It was pretty warm inland so we were looking forward to camping at Crystal Cove State Park to cool down. This is one of our favorite beach area campgrounds because 1) all campsites have a view of the ocean 2) it is about 1 1/2 hours from home. Nice to be back and hear sounds of the crashing waves! We stayed for 3 nights, which gave us two full days to do things around the area.
The first morning we went outside, we had evidence (birdie footprints) of an early morning visitor checking out our chairs.
The first day, we hiked on some of the backcountry trails (Moro Road to Poles Road to No Dogs Road) in the hills behind the beach campground. Along the way, we saw some wild squash (buffalo goard) growing in some spots. It was a nice and even trail until we got to the Poles Road which was then a steep ascent. Once we got to the top, there were well earned beautiful panoramic views!
We then got in the truck to grab some lunch in the Crystal Cove historic village. Tried to eat at The Beachcomber but the wait was too long, 20 min-45 min. We then decided to walk up the stairs to Ruby’s Diner. That was a good choice since we got an outdoors counter-seat facing the ocean. It was very relaxing to watch the ocean and beach activities while we ate our lunch, with some delicious malts. Jim had a date malt and I had a vanilla one. Though it was later, around 2pm, the place was busy. There were a number of customers from different countries enjoying the classic America food at an OC beach.
We then drove to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve http://newportbay.org. The visitor’s center had just closed so we took a long walk on the paved trail, which went part way around the marsh. We saw a number of egrets in the marsh and several osprey flying around.
The following day we took the bikes to the Crystal Cove state park beach’s bike trail, which is about a 4 mile ride round trip. This trail was very scenic since parts of the trail were away from the highway with quite a bit of chapperal land in between the highway and the bike trail. There are several vista points which we stopped to look out. We saw a roadrunner dashing across the bike path.
Once we got back to the trailer from the bike ride, we then walked down to the beach. There is a part of the walk that goes through a tunnel under the highway. It was relaxing to walk by the crashing waves and watch the seagulls and sandpipers look for food. On our way back to the campsite, we stopped by to admire the tile artwork in the day use parking lot. All in all it was a nice, relaxing trip, yet we did get a fair amount of exercise between hiking, biking and walking. Plus it was a treat to watch the sunset over the ocean every evening!