Shaw’s Cove is a Diver’s Paradise

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Shaw’s Cove, located in North Laguna Beach, is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Often referred to as the forgotten beach, it has a distinct character all its own that deserves to be highlighted. I’ve already discussed why I love Pearl Beach, but Shaw’s Cove is a radically different experience. For me, this contrast between beaches creates a richer experience throughout the entirety of Laguna Beach. There are no long stretches of monotonous-looking sand; rather this coastline is peppered with small coves that each have individual character.

The entrance to Shaw’s Cove features a shock of greenery lining either side of the stairs and instantly transports its visitors to a tropical paradise. It’s a short walk down, so getting to this beach requires less struggling than some of Laguna’s harder-to-reach beaches. (I’m looking at you 1,000 Steps Beach!)

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Some logistical information you should know before adventuring include the following:

The entrance is in the middle of a North Laguna neighborhood, so it’s important to be mindful of residents.

There usually isn’t parking nearby, but if you do happen to find an on-street spot, make sure you’re not blocking a driveway or fire hydrant -- they do patrol the area and ticket!

The city’s trolley stops at the top of the entrance to the beach, alleviating all the stress and hassle of parking. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, utilize the free public transportation to beach hop!  

Shaw’s Cove is best known amongst the diving community due to its proximity to Laguna’s now-thriving kelp forest. The possibility of seeing marine wildlife keeps divers continually coming back for more. It’s common to see divers with their tanks walking up and down Cliff Drive on their way to and from the sea.

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A tiny cove where high tide usually covers up most of the sand, it’s a good idea to check tide charts for low tide before heading over.

Time your trips to coincide with increased land availability and walk over to Crescent Bay Beach or Fisherman's Cove to explore some of Laguna’s best tidepools during low tide.

All this said, the biggest perk of Shaw’s Cove is still the serene feeling it offers. Since the entrance isn’t too obvious many people don’t even know it’s there. It’s a perfect beach for a relaxing, quiet day in paradise.

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Gemma Totten is a world traveler, but first and foremost, a Laguna local. Catch up with her on her dream (and beach)-worthy Instagram at @gemmatotten.

Photos by: Grant Puckett.