Overview of Robert Badham

Robert Badham

California Mid
USA West


On a good day, you'll find this site worth the effort. Reefs, rocks, sand and kelp line this beach. All levels of divers will find something of interest.

Directions: Drive 2.9 miles South of the Newport Bridge, and turn right on Poppy Ave. Head straight to the water where you'll see the intersection below.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

12/04/2011 Jesse Rorabaugh (Avg: 3.87 Review) - I went to this site for a night dive in late November. We were snorkeling for lobsters on a day when visibility at Shaw's cove was reported to be 15-20 feet. At night in November parking is not an issue. You can park on the street and walk down a short, rather steep path. From what I could see it was possible to walk down the beach quite a ways towards Crystal cove and access some more remote locations, but never having been to the site we just entered at the tiny beach at the bottom of the trail. Showers are next to the restrooms which is a nice bonus. On the plus side I actually did see some lobsters ranging in depth from perhaps 5 to 15 feet. During that two hours I probably saw a dozen lobster although most were short. I also saw a moray eel and some sting rays. On the minus side, the kelp and eel grass were particularly difficult to navigate quickly. So the lobsters had good hiding places and were hard to find. A persistent person could probably pull a couple out but it will be a challenge. Perhaps if you swim farther from the easy shore entry numbers increase. Visibility was poor. We probably had ten feet of visibility which was half what was reported at Shaw's cove. Surf wasn't bad, but this was a fairly exposed site so I expect it can be bad.

03/14/2011 Doug from Cucamonga (Avg: 3.76 Review) - Pretty cool site. Like others have said, very nice shore scenery, and there are drinking fountains, bathrooms and showers. Access is relatively easy, although I would recommend carting your gear down to shore and suiting up there as it is a long walk (and fairly steep) from the parking area to the beach. I headed to the left (east). Conditions were surgy with poor vis near entry, but once I got a decent way out into the kelp bed, vis was in the 10-15ft range. There are lots of big rocks covered in growth and an excellent amount of sea life. I saw a HUGE crab, plus many urchins, garibaldi, calico bass, sheephead, starfish etc. (i.e. your typical socal fish). It appeared there would be a lot to see heading out west as well, and there was a kelp bed a couple hundred yards out SW that I would like to investigate also. Overall a nice site that I will check out again to see what else it has to offer.

09/24/2009 Jay (Avg: 4.08 Review) - So I came here because Laguna was fogged in. I hit the water around 2:30 - 3:00. I got to the edge of water and crash!! Shore breakers were non-stop. I would not recommend this dive if swells are out of the SOUTH / SOUTHWEST. 5 ft visibility forced me to move inside the BIG CORONA beach inside the Harbor.

09/10/2009 Jay (Avg: 4.58 Review) - This was my 4th official snorkel/free dive. Parking was easy - the walk down the paved road was easy. The beach was clean and the view - WOW !!! that alone was worth the effort. Water temp was 71 degrees - Outside temp was 73 - winds calm - some swell and breakers around 3-5 pm. Visibility wasn't stellar but did average 15ft. Saw two tiger sharks and lots of fish. Enter as far North as possible - sandy bottom - farther south = lots of rocks. Straight out about 100 yards you will find a canyon/drop off - lots of orange fish - Highly recommend this spot - will definitely go back while the water is warm…

12/06/2003 Edward J. Palumbo (Avg: 4.03 Review) - This site, known locally as "Little Corona" (to distinguish it from nearby Corona del Mar State Park or "Big Corona") offers very good to excellent dive opportunities and postcard vistas. Drive south from Newport Beach or north from Laguna on Pacific Coast Highway to the pleasant community of Corona del Mar and turn west on Poppy Avenue. In a few blocks, Poppy turns sharply to the right at Ocean Blvd, and this bend or turn marks the overview of the site. Early arrival, before 8AM, will favor parking since this is an upscale residential area surrounding a site that is popular with local sunbathers, swimmers and photographers for much of the year. Cormorants and other birds have claimed easily distinguishable Arch Rock as their own. Divers must carry their gear down a paved, steeply inclined path to the beach below. On-site showers and restroom facilities are available. The overview from the point where the path begins will provide the diver with a view of the best entry lane between submerged, urchin-covered rocks, directly in front of the lifeguard tower. The tide pools are a wonder to explore for youngsters and adults, and sea stars, anemones and hermit crabs are abundant, easy to examine. Diver entry is direct and relative easy in this partially protected cove, though footing on the rocks requires care. Once past entry, the bottom is sandy with rocks or reefs to the left and right of your entry point. Check the view to shore and take a compass reading when you've entered to get a visual reference and reciprocal compass heading for your return to the beach. Once beyond the shallow area near shore, the depth increases and divers may see garibaldi, senorita wrasse, opaleye, rockfish and grunion. Visibility varies with surf conditions but I expect 20-40 feet. The marine environment is gratifyingly healthy for so well-populated an area. Obey signs that declare this a marine life refuge, which limits extraction to certain species in season. Take care to avoid the urchins on the rocks during surge. There are dive shops within a 10-15 minute drive from the site in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Laguna Beach; however, if you relinquish your prized parking space, it will instantly be filled by other visitors. In your preplanning, check the yellow pages and refer to an Orange County Thomas Guide for the shop of your choice. The closest emergency room is Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach. There are eateries in the area to suit every taste, from KFC and McDonald's to the 5-star Five Crowns Restaurant and other fine restaurants in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach. For those who do not dive, nearby Fashion Island is a powerful draw, and there are interesting shops and galleries along Pacific Coast Highway north or south of this site. I regard Little Corona as one of the better kept divers'secrets in Orange County.

05/23/2003 Fel Echandi (Avg: 3.51 Review) - This site is good if you have a lot of swell in other areas. You have a small down-hill to get to the beach. There are a lot a small creatures on the rocks, but not much for fish. This is one of the best places to catch lobster. At about 5 feet deep, they caught a big 14 pounder here!


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CM1901


Parking at Robert Badham 

Parking is at a premium here. Find the trail head on the left, drop off your gear, then drive around until you find a space.




Overview at Robert Badham 

A view to the right.




Overview at Robert Badham 

And a view to the left where you will enter. It's an easy walk down a ramp to the beach. You can tell the reef and rock area are an easy swim.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Robert Badham  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.50
Bottom Conditions:  4.17
Reef Conditions:  3.83
Animal Life:  4.00
Plant Life:  3.67
Facilities:  4.17
Solitude 2.83
Roads:  4.67
*Site Average:  3.97

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.33
Beginner Scuba:  3.83
Intermediate Scuba:  3.83
Advanced Scuba:  3.50
Night diving Scuba:  3.67

Number of reviews for this site: 6


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