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Crystal Cove State Park Historic District Walking Tour

Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.1 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly

Overview :  Welcome to the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District,an oasis in time!

Take some time to relax and explore the 12-acre historic... more »

Tips:  Strange Addresses? Don't even try to crack the numbering code in the Historic District. Cottages 00-9 were numbered in the order in ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. The Crystal Cove State Park Historic District

Welcome to Crystal Cove State Park Historic District, an oasis in time, and thank you for taking the Crystal Cove Historic District Walking Tour brought to you by Crystal Cove Alliance, the non-profit cooperating association at Crystal Cove State Park. My name is Laura Davick, and I am the founder of Crystal Cove Alliance and a former resident of... More

2. Historic District Entrance & The Garages

The walking tour begins at the entrance to the Historic District at the shuttle drop-off point. Here you will see a series of dark green garages on the left-hand side. The garages were built in 1931 to 1937. Originally, newspaper was used on the interiors for insulation. One garage was even used as a residence. The garages are now used for... More

3. Cottage #5 - Park Support Headquarters/Crystal Cove Alliance - Est. 1927-1928

From the garages, continue walking down the entry road to Crystal Cove Historic District. On the right, you will see Cottage 5, a brown shingled cottage with a great big 5 on the front of it. Cottage 5 is used for park support and headquarters for Crystal Cove Alliance. Cottage 5 was originally built in 1928 was completed later in 1937 when the... More

4. The Store

After leaving Cottage 5, continue down the path to the Historic District, and on your left you will see a small wooden ramp leading up to the Park Interpretive Store and Art Gallery. Do not forget to stop in here and take a look at all of the beautiful artwork from local artists and artisans from our community and take something home with you from... More

5. Cottage #00 - The Visitor Center - Historically, The Office - Est. 1928

After leaving the Store, continue on down the path of the Historic District and you will come to Cottage 00, a bright yellow cottage – now the Visitor’s Center.

Historically, this cottage was built in 1925. It was one of the first cottages you came across when entering Crystal Cove, and it is also the first cottage to be built here. That year,... More


Once you leave the Visitor’s Center, continue on and walk across the white car bridge towards the south end of the Historic District. You will come across a small set of wooden stairs cascading up the hill to the Crystal Cove Shake Shack. Operating since 1946, the Shake Shack has always been a quaint, roadside stand.

Over the years, they have... More

7. Cottage #22 - Park & Marine Research Facility - Est. 1931

Continuing on the pathway from the stairs of the Shake Shack down to the south beach, you’ll go almost down to the end of the Historic District and you will see a tall, persimmon colored cottage – Cottage #22, The Park & Marine Research Facility. This cottage, originally built in 1931, is now being used as a Park & Marine Research... More

8. Cottage #13 - Est. early 1930s

Cottage #13 is the last cottage at the south end of the cove with brown shingles and white trim. Perhaps the most iconic cove structure is the “Beaches Cottage” so named because it appeared in the 1988 Bette Midler film. The farthest south of all the cottages, it is set off a little from the others perched below a bluff with the Cove’s... More

9. Cottage #42, #43, #44 - Outdoor Education Commons - Est. 1930s

After leaving the Beaches Cottage, you will retrace your steps down the path to the Historic District, and you will pass Cottage #1 on the left and you’ll come to a series of stairs. Follow the stairs down into the Education Commons, this would be Cottage #42, 43 & 44.

Historically, these small units were used by film companies while films ... More

10. Cottage #46 - Exhibit Cottage - Historically, The Store - Est. 1950

After leaving the Education Commons, you will exit this area by walking across the wooden footbridge that spans Los Trancos Creek. There you will see a small turquoise cottage, Cottage #46, that was originally the store and was built in 1950. The store was a modern soda fountain with a counter and stools. It was run by Merle and Pearl Van Pelt... More

After leaving Cottage #46, look directly across to Cottage 15 – The Beachcomber Café. The ever so popular Beachcomber Café is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch or dinner or for adult beverages on the back deck at the Bootlegger Bar. You may make reservations online at opentable.com or just walk over and put your name in upon arrival at the... More

12. Cottage #2 - Overnight Rental - The Shell Shack - Est. 1926 & Reconstructed 2005

Directly next to The Beachcomber Café is Cottage #2 – The Shell Shack. One of my very favorite cottages. This was my family's cottage. Cottage #2 was the third cottage built at Crystal Cove and originally started out as a movie set. It was built in 1926 by brothers in-law Russell Paul and Lowell Bailey. After the filming was done, their families... More

13. Cottage #12 - Awaiting Restoration - Est. early 1930s

After leaving Cottage #2, continue on down the frontage road heading north until you come to Cottage #12. Cottage #12 was built in the early 1930s. Since this cottage was built during the depression years the building materials were scrounged, some donated and some were just found. The hill behind the house was dug out by hand and telephone poles... More

14. Cottage #35 - Overnight Check-In Office - Est. 1938

The first cottage on your left is a blue cottage – Cottage #35 – The Overnight Check-In Office. To access the entrance you’ll walk between the cottages out onto the deck to the rear door. There you will find information about cottage rentals and other information that might be helpful for your making reservations to spend a night here at Crystal ... More

15. Cottage #34 - The Cultural Center - Est. 1934

After leaving Cottage 35 (the Overnight Check-In Office), you’ll walk outside and to the right, you will find the last cottage on the tour - Cottage 34, the Cultural Center that was built in 1934. In 1934, the Japanese farming community had leased land from the Irvine Company and built a schoolhouse for their children. Students attended public... More

16. Conclusion

Thank you for joining me today on this tour. I hope you have enjoyed Crystal Cove and learned more about the Historic District. If you are interested in learning more about Crystal Cove Alliance and the many wonderful programs we offer – please visit our website at www.CrystalCoveAlliance.org. There you may also become a member of CCA and become... More