Before State Parks took over this beach in 1961 and cleaned it up, it was referred to as Tin Can Beach because of all the debris strewn around. Bolsa Chica State Beach offers three miles of wide sandy beach sandwiched between Seal Beach
to the north and Huntington Beach to the south. A 3-mile-long asphalt multiuse path connects with the Santa Ana River Trail to the southeast and to Huntington Beach
. The calm waters, caused by a shallow bottom shelf, attract families and beginning surfers; the beach is also popular with surf fishers. If you come at low tide you will likely see many shorebirds feeding in the intertidal zone, especially in spring and autumn.
Amenities include seasonal snack bars, fire pits in the sand (including some on pavement), a basketball court, picnic tables, two concrete paths that extend onto the beach, and an RV campground with several sites that are designated accessible. Across the Pacific Coast Highway is Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
, a great place to bird watch. To safely walk to it from the beach, cross at Warner Avenue, where there is a light.
: The sparse visitor center housed in the park headquarters has a few interpretive panels about critters found in the surf and the history and plants of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
, across Pacific Coast Highway from the park’s entrance (the reserve has its own small interpretive center). It's worth a stop here to see the skull of a gray whale found on shore in 1983 and to look through the lowered viewing telescopes; one is aimed at the reserve and one faces the beach.
Available at the visitor center 9 am-4 pm; after hours, inquire at entry kiosk. (714) 377-5691.
All lots along the park's roadway have accessible spaces. Accessible RV campsite parking is in the south lot. An hourly lot is planned at the Warner Street entrance.
At the visitor center and scattered throughout
Scattered throughout, at various parking areas and by concession stands.