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Coastal Public Access

The Coastal Commission has released a beach access map for Capistrano Beach that shows beach goers what part of the beach has guaranteed public access — which means anyone is allowed to enjoy this section of the beach. The numbers along the beach correspond to the addresses of the homes across from the water.

Regarded as one of the most beautiful coastlines in America, the majestic 1,100-mile California coast is as diverse as those who call California home.

Perhaps it is because of its beauty that California has adopted strict public access protections which permit the public to visit nearly every coastal area.

If coastal access problems arise, you should first contact the city in which the access point is located to report any issues. If the city does not have an approved Local Coastal Program (LCP) or if you are unhappy with their response, then contact the California Coastal Commission’s Public Access Program Manager to report your concern.

The State of California and Coastkeeper believe a major part of protecting and preserving our coast is making sure people can enjoy it! That’s why it’s a priority of Coastkeeper’s to ensure that the public understands their right to public access and actually utilize access to local coastal areas.

Open to the Public: Coastal Access Sites Managed by Coastkeeper

Coastkeeper partnered with the California Coastal Conservancy and Coastal Commission to renovate and manage two coastal access sites for public enjoyment. The Huntington Harbor Bay Club and the Portofino Boardwalk are two public access areas currently open to the public which would have been lost to the people of California without our action. Please visit these beautiful places today and enjoy the view!

Portofino Boardwalk

In 2007, the California Coastal Conservancy contracted Coastkeeper to manage the Portofino Public Access Boardwalk in Huntington Harbor. Public access to the boardwalk had been closed for years due to management issues. As part of the contract, Coastkeeper has upgraded the boardwalk with new public access signs, park benches, trash cans and an automatic lock system to keep the area open to the public during the day.

Come take a stroll along the renovated Portofino Boardwalk and enjoy the view. Public parking is available at Seabridge Park, located on Countess Avenue near the end of Edinger Avenue.

Huntington Harbour Bay Club

In 2009, the California Coastal Conservancy contacted Coastkeeper about a public access easement at the Huntington Harbour Bay Club. Without anyone to manage the area, it would have been lost to private development in December of 2009. Coastkeeper officially took over this public access easement in November of 2009 and will work to renovate the site and improve local water quality.

Prior to the expansion of the marina, decades ago, the beach at the Huntington Harbour Bay Club was commonly and historically used as a “baby beach” and included activities such as sunbathing and sabot (small sailboat) launching. Over the following decades, the beach area degraded due to marina-related activities and at this point, its most attractive feature is that it provides a launching point into the marina.

This small pocket beach is located with the protected Huntington Harbour waterways and provides a safe alternative for novice recreational water users from the open waters nearby at Huntington State Beach. Therefore, we are opening this area for hand launching of sabots, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, windsurfers, etc., free of charge.

Beach users will park in one of the 10 designated parking spots free of charge every day of the week, including holidays. Beach parking is valuable in this area and free public parking is a rarity in coastal Orange County.

Coastkeeper continues to protect public access to our beaches. A few years after acquiring the Huntington Harbour Bay Club easement, with some speed bumps along the way, this beach is finally open for public use.

Additional Information

To report a problem to the Coastal Commission contact: Linda Locklin, Coastal Access Program, California Coastal Commission, 725 Front Street, Suite 300, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; (831) 427-4875;