Technically a part of Newport Beach, Corona del Mar sits perched above the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean offering an aesthetic that is all its own. Boasting vintage cottages along with stunning new houses, the neighborhood offers quiet music spots, tasty restaurants and fashionable gastropubs. Of course, earning its name of “Crown of the Sea,” Corona del Mar is also home to some magnificent beaches. The two main beaches, as well as the ones that are the most easily accessible, are Big Corona and Little Corona.
Big Corona at Corona del Mar
Featuring cliffs, surf, a jetty and a variety of activities ranging from surfing to skim boarding and volleyball, Big Corona is a favorite among surfing enthusiasts. In fact, it was here that surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku was frequently seen carving the waves. For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, Big Corona suits the bill just fine as it serves as the perfect backdrop for jogging, stair climbing, ocean swims and other water sports.
To reach Big Corona, which is located in Corona del Mar State Beach, you will need to turn south on Poppy Avenue from the Pacific Coast Highway. Here, a very narrow road leads to a cliff above the ocean. You will then need to take a paved path down to Corona del Mar State Beach. The road makes an abrupt right turn into Ocean Boulevard that then leads to Big Corona. Here, you can take in magnificent views of the ocean. You will see the beach of Big Corona to the right, while the mouth of Newport Harbor will be to the left. You will also notice a long stretch of rocky cliffs that start with Little Corona del Mar beach. On a clear day, you can also spot Catalina Island 25 miles away.
Offering a quiet paradise in a secluded location, Little Corona is a more tranquil and peaceful version of Big Corona. One of the most popular attractions at Little Corona is the tide pool, which offers a close up adventure where sea life can be found. The site also features a public restroom and shower facilities that are open during the summer.
A relatively small beach that is flanked on both sides by rocky reefs, Little Corona offers spectacular diving opportunities. It also offers excellent snorkeling opportunities beyond the water edge where the sandy beach drops off to scattered rocks hidden among eel grass. The beach is also well-protected from swells and surf, making it a good location for families who are concerned about their children getting towed away by large waves and undercurrents. Several buoys located at about 150 yards also mark boundaries where boats and jet skis cannot enter.
Unlike most beach paths in Orange County, the path to Little Corona does not involve stair steps. Therefore, it is accessible to those who are disabled, but it should be noted that it does involve walking down a steep hill and only street parking is available. The fact that equipment can be wheeled along a path makes Little Corona particularly attractive to divers and picnickers with heavy loads to carry.