We were driving down the Pacific Coast, Highway 1, on our California road trip on the lookout for a small village of tiny beach cottages nestled in the dunes. I knew it was very close, but we couldn’t find the right entrance. At our first stop, a very kind parks officer gave us directions but somehow we must have missed an exit because at a rest stop, we could see it below. Morten (my husband) was getting a bit impatient, and I seriously considered dropping Crystal Cove off our Pacific Coast list, but wow am I glad I stuck to my guns and made a U-turn.
It turns out you can’t drive down to Crystal Cove. You park on the in-land side of Highway 1, and then you follow a path through a tunnel under the road.
Like with any good architecture, you are guided through a series of smaller spaces (with a little help from the tunnel) to enter into this grand space. You turn a corner and the ocean appears, like it’s designed to take your breath away.
Crystal Cove is a small village of beach cottages all build in the 30’s to 50’s. They finished renovating half of the them, and they are kept completely in the original style. It’s a magic little time capsule to enter into without getting a museum feel.
It is so easy imagining men in candy striped swimsuits and ladies wearing large sun hats when walking around.
I didn’t know what to expect from Crystal Cove. I found it by coincidence while doing some research on the California west coast. I love architecture so though it might be worth checking it out. I found a few pictures online here and there, but none of them do this place justice. Crystal Cove is not just a few cottages, there are 50-100 of them, a prime location and restaurants with gorgeous views.
It gave me the sense that real life is lived here. The beach cottages sit on a beautiful public beach, and ordinary people come here to swim and enjoy themselves.
If I ever come back to Crystal Cove, I will rent a room or cottage even just for one night. Waking up to that view has to be an amazing experience. If you check out their website, you can see some options for rentals. I will definitely do that if I come back.
Author: Maria Fredgaard Storgaard at One Girl One Suitcase