1000 Steps Beach in Laguna Beach

One of the best things about living in Southern California is the plethora of beaches all within an hour drive from my house. There are beaches for surfing, camping, swimming and even shopping. Most people are familiar with the main beaches like Newport, Santa Monica and Huntington, but many aren’t as familiar with the stellar beaches in the less travelled areas like Laguna Beach. This is exactly where the gem that is 1,000 Step Beach is nestled, and even though finding it can be difficult, it is worth your time to put in the extra effort.

Getting There

As I said, this beach is difficult to find. I think this is mostly because the locals would rather not have it become a tourist trap like Huntington and Newport have become, and I couldn’t agree more. That being said everyone should be able to experience its beauty if they want to find it, so here is the how to get there. If you are in Laguna and head down PCH you will come to a small area with some housing right after the South Coast Medical Center. From there you will want to park between 8th and 10th Street, or further away if you cannot find parking in the limited street spots. After parking, you can head across the street at 9th and will see the small opening that gives you access to the stairs and in turn the beach.

The Stairs

On the weekend, during the winter, this becomes an extremely popular place for the locals to get some work outs in walking up and down the steps. It will give you a decent sweat as there are a couple hundred stairs at least before you hit the bottom.

While not too difficult on the way down, it becomes a good work out on the way up. Once you make it to the bottom you will be on the beach.

The Beach

1,000 steps beach is about 400 yards of pristine sand, crashing waves, tide pools, and even a cave. It also offers you views of some of the most lavish houses you have ever seen, all with their own fenced off areas of the beach, as well as personal steps to take them from their house to the start of the sand.

While I was there the tide was high so I wasn’t able to see the tide pools, but I did enjoy watching boogie boarders and exploring the sea caves. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California, so it is a great place to just hang out. Plus, the lack of parking always makes it feel secluded.

The Sea Cave

On the south end of the beach, there is a pretty decent sized cave that you can walk in and explore. During low tide, there is almost no water in the cave, but at high tide it can start to move around pretty good so be careful.

Pay attention to the water coming in so that you don’t get stuck in there or get your electronics wet as I almost did. It is a fun cave to explore though and definitely worth checking out.

Check out my video for highlights from the beach:

1,000 steps beach is one of the Southern California beaches that remind you there are still great places to escape from the hustle and bustle of people. That being said, make sure to do your part to clean up and keep this beach beautiful if you make the trip. I highly recommend you go check it out, and let me know if you have other beaches you would recommend in the comments. You can see the rest of the photos and get directions below.

Photo Gallery

Get Directions

Center map

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  • Good to see another photog mention this place/ I have been going there for about 15+ years and I love it. Lots have changed in that time, but it’s still awesome. A great beach for a family shoot also!

  • sean

    fortunately for us local to the neighborhood near the hospital, the parking fills up fast and the difficulty of the climb up and down keep the crowds down. still, during the summer, this beach is sometimes just as crowded as newps and hb.

  • Justin Rat

    Hey Josh! Do you know if camping is allowed on or near 1000 Steps Beach? I was recommended by a friend, and we’re looking for a place to pitch a tent for a few nights! Any nearby recommendations would be great too!

    • Justin, I apologize I have no idea if they allow camping or not here. I have never seen anyone with tents when I have been there but I am not sure.

      • Joseph Romero

        How can i get into the cave i walk close to it but the life guards keep saying its closed, what can i do? Please help

  • reece

    Hi i saw your video and read your blog and they were so helpful! To get to the south side caves do you walk left or right from the stairs?

    • You will walk to the left from the stairs. Thanks for the comment!

  • Frank

    There’s secret salt pools there too that the ocean is taking over.. trespassing is a must but so worth it.

  • Diana Reyes

    Hi josh thanks for the 411. I’m going there this sat to try to get to the saltwater pools. No idea how to get there and I hear it can be dangerous so any advice or directions on how to get to the pools would be greatly appreciated. Also some people say it’s at 1000 steps and others say it’s at a different location. Thanks again 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, I have no idea about the salt water pools so I am not much help, sorry!

  • Ally Saavedra

    @disqus_YPt2EC3B7r:disqus i just went this past friday. The pools are on the North end of the beach. You have to get through a cave. Its kinda hectic when tide is high as it was when I was there, so when the water pulls back run through! then it’ll drop you off in a hidden tiny more private beach that only a few find. Then to your north there will be a rock formation that covers your view but the pools are past that! If there isn’t a life guard then climb the rock but if there is you’ll have to swim to it. I didn’t do it cause the ocean was strong that day and I’m not that great of a swimmer but my lifeguard friend did and she said its awesome! sometimes if tide is too high the pools are dangerous but if its calm you can get to it. Also make sure to bring a hat & snack & water! I passed out of heat exhaustion on the way back up the stairs which wasn’t good :/ there’s virtually no shade there and your water gets hot fast! Maybe ill go back in the later months of the year