a Los Angeles Times bestseller — now in its fourth printing


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Crystal Cove Cottages:
Islands in Time on the California Coast
Written by Karen E. Steen
Historic and visual collections by Laura Davick and Meriam Braselle
Chronicle Books


Tucked between the housing developments and golf courses of the Orange County coast lies a small settlement of rustic beach cottages seemingly frozen in time.
Crystal Cove Cottages is the first history of this uniquely preserved spot, which has lured artists and vacationers since the 1920s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “the last intact example of California beach vernacular architecture,” Crystal Cove is now a California state park.

The history of the cove parallels the story of California: it has been a set location for silent filmmakers, a Prohibition rum-runners’ hideout, luau-party headquarters for 1950s tent campers, and home base of a vibrant landscape-painting community. Today the cottages—as part of Crystal Cove State Park—have been restored to their appearance in the 1940s-1960s era and are open to the public for overnight rental.
Crystal Cove Cottages celebrates both the romantic history of this secret seaside enclave and its reinvention as a public treasure for future generations.

Read an excerpt of
Crystal Cove Cottages.

Buy the book from the Crystal Cove Alliance. When you purchase directly from the CCA, 50 percent of the book’s cover price goes toward restoration of the cottages and educational programs at Crystal Cove State Park.

To learn more about the cottages, visit the
Crystal Cove Alliance and the California State Parks Department.