Cottage #13 The Beaches Film and Media Center

Cottage #13 The Beaches Film and Media Center


The last building at the south end of Crystal Cove, Cottage #13 began as a 10-by-12-foot room built by six couples who first came to the Cove as campers in the late 1920s. Featuring a small porch, wooden floors and walls that were only 4 feet high, the structure was completed with screens that made up the top part of the walls along with a canvas roof.

In the 1930s, after a storm damaged the shack, the two remaining couples (the Parkers and the Lees) moved the cottage against the side of the bluff and repaired the porch, in addition to building a kitchen in back and a bedroom on each side. Years later, in 1940, an indoor bathroom and an upstairs room with a small porch were also added. One of the very few cottages to remain with the same family continuously, Phyllis Parker Loewe and her daughter were the last tenants.

The cottage also played a starring role in the 1988 Bette Midler film, “Beaches,” which showcased a dramatic view of Crystal Cove from the front porch. So iconic was this moment in the cottage’s history, future generations of Covites and beachgoers would adopt the film’s name as a moniker for the structure.

Today, the cottage pays homage to Crystal Cove’s cinematic roots. During Phase II restoration efforts that took place in the Historic District, part of CCA’s overall commitment to preserve the integrity of the Park, Cottage #13 was carefully transformed into a media center showcasing Crystal Cove’s rich film history. The cottage reopened as the Beaches Film & Media Center this spring and gives visitors a peek at a set recreation from “To Have and Have Not,” as well as a look back at other films shot on the beach.
For more information on the cottages and overnight rentals, visit

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