Shaw's Cove is a small beach in Laguna Beach, California that is a popular diving and ocean swimming site in Orange County. It is well-protected from large swells, making it highly suitable for the beginning beach divers. Many scuba classes are held here every weekend and the Oak Streeters ocean swimming pod swims here frequently.
Access is off of Fairview Street and Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach. There is a stairway off Cliff Drive leading down to the Cove. The access is a short 58-step, 6-landing staircase leading down to a sandy stretch of beach 35 feet below. From the foot of the stairs, the reef is approximately 75 feet to the west. Stairway access is between private homes.
The reef consists of a jumble of very large boulders, separated from each other by a maze of trenches. During low tide, visitors can wade out quite a bit due to the flat bottom. Most divers check out the western side as there is a crevice that leads to Crescent Bay. The crevice is in 15-20 feet of water depending on the tide. There can be a strong surge and there is an arch, creating an overhead environment. There are plenty of smaller channels into the reef as you go deeper.
If you dive around the reef on the eastern side of the cove, you can exit the water at Fisherman’s Cove.