Newport Beach & Laguna Beach, California
Cliff Island is known for its cliff jumping (surprise, surprise) and beautiful sunrise/sunset views. The unique rock formation isn't the only attraction here - there's also tide pools (with crabs and sea anemones) and a few neighboring sea caves. The only safe time to get to see this local gem is about an hour before low tide. If you attempt this during high tide, the strong waves could knock you against the rocks and drag you out into the ocean, so please respect the strength of the ocean and go at a safe time.
There are two ways to get to Cliff Island:
1) From the City of Newport Beach, go to Little Corona Del Mar Beach and park on Poppy Avenue (free street parking) which intersects with the Pacific Coast Highway. From there, go down the path off Poppy Avenue and you'll reach Little Corona Del Mar Beach. Head left when facing the ocean (south) along the rocks and you'll see Cliff Island within 15 minutes at the most. To explore some sea caves, continue south past Cliff Island along the shoreline.
2) From the City of Laguna Beach, go to Crystal Cove State Park ($15 all day parking). Park at the northern most parking lot to your right after paying at the booth. From the parking area, head north along the path and follow it as it turns towards the coast. Eventually, you'll see steps leading down to the beach - take those and continue to head north until you reach a sea cave. From here, you'll have to hike/climb along the rocky shoreline for about 15 minutes until you'll reach Cliff Island. You'll pass several sea caves on your way to the island, so be sure to bring your waterproof camera.
- Wear water shoes and take your time - this place is very slippery in some spots.
- Be prepared to get wet. You may need to dip into the water while making your way to Cliff Island.
- Bring a waterproof case or bag for your valuables.
- Check the tide schedule before you go and do not go during high tide.
- The sea anemones are safe to touch, but the sea urchins are not.