Laguna Beach’s Pirate Tower: Unveil the Mystery of this Enchanting Coastal Landmark!


Located on the sandy beach of Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, California, there’s a special building known as the Pirate Tower. This 60-foot stone tower has fascinated both locals and tourists, turning into a beloved landmark and a top spot for anyone looking for adventure and a bit of fun. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about my visit to the Pirate Tower.

Quick Overview of Pirate Tower

FeaturesActivitiesAccess & ParkingHighlights
Located on Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach, California. A 60-foot stone tower known as the Pirate Tower.Exploration around the tower’s base, especially during low tide. Photography opportunities due to the tower’s unique architecture and historical backdrop.Parking can be a challenge; options include neighborhood spots or metered parking on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).Beloved landmark offering adventure and a glimpse into local history. Stands tall against the Pacific Ocean backdrop, a testament to historical architecture.
Originally served as a private staircase for Brown’s home, providing direct beach access. Walking towards the ocean and turning right to discover the tower hidden around the corner.Two access options: one with stairs closer to the tower and another stair-free entrance best for bikes, coolers, strollers etc.The tower’s quirky structure captivate visitors.
Enclosed by luxury homes and rocks, giving it a private beach feel. Changes seasonally, becoming rockier in winter.Not immediately visible upon beach arrival; tucked away on the right side of the beach.Best visited during low tide to ensure the tower and surrounding areas are accessible.Victoria Beach offers seclusion and a less crowded experience, with the tower providing a focal point for visitors.
Architectural wonder designed in Norman style, reminiscent of medieval European towers. Its stone build and pointed roof suggest antiquity.The tower and the surrounding beach area encourage visitors to engage in storytelling or imagine historical and pirate-themed adventures.Visitors are advised to bring cameras for the stunning photo opportunities against the ocean and tower backdrop. Almost 100 years old, the tower is an iconic feature of Victoria Beach.
Pirate Tower in Laguna Beach
Pirate Tower

A Glimpse into History

Pirate Tower in Victoria Beach

The Pirate Tower, also known as “La Tour,” was built in 1926 by William E. Brown, a state senator from Los Angeles. Contrary to popular belief, the tower was not built for pirates, but served as a private staircase for Brown’s home above, providing direct access to the beach below. Over the years, the tower has withstood the test of time and the elements, standing tall and proud against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

Pirate Tower

In the early 1940s, Senator William E. Brown’s residence and its unique tower found a new owner in Harold Kendrick, a retired naval captain. The tower’s quirky and slightly tilted structure captivated Kendrick. Known for his eclectic personality, Kendrick would often dress in pirate attire, inviting local children to participate in games and storytelling sessions filled with maritime adventures.

He integrated the tower into his tales, making it a central element in his treasure hunts and puzzles. Kendrick turned the tower into a hidden treasure trove, encouraging children to search its nooks and crannies for cleverly hidden coins.

100 years old Pirate Tower
Almost 100 years old Pirate Tower

Victoria Beach

Victoria Beach remains relatively uncrowded and retains a sense of seclusion. This is partly due to the effort required to access the beach, which is surrounded by luxury homes and enclosed by rocks, giving it the feel of a private beach. However, the appearance of the beach changes with the seasons; during the winter months, it transforms into a rocky beach as the sand is blown away.

The beach can be accessed via a staircase, adding to its secluded charm​. However, one of the most interesting features of Victoria Beach is the Pirate Tower.

My Experience Visiting the Pirate Tower

Visiting the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach has become one of my favorite experiences, I’ve gone there numerous times. Although finding parking can be a bit of a challenge, there are options available in the neighborhood or on Pacific Coast Highway where metered parking is available, which is what I usually opt for. The walk from PCH is fairly short, leading you through a neighborhood to the beach access stairs.

Round pool near Pirate Tower
Round pool near Pirate Tower

There are two entrances: one with stairs that takes you closer to the tower, and another, stair-free entrance that is perfect for biking down. Note that it’s steep so you may want to walk your bike down instead.

I prefer visiting during low tide, as it provides better access to the tower and allows for exploration around its base. High tide may get the tower inaccessible.

Pirate Tower door
Pirate’s Tower door

Upon reaching the beach, the tower is not immediately visible. However, walk on the sand towards the ocean and then turn right, the Pirate Tower is tucked away around the corner. You may need to climb over rocks, and you will pass a large ocean pool before finally reaching the tower.

Spiral stairs inside the Pirate Tower
Spiral stairs inside the Pirate Tower

The ocean pool is beaten up and is mostly filled with sand nowadays, and I have yet to see it completely filled with water. While access to the interior of the tower is restricted due to it being private property, and the door securely locked, you can still peek inside to catch a glimpse of the spiral staircase.

stairs in the Pirate tower
Stairs in the Pirate Tower

I’ve snapped a few pictures of the stairs inside the tower. Despite this, the tower remains a beautiful spot for photography, offering unique angles and a rich historical backdrop for capturing the essence of Victoria Beach.

Beautiful Victoria Beach
Beautiful Victoria Beach

Architectural Wonder

The tower is an architectural wonder, designed in a fascinating Norman style that reminds you of medieval European towers. Its old-looking stone build and pointed roof give it a feel of being ancient, as though it’s been there for hundreds of years. The spiral staircase inside, which isn’t open to visitors, adds to its appeal and mystery.

Victoria Beach
Victoria Beach
Victoria Beach
Victoria Beach

A Hidden Gem

Victoria Beach itself is a hidden gem, less crowded than other beaches in Laguna Beach, offering a serene and intimate setting for beachgoers.

Stairs down to Victoria Beach
Stairs down to Victoria Beach

The tower, known for its intriguing history and beautiful design, is the highlight of this seaside haven.

It’s hidden from the main part of the beach, offering a private place for visitors to enjoy the scenery, take amazing photos, and get lost in stories of pirates and secret treasures.

Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach

Tips for Visitors

To visit Pirate Tower, head to Victoria Beach and take the stairs down from Victoria Drive.

Streets to Pirate Tower
Streets to Pirate Tower with stairs

The best time to go is during low tide when the tower is more accessible.

Street to stairless entrance to Victoria Beach
Street to stairless entrance to Victoria Beach

There’s another stairless entrance to Victoria street.

stairless entrance to Victoria Beach
Stairless entrance to Victoria Beach

Don’t forget to bring your camera – the unique structure against the backdrop of the ocean makes for a perfect photo opportunity.

Houses on Victoria Beach
Houses on Victoria Beach

Rules of the Beach: Ensuring a Safe and Enjoyable Visit

To guarantee a pleasant and safe experience for all visitors to Victoria Beach, there are important rules and regulations that need to be followed:

Rules sign for Victoria beach
Rules sign for Victoria beach

Dog Policy

Dogs bring joy and excitement to beach outings, but at Victoria Beach, there are specific guidelines to ensure everyone’s comfort. From June 15th to September 10th, dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9 am and 6 pm. This rule helps to manage the beach’s busy periods, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all visitors. Additionally, for safety reasons and to maintain a controlled environment, dogs must be on a leash at all times, regardless of the time or date.

Ocean pool and Pirate Tower in Victoria Beach
Ocean pool and Pirate Tower in Victoria Beach

Drone Usage

Victoria Beach is designated as a no-drone zone. This policy ensures the privacy and tranquility of the beach, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty without the disturbance of drones flying overhead.

Here’s a video I took when visiting the Pirate Tower in Victoria Beach

Smoking and Substance Use

In keeping with a commitment to health and the environment, Victoria Beach is a smoke-free zone. Smoking is prohibited, helping to maintain the clean and pristine condition of the beach. Additionally, alcohol is not allowed, ensuring a family-friendly atmosphere.

Fishing and Fires

To preserve the beach’s natural ecosystem and maintain safety, fishing and open fires are not permitted. These rules help in protecting the local wildlife and prevent potential fire hazards, contributing to the overall well-being and preservation of Victoria Beach.

Victoria Beach sign with rules
Victoria Beach sign with rules

By adhering to these regulations, visitors play a vital role in preserving the beauty and integrity of Victoria Beach, ensuring it remains a welcoming and enchanting destination for all.

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Conclusion

Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach is nearly a century old, giving people like me a look back in time and a break from the usual. Whether you’re interested in history, love architecture, or just want a different beach trip, the Pirate Tower is a place you have to go to. It’s sure to catch your attention and give you inspiration.

me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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