Treasure Island Beach ranks among the most iconic of Southern California’s world famous beaches. Located in Laguna Beach, it competes with other classy white sand beaches and is much less crowded than you would expect, considering its turquoise blue water, clean, sand and easy access. This makes it a prime target for beach photography and a favorite for wedding and portrait photographers.
Treasure Island Park, which sits on the cliffs above the beach, is a beautifully landscaped park with benches and overlooks, courtesy of the Montage, a five star resort. The public access park has spectacular views and easy access to the beach below. This would be a perfect location to spend the day and relax, but the sun will wear you out eventually.
Stay active instead and explore the tidepools, the beach, and the cliffs. Treasure Island Park and Treasure Island Beach are exciting to photograph. I am sure your fellow travelers will not mind the stop either.
How to get there
The park is located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Turn west on Wesley Drive into the underground garage. The garage is small and if you cannot find a spot, you can also park on PCH northbound, across PCH or south on PCH at the larger Aliso Beach parking lot.
How to photograph Treasure Island Park
The old saying, f/8 and be there, is probably the only advise you need here. It means you cannot go wrong. Just show up, use a generic setting on your camera (f/8), and you will be successful. Use a polarizing filter to enhance the blue water and the green cliffs and keep moving. Explore the beach below and the tidepools. It is worth the effort.
There is a large hole or arch in the rocks below. Use it to frame a beach scene or incorporate it in a wide-angle shot. Find a couple on a bench, overlooking the cove below, for a romantic shot or children playing in the sand below. There are many ways you can maximize your photography experience here, even if you do not wish to incorporate strangers in your photos.
Pay attention when you climb on the cliffs, they can be slippery. Stash your camera away to keep your hands free and pull it from your bag when you arrive at your destination.
Best Time of the Day and Best Season
Orange County is busy. I prefer to come here during the off-season. The best time is during winter, when the sunsets are more dramatic and early spring, when the vegetation comes to live.
Mornings are far less crowded than afternoons and sunset time. Morning is best for daylight shots.
You should plan at least one hour, preferably two.
- Wide-angle lens
- Zoom lens
- CP filter
- Shade (hat)
- Sun cream
- Quarters for the parking machines
- Picnic cooler
Parking in the garage, on PCH, and Aliso Beach is $0.25/10min. There is a large grocery store (Albertsons) across PCH, but I advise against parking there, since the parking lot is only for shoppers.
- Victoria Beach
- Newport Beach
- Crystal Cove State Park
- Huntington Beach
- Crystal Cathedral
- Dana Point
- San Juan Capistrano
- Belmont Shore
- Queen Mary
- Shoreline Village, Long Beach
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