Step Into a Storybook at Victoria Beach

When was the last time you felt a sense of magic? I promise you, it still exists. You just have to know where to find it. Stepping out of reality and into a real life storybook is easier (and closer) than you think. Tucked away in the ever-enchanting Victoria Beach, lies nestled what many locals refer to as “Pirate Tower.”  As hopeful as I was envisioning a tower whose history was rich with swashbuckling tales, that’s not quite the story behind this Laguna landmark, though the actual history is quite interesting itself.

In 1926, LA State Senator and noted Christian Science lecturer, William E. Brown, built the tower as a means of getting himself and his family from their clifftop home to the beach below. The concrete tower stands 60-feet tall and is comprised of both concrete and stone. Inside winds a wooden spiral staircase, and windows of varying shapes and sizes to peer out from.

The home, and tower, then transferred ownership in the 1940’s to a retired Naval officer by the name of Harold Kendrick. According to the State of California’s Historic Resources Inventory, it’s written that Kendrick “was thought to be as eclectic and fascinating as the buildings themselves.” He would dress himself and the house in pirate theme and would hide coins in the crevices of the tower for the local children to find.

Since then, the home has switched ownership many times. Perhaps, the ghost of ol’ Naval Officer Kendrick still haunts it? Watching over the tower and his once hidden coins. Or perhaps it’s as simple as a place where homeowners seek only temporary residence. Either way, this location is now a historic landmark. The most recent owner of the property was Hollywood legend, Bette Midler, and her husband.

Interested in searching for lost treasure yourself? Make sure to get to “Pirate Tower” before high tide (usually around 5 PM).


Your Guide to Seeking Out “Pirate Tower”

Avast, ye matey! If adventure be what you seek, take heed:

  1. You’ll want to park along PCH. The cross-streets to look for are Nyes Place and Upland Rd. Parking is metered ($1.50/hr.) so don’t forget to bring along some coins!
  2. The stairway entrance to this secret spot lies at Sunset Terrace and Victoria Drive. Note: McAulay Place and Nyes Place (which intersects Victoria Drive) will also lead you to the stairway.
  3. The tower may not be visible right away, keep going, it’s hidden behind a group of rocks.
  4. Let your inner pirate out & have fun!

The beach and tower are not patrolled by lifeguards, so be sure to keep an eye on little ones, and watch the time to avoid being caught at high tide.

For more information on Victoria Beach, click here.

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