Laguna Beach Pirate Tower: Ahoy matey!

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On Victoria Beach, in the famous city of Laguna Beach, and right off the equally famous PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), stands a lone “pirate tower”. Pushed up against the cliff and directly below homes costing an average of $4 million, it’s an interesting sight to behold. It’s obviously not a real pirate’s tower, but one that was constructed in 1926 by California senator William E. Brown. He wanted it to be his own little private, richy access to the beach below. The tower, along with the property that goes with it, has changed ownership over the years, but the tower sits on a public beach, so they can’t stop the public from going to it. The door to the tower at beach level is securely locked, so nobody can trespass up, but you can walk up to it, touch it, and take pics next to it.

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Located at 2713 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA, it’s supposedly “open” 24 hours, however, the beach opens at 6am and closes at 10pm. The tower is a known go-to spot for local photographers — both amateur and professional — and we saw many doing just that. The tower sits right next to the ocean, where waves endlessly hammer the rocks, causing a spectacular splash. Numerous tide pools act like mini- portals to the ocean, and you can see little crabs and tons of sea urchins. This specific part of the beach is not advisable to swim in, due to the rocks and extremely rough waves – but it sure makes for incredible pictures!

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The beautiful tide pools.

To get to the tower — good luck, and may the odds forever be in your favor 🖖🏼. If you follow the GPS like we did, you’re taken right into an expensive beachside neighborhood, where parking is nonexistent, since you cannot park on the side of the street. These are ultra-pricey homes and narrow beachside streets. The owners of the home that sits right next to the start of the path leading down to the beach and tower were kind enough to designate a small section in front of their home for public parking. However, the sign says it’s only for 30 minutes, it only fits one car, and best of luck being there when it’s available.

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We ended up having to park on the far side of PCH, right across the far entrance to the neighborhood, then walk all the way through to the path. Parking there is free, but beware – you will have to play frogger with the cars on the highway. It’s a section of PCH that runs through Laguna Beach and the traffic is heavy. We had to wait several minutes until the traffic was clear enough to sprint across 5 lanes. If you have trouble running fast, I’d sincerely suggest finding a different place to park. You can always park at any of the beach parking lots, they just cost money and you may have to walk slightly more.

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Regardless of which direction you come from, there is some walking. Once at the entrance, you head down some stairs and then onto a steep, paved path. At the end, you hit more stairs and finally onto the sand. Once on the sand, you must walk around the cliffside to the right, which can be rather painful if you’re walking barefoot or in sandals. You must walk over the rocky terrain to make it to the tower, as there is no other way to go. Once you make it around the cliffside and over the rocky terrain, the area around the tower is sandy.

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Overall, I understand this location will very likely never be anyone’s sole/main vacation destination, or something they drive hours to see, but if you live nearby or are visiting, I suggest you go! It’s a fun, quick outing, and cool to see. It’s a gorgeous location, especially at sunset!

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