Five Reasons to Stay at Crystal Cove
Short of pulling a Harry Potter and working magic on the system, reserving a vintage cottage at Crystal Cove State Park seems pure luck. Well, luck and persistence. And for that I thank my handsome, who—ever since we dreamed of staying overnight here years ago—has tried on/off to book us a stay.
These sweet bungalows, assorted in size, were built in the ’20s and ’30s, along a stretch of Newport Coast that has since been added to the National Register of Historic Places. A certain number of them are available to overnight guests throughout the year, but nabbing one means being ready. And by being ready, I mean logging into the reservation system at 8 in the morning (PST)– on the first day of every month– and pouncing on the date and cottage you want. Then hoping thousands of other mouse-clickers aren’t pouncing on the same thing. Like trying to buy front-row seats to U2.
Our booking was for a single night in cold, rainy January, but to us, we’d won the family lottery. Remarkably, the sky spared us of a downpour that day and night.
The beach was wet, little pools of rainwater dotted the patio furniture, and we needed our jackets, but it was perfect. It was winter, which meant that– unlike busy summer– we had the beach-front pretty much to ourselves, save the occasional morning jogger.
Crystal Cove needs no help selling itself, but here, in case you need/want them, are five reasons you should consider a stay:
- You stay right on the beach. And unless you’re lucky enough to own a beach-front property somewhere, this is one of the few places that’ll happen. * Magic *
- Originally built as a movie set, a number of the cove’s cottages have been restored to include modern conveniences, such as forced air and retro fridges that work.
- Focused family time. We brought board games, but– with the exception of snapping photos– said no to phones, iPads and TV.
- Our kids would’ve stayed up well past bedtime exploring all the barnacles, sea anemones and mussels they saw.
- The Beachcomber Café. I’ll whine for a sec that they need vegetarian options, but the ambience of this converted, cottage-turned-restaurant was much prettier than I anticipated, and dessert (get the beignets!) was a hit for all of us.