Crystal Cove camping offers one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore. It features 3.2 miles of beach, 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness and an offshore underwater area.
Crystal Cove State Park also features the federally listed Historic District, an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & 40’s and nestled around the mouth of Los Trancos Creek.
Much like most California Beach Campgrounds, it is very crowded with little privacy. The beach is great but it is basically a glorified parking lot
Crystal cove campground is immaculate, clean, and amongst the best ocean views you can get in the OC without having millions to spend on a ritzy house on the water. BUT, the camp hosts and rangers are not friendly. Instead of saying things like "have a nice day" they say to you "drive slow" or "check out at 1pm not a minute later" it's like, yes we are all aware of the rules and we are made to sign a little list of rules upon check in. But come on, just some sign of happiness or friendliness never killed anybody… No fire pits allowed unless they are propane and you bring it yourself. The walk down to the beach is steep but worth it. The lines in and out of the gate is long and annoying because even if you're already checked in and just wanting to get back to your site you gotta wait in a line of cars paying and checking in… So yea amazing camping but weird experiences otherwise.
We went right after it had been raining, so all of the flowers were in bloom mode and gorgeous. There’s two campgrounds an upper and lower—we opted for Lower Moro campground. These campgrounds aren’t too pricey and it includes parking for one car each night you stay. The trails are well-maintained and wide, allowing a lot of room for mountain bikers and hikers of all types. It’s about a 3 mile trek to Lower Moro from the coastal parking lot and not too bad of a hike, but it does get steep at times especially if you trek the coastal ridge way. We picked Lower Moro and loved it because it has a view of the beautiful pacific ocean as opposed to Upper Moro. The sites include a picnic table and no fire pit, but it was warm over Memorial Day weekend (though it rained one day). The bathroom is nicer as well, but if you did decide to have a larger group to camp with, Upper Moro has bigger camp sites. No water available, so you gotta bring enough for everyone. I gave this 3 stars because the campground is right off the heavily trafficked trail and you can hear everything your neighbor is doing.
we've overnighted here multiple times. its divided into an upper and lower section of sites. all first come first served. no complaints. you must pack in all water. no water source at the site and a simple outhouse available for a restroom. the hike to the site has a decent amount of include, so prepare. we've seen multiple groups bring large coolers and regret it each time. you do get a lot of moisture in the mornings because of how close you are to the coast.
My family camps here often, it’s one of the closest beach campgrounds to us and the views are amazing. The sites are terraced, so no matter which site you get you’ll have a view of the ocean. It is in a developed area of Laguna Beach, so there is not much solitude or quiet enjoyment of nature. However, it’s super convenient to have stores like Trader Joe’s and restaurants just a few minutes away. There is beach access from the campground and several hiking trails in the park. There are no shade structures or large trees, so definitely bring a canopy in the summer. The bathrooms are pretty clean, some of the showers run pretty hot but I didn’t mind it. This campground fills up fast so book early! I really like how clearly the sites are marked and how often the park rangers patrol. Highly recommend this campground!
We camped here a week before Christmas. We have a 24 ft travel trailer. Stayed in a site with electricity and water. No sewer hook-up but there is a dump station in the campground. Great amenities including flush toilets and token operated showers. Each site has an ocean view. A bit of road noise from PCH but million dollar houses also have such problems! There is an elementary school adjacent to the campground so you get a few PA announcements to start your day.
There is a small visitor's center on site. Hiking and mountain bike riding are in the canyon adjacent to the campground. You can access the beach by walking down the hill and using the tunnel under PCH. From there, you can walk to Crystal Cove Historic Site and the Beachcomber restaurant. You can also walk to a nice chopping center with restaurants and a Trader Joe's (we forgot toothpaste). Your campsite parking pass is good at any of the parking areas in Crystal Cove State Park so you don't have to walk if mobility is an issue.The beach is clean and great for beachcombing - just can't collect anything. Lots of marine and land wildlife in the area.
Close to Laguna Beach so you can go into this nice artsy community.
A couple of other reviewers mentioned a few things that seem a bit inaccurate. Alcohol is limited to the campsites but you can drink in your campsite. You just can't take it to the beach or to the bluff overlook. It is easy to get in and out - unless you are in one of the backcountry sites. Pelican Hill Resort and golf club are nearby (not Trump National which is in Palos Verdes).
You are so near to nightlife yet so in the wilderness. Couldn't be a better place to camp. The beach is beautiful. And you can still have pizza delivered.
We camped over New Years and it rained and really only RVs showed up (we crashed at a friend’s house one night and put up our tent the next when it dried out a bit). There was little protection. Location is great to walk along the beach.