Irvine Cove is a mysterious cove of seclusion and beauty reminiscent of an old, Hollywood glamour movie like To Catch a Thief. $10 to $70 million dollar mansions hug the Irvine Cove coastline; the water is rich with world-class opportunities to discover marine life; and, the charismatic beach offers an alluring place to exhibit that French bikini.
Every beach in California is public property, though some waterfront development projects market their beach as private. Homeowners and homeowner associations lay claim to a private beach by blocking public access through the installation of guarded gates, or they build houses in a manner which blocks public road access. Irvine Cove Homeowners Association is one such place. However, that cannot stop you from enjoying the Irvine Cove beach.
Irvine Cove is in North Laguna Beach, one reef south of Crystal Cove. To access Irvine Cove from Crystal Cove, walk as far south as you can on the Crystal Cove beach, then swim around the south end reef 6/10th’s of a mile into Irvine Cove. Alternatively, swim north from Emerald Bay into Irvine Cove — also 6/10th’s of a mile. I recommend a mask, a snorkel, and fins for two reasons: 1) You can see the fish and reefs better; and 2) waves are often rough around the reefs. The more relaxing your swim, the better your overall experience.
As a side note, when you are calculating swimming distance, be sure to factor in the reefs. Most of the reefs are too high to swim over. To prevent injury, you must swim beyond the reef giving yourself plenty of space as the waves will push you into the reef if you are too close. Reef cuts and scrapes are nasty. Bacteria from the reef mixed with bacteria from the water enters cuts and causes itching and inflammation, and reef cuts leave unsightly scars.
A reef divides Irvine Cove beach. An archway is accessible from one side of the beach to the other at low tide. Irvine Cove is a marine protected area and as such, fishing in any form is not allowed. The result is a reef and cove abundant with fish, crustaceans, and marine mammals.
Whales migrating through Laguna Beach tend to hover around Irvine Cove. I have not heard an expert confirm this, but some locals speculate that whales use the outlying reef for scraping off pesky barnacles. I watch whales travel from Irvine Cove to Crescent Bay, then turn around and go back again.
If you or someone you know is lucky enough to have access to watercraft, boat or paddle to Irvine Cove for a spectacular view of the cliff, the mansions, and the reef.
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Visit Laguna Beach beaches, bays, and coves for more information on places to go.