and now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is starting to wind down–or will be winding down soon–I’m anxious to get back in the swing of things here. For me, this bustle doesn’t really slow until early-January, after the Walt Disney World Marathon, but I’m hopeful I can carve out time for 2-3 posts per week here prior to then.

I feel like I’ve written this goal 4 or 5 times now, only to be inundated by other obligations shortly thereafter, and fail miserably at the goal. It’s difficult to juggle everything, but as I find myself more and more interested in landscape photography and travel, I expect posting here with regularity will climb my priority list. That’s probably a topic for an end-of-year recap and 2016 preview, though.

In any case, it’s been a nice Christmas season, and I’m hopeful that next week takes me up to Yosemite National Park or elsewhere with snow. The Christmas season isn’t over for me until January 5, and I’d like to enjoy the fading glow of the holidays with a true, woods-y Christmas ambiance. The beach is nice, but nothing beats the smell of evergreens, a blanket of fresh powder, and crisp, clear air.

As for Crystal Cove State Park, I suppose I should do another post on this, but it ranks among my least favorite beaches in Laguna Beach & Newport Beach. Straddling both cities, there are a few reasons I’m not a fan: 1) parking is exorbitant at $15/day, 2) parking locations are inconvenient, and 3) the beach is just plain boring, especially as compared to the hidden gems of the area.

However, much like Main Beach, Crystal Cove enjoys a strong reputation thanks to out-of-town tourists who stop primarily at beaches visible from the Pacific Coast Highway. If you were to poll locals, I’d hazard a guess that less than 5% would name it their favorite beach. By most standards, it’s a good beach, and those who don’t know what they are missing at Laguna Beach’s secluded beaches and coves enjoy it. Relative to those spots, though, it doesn’t even remotely compare.

This photo was taken by me with my Nikon D810 and Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. I also used my MeFoto travel tripod.

To get some more Laguna Beach photo ideas, check out my Laguna Beach Photo Gallery.

If you’re planning a California road trip or vacation, check out my California category of posts for other things to see and do. For photo licensing inquires, please contact me.

Your Thoughts…

What’s your idea of a “traditional” Christmas setting? Have you been to Crystal Cove State Park? What do you think of it? Have any questions or other thoughts? Please share below in the comments!

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2 replies
  1. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    Tom – big fan of yours. Have used your advice taking the family to Disney. And the past couple of years I have taken up an interest in both photography and our national parks. Last year we took the kids (9 and 7) to Rocky Mountain NP and everyone really enjoyed hiking, wildlife, walks around the lake and Trail Ridge Road (and the mount index thingy!). Highlight of that trip for me was the whole family hiking nearly 6 miles to Ouzel Falls in the wild basin area.

    This coming year, we are planning on going to Great Smoky Mountains NP. I think if it also goes over well, we may try to just do some national parks for next few years for our family vacations. Really hoping to instill something in the kids and get them to experience some “real” stuff. I would love to see your opinion on the top 10 national parks to know which ones we should be targeting. I think you would have a unique perspective since you’ve personally been to so many of them.


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