Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog

beaches

A Tower on the Beach

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

Since including pictures of the infamous Pirate Tower on the beach in Laguna Beach in my Southern California Beach Guide blog post, I’ve gotten so many inquiries about exactly how to get there and some of the challenges of this particular spot.  So, here you go everyone! 

Here’s a little background about Victoria Beach.  If you’ve never heard of it, you’re hearing it here first!  You’re welcome.  It’s one of those pretty white sand beaches in Orange County, but this beach is not exactly like the others.  Victoria Beach is most well known for its Victorian lighthouse, or “Pirate Tower”, nestled into a cliff and perched right next to the water.  If Rapunzel came to mind when you read this then you’ll love this place.  There is also a great man made pool that fills with water during high tide.

The tower and the man made pool are right next to each other.  To get to there, head down the stairs (directions to get to them are just below!) and make a right as soon as you get to the bottom.  After heading around the rocks, you should see the tower within a minute!

As mentioned, there are a few challenges you should know about Victoria Beach before you venture over there, so read on!

 

one.

It can be a little difficult to find.  I read a bunch of Yelp reviews (actually probably all of them, guys I’m a planner!) before about how to find the entrance which was extremely helpful.  The entrance has a public beach access sign at the top of some stairs, but can be easily missed in between the homes.  Type in the address 2713 Victoria Dr and you will find the entrance stairs just to the right of this house!

two.

The parking here can be a bit of a problem.  Ok, it’s on the verge of almost impossible.  Since the entrance is in a residential neighborhood, there’s not many spaces available as there are a lot and I mean a lot of no parking signs.  Unless you come at sunrise, I wouldn’t count on parking close to the stairs.  We found parking immediately in the early morning.  And by the way, I think sunrise or sunset are the best times to visit, but that might just be because I love that magic hour light.  If not, just park up on PCH and walk down.  Again, put in the address and you won’t get lost!

three.

The tide can make it tricky to get to the pirate tower!  I wanted to go to Victoria Beach specifically to try to see the man made pool full of water.  My friend and I had planned on using her drone to get some awesome shots of us swimming and floating from above.  

The man made pool only fills at high tide.  It’s hard to predict when high tide will be, however.  We saw it was supposed to be highest tide at 6am, so that’s when we went, but no water.  We realized that if the pool had been filled because of high tide, it would have been harder to get to the pool and the tower.  You have to walk along some rocks to get there.  If the tide was high, that could be covered in water.  So fair warning!  It could make a pretty picture, but also be pretty dangerous.  Or that water could cause you to get drenched by a wave as evidenced above!

four.

There may or may not be a new law in Laguna Beach that states that all photography, commercial and non-commercial requires a permit.  Yes, you heard the correctly.  Any photo shoots in public require a $100+ permit that you have to obtain before through the city.  If you get caught taking photos without a permit, you could get slapped with a hefty fine.  According to this post, the city of Laguna Beach may have now revised their strict ruling, but it’s just a great thing to keep in mind especially if you’re going to this tower to shoot engagement photos etc or using a drone.  A link to an epic drone shot we got from a friend we made there is linked in the Instagram post above!

Trust me, you don't want to miss out on this gorgeous tower and beach!  And remember, the early bird always get the worm, or in this case a parking spot and an empty beach!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Southern California's Beach Guide

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

i have been spending an awfully lot of time on the beach lately.  I guess it’s hard to stay away from the beach when you live in sunny (well, not currently) Southern California.  Funny enough, I live about 10 minutes from the beach and for the most part don’t really go.  

There are so many beaches to choose from in Southern California.  Sure, there are a ton of small, local beaches you can hit up but I thought I’d breakdown the 10 most popular Southern California beaches from Malibu to Laguna Beach.  Each beach offers its own unique twist whether its a fire pit, scenic views or is just an experience like Venice Beach.  If you haven’t already, here’s your chance to check them all out:

one.
EL MATADOR BEACH

Located in Malibu, El Matador beach is a hotspot for photoshoots.  Yes, people do come here to go to the beach, but the beach is located down multiple flights of staircases at the bottom of the cliffs.   There are no restrooms on the beach and the sand isn’t very wide.  However, this beach is extremely scenic.  The giant boulders make this beach very photogenic.  You will absolutely see at least 5 photoshoots happening while you’re here because it’s just that beautiful of a beach, especially at sunset.
 

two.
ZUMA BEACH

Zuma Beach in Malibu is probably my favorite beach near Los Angeles.  The mood just feels way more laid back when you reach Malibu which is how I like my beach experiences to be.  I don’t want any gimmicky attractions or an influx of tourists when I'm laying on the beach, so Zuma is the perfect location.  The beach itself and its surroundings are picture perfect.  The pastel palette of the sand and water are surrounded by towering cliffs making it oh so pretty to look at while sunbathing.  Parking is much easier than some of the other beaches in this list.  If you try to parallel on the street, you probably won’t find parking unless you’re extremely lucky.  Don’t worry, though, head to the end and just pay for parking in the large lot.
 

three.
SANTA MONICA BEACH

The Santa Monica Pier lies at the end of Route 66.  I think it’s one of the most iconic images people think of when they think of Los Angeles, of course, behind the Hollywood sign.  The Santa Monica beach is a great location due to its proximity to a plethora of restaurants and activities.  The Pier has a bunch of rides and carnival games for families.  

Personally, it’s not my beach of choice because the sand is really wide and it it usually crowded, but like I said there are so many great things about Santa Monica that make this beach worth while!  If you go to the beach off of Main Street, just south of the pier, it’s much less crowded and more enjoyable.
 

four.
VENICE BEACH

Just south of Santa Monica, a visit to Venice Beach is an experience in itself.  The boardwalk is full of unique people and attractions and I mean unique.  Walking down the boardwalk, you’ll find yourself at the infamous Muscle Beach where you find large bodybuilders at work.  Where Arnold Schwarzenegger, himself, used to hang out and pump iron. The palm trees that line the beach and rock wall, make this beach the ideal beach scene.  After the beach, grab some food on Abbot Kinney.
 

five.
DOCKWEILER BEACH

Not know for being an all-star beach, most people head to Dockweiler for its beach fire pits. The fire pits are first come, first serve.  So, getting here early during the day is a must as they do fill up quickly.  Dockweiler is one of the only places around Los Angeles to have an open bonfire on the beach and I love bonfires.  Who can say know to a melty, ooey-gooey s’more?
 

six.
MANHATTAN BEACH

Manhattan Beach seems like your typical All-American beach town.  It’s a hotspot for beach volleyball and surfing.  The main area is at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard.  There are tons of great restaurants and cute boutique shops in this area.  Manhattan Beach is one of my favorite places to spend the day.  Grab some lunch at the Kettle, head to the beach and then do a little shopping before heading home. Parking can be tricky here.
 

seven.
LONG BEACH

Long Beach is less of a beach town and is home to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the second busiest container port in the US.  I definitely think more about the attractions here than the beach.  The Pike and second street are great places to find shopping and restaurants.
 

eight.
HUNTINGTON BEACH

Huntington Beach is a great beach town in Orange County.  The surf culture here is strong giving it a trademark title of Surf City.  The main area which is fittingly called Main Street has a ton of delicious restaurants.  If you're craving sushi, hit up Sushi On Fire.  They have some of the best rolls I've ever had.  It definitely can get pretty crowded here, but heading away from the pier may be less populated.

nine.
NEWPORT BEACH

The Newport Beach lifestyle is the epitome of beach living.  I've spent many a weekend hoping from one friend's beach house to the next playing games and hanging out.  This is very much a walk or bike around town.  The people are friendly and the beach is inviting.  The Ruby's at the end of the pier is a fun spot to grab a bite.  If you have time, check out Balboa Island.  It's the cutest little town for families.

ten.
LAGUNA BEACH

I just found one of my favorite beaches and it is located in the great Laguna Beach.  Victoria beach is just south of Laguna Niguel.  If you walk down the stairs and go just to the right, on a low-tide day, you'll come across a castle tower on the water.  It's everything you would imagine a beach Rapunzel scene would look like.  Of course, all of the other beaches in Laguna are just as scenic.  Laguna Niguel is particular cute full of boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.