Treasure Island Park, Laguna Beach

Treasue Island Park Sunset

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.

GPS position

How to photograph Treasure Island Park

Montage Cove

Montage Cove

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.

PCH & beach

PCH & beach

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.

Time required

You should plan at least one hour, preferably two.

Equipment

  • Wide-angle lens
  • Zoom lens
  • Tripod
  • CP filter
  • Water
  • Shade (hat)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Quarters for the parking machines
  • Picnic cooler

Fees

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.

Close Locations

Useful Resources


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5 Comments

  1. Posted 2011/04/06 at 02:44 | Permalink

    A golden fantasy in the first photo. Superb, all of them.

  2. Posted 2011/04/16 at 06:54 | Permalink

    Treasure Island Park is truly a gem of a beach. I like to go there in summer during the last hour of daylight…it’s magical to watch the light change and the crowds have mostly gone…

  3. tomn de paolo
    Posted 2011/05/02 at 16:40 | Permalink

    Good morning…I’m doing an article on Treasure Island and I wonder if you can help me with some info I do not have?

  4. Jenn
    Posted 2014/04/08 at 20:41 | Permalink

    So glad I found your SoCal photo blog. So much great info for so many great spots! Thanks.

  5. Posted 2014/06/17 at 14:56 | Permalink

    I really like reading a posdt that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


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