OverviewThis guide written by: Dustin Meyer
Shaw's Cove is another one of the many smaller, semi-secluded beaches in Laguna Beach. A very beautiful and piqturesque snorkeling location, with Laguna Beach's signature fancy beach houses overlooking the immediate area. It's very close to downtown Laguna Beach, and is an very popular beach for snorkeling/diving because of its sea life, epic reef structures, and kelp forests.
As with most of the beaches along Laguna Beach this beach is a protected beach, so you'll have to abide by the rules posted at the entry sites.
Parking: No Parking Lot, Free Parallel and Metered Street Parking Available
Entry: One Entry off Cliff Dr. - Stairs
Lifeguard: One lifeguard station
FeaturesShaw's Cove is a really rocky beach, as is typical with the laguna beaches. There are good snorkeling spots both on the north side and the south side of the beach, although the most interesting sea life and structues are on the north side. The beach isn't long and there is pretty much just sand in the middle, no big rocks or other features.
The north side has a little bit of everything. Just off the shore there is an area with really shallow lying vegetation, like at Fisherman's Cove. Lots of eel Grass, some gorgonians, small rocks and maybe some urchins and anemones. As you head out further along the predominant rock structure, the sea floor drops quite a bit. Depending on the tide, you might be at a level to swim above the main reef structure plateau, or it may be above you. Keep going north/northwest along this large structure and it will take you to some impressively large swaying kelp forests. The reef/rocks extend out quite far here, and if you keep going out and across/north you'll end up at south Crescent Bay. There is also a popular underwater arch that is more easily accessible to scuba divers, but you might have a go at it yourself if you are a good swimmer.
The south side is as a rocky reef strucure that extends out about maybe 150 feet. Lots of urchins here. Shares a lot of the features of the north side, but to a lesser extent. Keep swimming south around the rock and you'll be at Fisherman's Cove.
You'll of course see many varieties of fish, Garibaldi being some of the most common of course. Expect to see some perch, sandbass, rockfish etc.
View Larger Map
ParkingAs with many of the smaller beaches in Laguna Beach, parking can be a bit of a hassle. There is no lot, and no metered parking directly along the streets closest to this beach. Your best bet is to get there early and/or hope to find a parallel parking spot in front of someone's house. There are some metered spots as you get closer to PCH.
Disclaimer: You shall assume all risks associated with snorkeling at any of the locations listed on this website. The articles and forecasts that appear on this site are intended to be for informational purposes only. It is up to you and/or the lifeguards present at the snorkeling locations to make the ultimate decisions regarding your safety. Follow all posted rules at any site that you visit.