How to get to Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach, California
Find this castle-like tower in Southern California.
I’m officially an LA local and my first #LAHometownEdition post is dedicated to the mysterious tower at Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, CA.
Laguna Beach, well known for the popular MTV reality show with the same name, is about an hour and a half drive south from Los Angeles. My fiancé, Daniel, and I took a drive to the beach for our engagement pictures. When we first started discussing location options for this shoot, I recommended Victoria Beach because it was the perfect excuse to finally visit the gorgeous “Pirate Tower.”
In this post, I’ll share why I think you should visit Victoria Beach, how to find Pirate Tower and some gorgeous shots taken by the talented @apartment3photography team.
Three Reasons to Visit Victoria Beach
One: It’s home to the mysterious Pirate Tower.
Before I share this tower’s history, take a minute to use your imagination and create your own story as to why this gorgeous tower is jutting out of the rocky cliff on a secluded beach in Southern California.
So, what’s the real story? While the name Pirate Tower may lead you to believe this was a secret tower used to protect the coast from pirates, the origin of the tower has nothing to do with pirates. It was built along with the house on top of the cliff in the 1920s for William E. Brown, a Los Angeles senator. The home and tower is built in “Norman-style,” which is a popular architectural style from France. The purpose of the tower was purely to provide beach access to the family from the house on top of the cliff.
How did the tower get a name associated with pirates? After a bit more research, I learned that the pirate name stems from the second man who owned the home. Harold Kendrick, a retired captain in the navy, bought the home about twenty years after it was built. Apparently Kendrick had a keen interest in pirates and would dress as a pirate to entertain neighborhood children.
Regardless of why the tower is there, you can’t help but admit it looks like something out of a fairytale.
Two: There is a beautiful circular stone tide pool on the beach.
The circular stone pool at Victoria Beach may not be as unique as Pirate Tower, but at high tide, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the ocean without getting crushed by waves. If you have a drone, you can capture the most beautiful shots of this pool. I unfortunately don’t have one myself, but check out these views on google images.
Three: Victoria Beach is less touristy than other Southern California beaches.
In comparison to the crowds of tourists at many Southern California beaches, Victoria Beach is still a hidden gem. My guess as to why it’s still not crowded is that it isn’t very easy to find. In the section below, I explain how to get there.
Victoria Beach is located in the city of Laguna Beach which is about 60 miles south of Los Angeles and 80 miles north of San Diego. From either location, you can expect a drive of about an hour and a half. If Laguna is your main destination, the closest airport is John Wayne Airport.
Once you’re in Laguna, you’ll need a car to get you to the beach. Assuming you drive yourself and don’t take an Uber, I recommend parking on the Pacific Coast Highway close to the intersection of McAulay Place. If you’re able to park close by McAulay, it should only take you about two minutes to find the staircase that leads down to the beach and tower.
Once you park, take McAulay down until you hit Victoria Drive and make a right. Before you hit the next street, Sunset Terrace, there will be a public staircase that will get you to the beach. The address to the staircase is 2705-2711 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Once you’re at the bottom, you’ll need to walk to the right around a rocky cliff to access the tide pool and tower. Unfortunately, you are not able to enter the tower, but you can walk right up to admire it.