Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek Beach has emerged as one of the top hotspots for beach lovers wanting to spend a beautiful day with the sun and sand in Dana Point, California. It has been particularly popular among surfers ever since its breakwaters and the harbor changed the meaning of surfing here. Surfing tends to be an obvious highlight at Salt Creek Beach, but the area is also home to the largest kelp forest of California and a number of tide pools. Salt Creek presents velvety sands and is located right below the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Beach Resort. The beach park also presents a wide range of recreational facilities including picnic tables, walking paths, snack shops and barbecue grills.


Salt Creek Beach is a top spot for surfing, particularly if you’re any good at it. You definitely need to be an experienced surfer to surf here. The area tends to get crowded in the area under the Ritz Carlton in the summer, but that never presents a problem for pro surfers who are out in the water very early in the morning. Body surfing takes place a little farther north up the beach, and that is a blast for all ages. It is also considered to be a beautiful spot to enjoy romantic sunsets and invigorating walks.

Beach Activities

An offshore reef creates some of the best swells, making surfers fall in love with the breaks. Other activities include body surfing, swimming, tide pool exploration and sunbathing. A paved path located on the west side of the parking lot also leads to the Bluff Park, the ideal spot for picnics and barbecues. A path connects Salt Creek Beach to a multi-use trail which leads to scenic corridors, a picturesque golf course and links the two beautiful Five Star Resorts together – the Ritz Carlton and The St. Regis Monarch Beach. This is considered one of the most beautiful beach paths in the world. Convenience facilities include outdoor showers, restrooms, seasonal restaurants and beach supplies such as umbrellas, beach chairs and boogie boards.

How to Get There

To get to Salt Creek Beach, you need to turn off the Pacific Coast Highway onto Ritz-Carlton Drive. Park your vehicle in the public parking lot across from the hotel entrance and walk down the pedestrian trail and underpass that leads to the beach and the bluff park. There are two parking lots, the lower parking lot and the lot at Ritz-Carlton Drive and both lots charge $1 per hour. To avoid the long walk to the beach, you can choose a shuttle ride for $1.