A picture is worth a thousand words, but is a gorgeous beach in Laguna worth a thousand steps? The answer is yes, though the question is moot, because it’s only 223 steep steps down to the 400-yard stretch of sand known as 1000 Steps Beach. Why the exaggeration? Originally, maybe to discourage visitors. The name stuck, but visitors are more than welcome.
The stairs make for both a knee-buckling descent and a grueling return trip. In between, take your trainers off and explore your seashore reward, admiring the imposing cliffs and even more imposing clifftop mansions.
Investigate the microbiology of the abundant tide pools and be sure to walk south along water’s edge to a sea cave that is not only a totally rad hangout spot (avoid at high tide, though), but also the pathway to a concealed mini beach and a perfect picnic spot. When you head back to the main beach, you’ll probably be glad that only 223 steps await you.
To get to 1000 Steps Beach, take Pacific Coast Hwy. (CA-1) in Laguna Beach to the intersection with 9th Ave. Park on the street and look for the narrow, somewhat hidden, entrance to the stairway. No dogs on the beach.