Crystal Cove Conservancy Dives into Summer with Extensive Program Offerings for All Ages

Crystal Cove Conservancy is kicking off the 2024 summer season with extensive programming for all ages that span from the beach to the trails. Visitors will be delighted to see a combination of new and returning programs at Crystal Cove State Park, as well as extended dates for one of The Conservancy’s most popular programs “The Great Plein Air Art Experience” which will now run through October.

“Summertime at Crystal Cove is magical – and our programs team has been working all year to create new opportunities for folks to explore the park and to reimagine old favorites,” said Crystal Cove Conservancy President & CEO Kate Wheeler. “Our team has been testing new ideas like science hikes and rethinking and expanding classics like the Historic District Walking Tours and movies on the beach to create a menu of programs to help parkgoers deepen their connection with the park and become part of protecting it.”

From hands-on explorations of history and nature to art classes and conservation stewardship, there is something for everyone to explore during the summer at Crystal Cove. The Conservancy’s summer programs will also take place during the third annual California State Parks Week happening June 12-16, 2024.

2024 Summer Programs

The Great Plein Air Art Experience
Every Monday & Wednesday, June 3 – October 30; except June 19, July 1, July 3 & Sept. 2
9:00AM – 2:00PM
Registration is required for these events.

Celebrate over 100 years of plein air art at Crystal Cove State Park and spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines! During these four-hour classes, you’ll take part in living history while learning the step-by-step process of creating your very own plein air painting from beginning to end. Each class will have a break for lunch, but lunch is not provided. Classes are for ages 16 and up.

Tuesdays in the Commons
Every Tuesday; June 4 through September 10
10:00AM – 1:00PM

Stop by the Education Commons in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District each week on Tuesday for new hands-on educational activities that will help participants learn about ongoing conservation work at the park, the critical habitats at Crystal Cove, and how it all connects with landscape scale efforts to protect and preserve the natural world.

Native Plants: The Key to Climate Resilience
Friday, June 14
9:00AM – 12:00PM
Registration is required for this event.
Part of California State Parks Week

Join a fun, family-friendly nature hike through Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Canyon as we learn about the coastal sage scrub plant community and how native plants are resilient in our changing climate. This three-mile trek, which includes a short incline, will wind through the canyon to visit a current habitat restoration project. Participants will meet restoration team members and participate in stewardship activities.

Celebrate Crystal Cove State Park’s Natural & Cultural History
Saturday, June 15
4:00 – 8:00PM
Registration is required for this event.
Part of California State Parks Week

Join Crystal Cove State Park and Crystal Cove Conservancy for an afternoon filled with fun and learning, as we celebrate the cultural history of the park. Participants will take part in a variety of activities exploring the Indigenous history of the area, learning about the Acjachemen and Tongva People who have been here from time immemorial and continue to call Crystal Cove and surrounding areas their home.

Historic Beach Cottages & Coastline Restoration Tour
Sunday, June 16
5:00 – 6:30PM
Registration is required for this event.
Part of California State Parks Week

Step back in time for a guided walking tour of the restored Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Crystal Cove State Park’s Historic District, as Crystal Cove Conservancy expert staff share stories of how each cottage was lovingly and painstakingly restored to preserve the architectural charms and details of the original structures. Participants will also learn about the extraordinary coastal engineering measures taken to ensure the cottages remain resilient to sea level rise.

Explore the Cove Science Hikes
Fourth Saturday of each month; June 22, July 27, August 24 & September 28
10:30 AM – 12:00PM
Registration is required for these events.

Take a hike with a Conservancy educator to explore Crystal Cove State Park’s geological and ecological systems. Explore the impacts and challenges of climate change including fire ecology, ecological restoration, coastal engineering, and marine conservation, as well as native versus non-native species and their impact on natural communities and ecosystem functions.

Historic District Walking Tours
Fourth Saturday of each month; June 22, July 27, August 24 & September 28
2:00 – 3:00PM

Historic District Walking Tours return to Crystal Cove State Park! During this 60-minute tour led by Conservancy educators and former cottage residents, participants will step back in time to explore the history of Crystal Cove and the Historic District’s rescue and restoration.

Movies on the Beach
Monthly from July – September; check for upcoming dates.

Grab your friends and family, blankets and beach chairs, and join us for movie night under the stars! Check The Conservancy’s website for details including dates and movie titles.

Cove Talks
Ongoing; check for upcoming dates.
Registration is required for these events.

The Conservancy’s “Cove Talks” aim to bring influential individuals working to change the world to Crystal Cove State Park, as they share a diverse collection of experiences and viewpoints. These talks are another step towards connecting the community to the natural world, while deepening their understanding of issues facing local parks, the coast and the planet.

Grunion Run
One night only; check for details
Registration is required for this event.

This one night only event will open your eyes to the world of the grunion. Join Conservancy and Park educators to learn about the grunion run phenomenon and the importance of coastal and ocean conservation, followed by a guided observation of the silvery fish as they emerge from the water to spawn.


For more information about summer programming at Crystal Cove and to register for upcoming programs, visit

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