As you leave Corona Del Mar, driving down Highway 1 to Laguna Beach, you’ll see an entrance, on the west side of the highway, for Crystal Cove State Park. Don’t turn into it—not this time. Instead, continue to the next intersection and turn left into the Los Trancos entrance to the park, and where you’ll catch your shuttle bus to the past. The past being the Crystal Cove Historic District, a collection of 1920s and 1930s summer cottages popular, once upon a time, with Hollywood in the silent-film era and later with plein-air artists. Some of the cottages have been renovated and are being rented to overnight visitors, others are yet to be restored. Walking on the northern end of the cove’s beach, past those dilapidated yet charming relics, you can almost hear the ghostly laughter from that long-ago movie colony. Concrete reminders of the painters who’ve worked here are easier to come by: Just stop at the Park Interpretive Store, which sells a juried selection of paintings by local artists.
Photos Courtesy of Crystal Cove Alliance