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Southern California / USA

The Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach

The pirate tower in Laguna Beach is a dream come true. A real-life piece of fantasy has been sitting in Orange County and I had no idea until this past weekend. The name does not disappoint; the old pirate tower juts out of the rocks of Victoria Beach and stands tall as it takes endless hits from the crashing waves. Decorated with uneven windows, it looks like it could be a set piece in a fairytale.

Is it a Real Pirate Tower?

Sadly, it was not built by pirates. It was built in 1926 as a private staircase down to Victoria Beach by LA senator William E. Brown. Eventually the land was sold to retired naval captain Harold Kendrick, a man with an affinity towards pirate life. Kendrick was known to dress in pirate gear and entertain local children with scavenger hunts and tails of the sea. He would even hide coins around the base of the tower, making dreams of finding hidden treasure a reality.

Visitors are not allowed in to the tower today, but we can admire the outside of it and the surrounding beach. It also doesn’t hurt to have a look around the base- you never know if there may still be some gold coins lying around. 

Pirate Tower Sunset Photo Spot in Victoria Beach Laguna Beach California
Running Out to See the Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach

When to Visit the Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach

Victoria Beach in Laguna is going to give you those notorious OC beach vibes any time of day, but I recommend going at sunset. The light becomes magical and the beach crowds dissipate. Check the local weather reports for info on the tide though, and make sure it is not predicted to be too high. The waves crash right at the rocks at the base of the tower, and you don’t want to get caught or swept out by those. 

Catching the Sunset at the Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach
Catching the Sunset at the Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach

How to Get There

The pirate tower is located in Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, California. You will have to park on Pacific Coast Highway as there are no good parking lots nearby. It’s a popular area during the day, so be prepared and give yourself time to make some laps and u-turns during your search for parking. Once parked, you will you need to walk down Victoria Drive to the staircase that leads down to the beach. The address for the staircase is 2705-2711 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

Once you’ve descended the staircase, you’ll be right on the sand of Victoria Beach. Turn right, walk a bit, and you will reach a tide pool that fills up during higher tides. Keep going past that, and you will see the pirate tower in all its glory.

Tide pool at sunset
Tide Pool by the Pirate Tower

Tips

  • Bring a change of clothes if you’re planning to walk up to the base of the tower. Chances are you’re going to have to wade through some waves to get there.
  • Bring a beach towel. Even if you’re just visiting for photos of the tower, you will need it to dry off. Also, you may be seduced by Victoria Beach and want to stay a while.
  • Watch your step getting to the base of the tower. There are rocks buried under the sand at the shore.
Pirate Tower Sunset Photo Spot in Victoria Beach Laguna Beach California
Running Away from Waves at the Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach

Check out the Rest of Laguna Beach

Laguna is such a beautiful beach city. There are so many restaurants with great views and endless shops to browse. Check out Visit Laguna Beach for more details.

Seagull at sunset
Seagull at Sunset in Laguna Beach

Save to Pinterest: The Pirate Tower of Laguna Beach

Photo Spot: The Pirate Tower of Laguna Beach
The Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach, California

Want More SoCal Photo Spot Inspiration?

  • Checkout my article on the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, California. You will thank me for introducing you to this endless photography playground.