The public entrance to Thousand Steps Beach is located directly across the street from 9th Street and South Coast Highway (Pacific Coast Highway – PCH) just 2 blocks South of the South Coast Medical Center. There is a sign and approximately 230 steep steps leading to the beach. It is a trek going down and coming back up, yet it is worth the haul. Interestingly when I was here to take these photos, there was a couple that was going up and down the steps using them for exercise.
Parking is very scarce! If you park on the east (inland) side of Coast Highway, PLEASE walk to the light at the Hospital to cross Coast Highway, it can be very dangerous (and illegal) to cross anywhere else. The speed limit here is 45 mph and some drive faster.
As you descend the stairs you will get glimpses of the ocean and the beach. (Take your time, the stairs are very steep.) The stairs are covered with trees and vines in a thick canopy. At the bottom, the view opens to the beach and ocean straight ahead. To the right there is a few small beach houses and a shear cliff to the houses above. To the left is a long stretch of beach with another shear cliff. These two cliffs capture the cove that makes Thousand Steps Beach. The beach stretches about 7 blocks.
This beach that is famous for its long staircase is great for surfing, body surfing, volleyball and some good ole sunbathing. When the surf is up, you will get to see some spectacular waves crashing against the rock outcroppings as evidence in some of these photos. Enjoy!