By Jimbo – (Mission Viejo, CA)
There’s a decent snorkeling spot in Laguna Beach, California called Treasure Island Beach.
A small cove in front of the Montage Resort has two finger reefs that jut out 50 yards or so from the sandy areas of the beach. In the rocky areas you can see quite a variety of juvenile fish.
Basically, it’s the same fish you would see at La Jolla Cove in San Diego or Lovers Cove on Catalina Island. However, there’s usually fewer fish than La Jolla or Lovers Cove.
Since I live in South Orange County, I usually go there every week when the water gets over 70 degrees in late August and early September. It’s less of a hassle than driving down to La Jolla. And, it’s definitely cheaper than taking the ferry to Catalina Island.
There’s freshwater showers and bathrooms available. All in all, it’s great for a quick midweek snorkel.
Like anywhere else in California, it’s not worth the bother on summer weekends.
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Nicole & Galen – Dec 21, 2015 – Treasure Island Beach Snorkeling
Hi Jimbo, thanks for sharing this snorkel spot with us. Hopefully our site readers will find this information useful. We have some more information about other California snorkeling options here.
Anonymous – Dec 22, 2015 – Rips Tides and Currents
How are the rip tides, currents and visibility at Treasure Island Beach?
Jimbo – Dec 25, 2015 – Rip Tides, Currents, and Visibility – Answer
Since it’s a fairly well protected cove, there aren’t any rip tides or cross currents here. However, if the surf’s up, the surge can be pretty strong when the tide’s going out. You don’t get dragged out to sea or anything like that. But, you will be buffeted about a bit. I usually check a surf forecasting website before heading out.
Close in to shore, the visibility is in the 5-10 foot range. This is mostly due to the surf churning up the sand. Since you’re in shallow water you can still see the fish. The better snorkeling is found following the rocky reef out 20-30 yards. There’s a rocky shelf out there where the visibility is in the 10-15 foot range.
If you want great visibility, take the ferry across to Catalina Island to Lover’s Cove. It’s a rocky beach so the visibility is usually in the 20-25 foot range.
Andy – Jul 27, 2016 – Easy Access
I’ve snorkeled a few places in Laguna and while my experience at this beach was limited due to a running south swell in the summer months I recommend it.
There is a ramp on the north end of the bluffs that goes down to the sand, with a shower up at the top. So you won’t have to take the more crowded stairs if you don’t want to. Just walk through the elegant grounds of the Montage to get there.
The beach gets small at high tide and big surf makes it even smaller, so make sure your gear is back from the high tide line. At low tide there are nice tide pools there and also farther south, where you can make your way through the cave.
Like most beaches in the area there they will be best during flat surf days.