Crystal Cove State Park is a state park of California, United States, encompassing 3.2 miles (5.1 km) of Pacific coastline, inland chaparral canyons, and the Crystal Cove Historic District of beach houses. The park is located in Newport Beach. Crystal Cove is a stretch of coastal cliffs and a beachfront cove situated between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean just north of Laguna Beach. The 3,936-acre (1,593 ha) park was established in 1979. The entire park hosts a total of 3 miles of beaches and tide pools, a 1,400 acre marine Conservation Area as well as underwater park, 400 acres of bluffs, and 2,400 acres of canyons.
Up until the arrival of the Spanish Missionaries, the region was a series of native villages built around two different natural springs. The natives were then drafted to Mission San Gabriel and Mission San Juan Capistrano, which was later known as "Rancho San Joaquin", until it went into debt and was sold in 1864 to James Irvine, a financier from San Francisco, along with three other ranchers, however in 1876, when their sheep stock began to fail from drought, poor wool, and the increasingly competitive marketplace, James Irvine bought out his partners prior to his death. His son, James Irvine II, then inherited the ranch and began to expand the production of the land by leasing it to agriculturally diverse farmers, and formed "The Irvine Company" in 1894. Being a favorite spot to James Irvine II, he allowed his friends and family as well as employees to build cottages on the area that we now refer to as Crystal Cove. As cottages began to undergo renovations and become more permanent residences, the owners were offered a choice by the Irvine Company to either move the cottages elsewhere or to hand over ownership and allow them to be leased by the company. These cottages were developed by the Irvine Company and the location was called the Crystal Cove Community. In 1927, the Irvine Co. leased a portion of the area to a businessman who sold propane to coastal farmers and became a camping site named "Tyrone's Camp". Trailers replaced tent camping in the 1940s and in 1954, it was renamed El Morro. About 290 mobile home trailers on the beachfront and inland area were primary homes for some families up to four generations. In 2006, after 26 years of litigation, the California Coastal Commission, who purchased the property in 1979, evicted the tenants and demolished the El Morro Village mobile home park converting the private community into a day-use and overnight campground. The area was renovated to also include a visitors center for tourist information, dining areas along the beachfront, cultural center, museums and the Park and Marine Research Facility. The Crystal Cove Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places site, inside the park contains 46 beach cottages from the 1920s and 1930s, of which 29 have been restored. 21 of these cottages are available for rent. The house from the Bette Midler movie Beaches is located in Crystal Cove.
Crystal Cove has long been a source of inspiration for plein air painters, a type of landscape painting that originated in France. Early plein air painters documented Orange County's coastline, and Crystal Cove, in particular, with their paintings. In homage to the movement, one of the cottages at Crystal Cove is called "Painter's Cottage."