Crystal Cove State Park and Marine Research Facility

Located in Historic District

Research facility/historic cottage
Historic Cottage Design


Wet bench facility
Aquarium/Wet Bench Facility

Back Deck

Front Deck

Weather station
Weather Station
UCI has entered a research partnership with our Orange County neighbors, Crystal Cove State Park and the Crystal Cove Alliance. This association provides the opportunity for UCI faculty and students to undertake small scale and low impact scientific research in the Park by utilizing the Park and Marine Research Facility for approved projects.

Crystal Cove State Park is one of the most popular parks in the California State Park System and is located in the Newport Coast area less than 10 miles from the UCI campus. The park has over 3 miles of sandy beaches and rocky tide pools, an 1,100 acre underwater park and marine Conservation Area, 400 acres of coastal bluffs, 2,400 acres of hillside canyons, and some of the most spectacular land and scenery in Southern California. The park is designated as both a National Natural Landmark and a California Natural Landmark. The park also contains the Crystal Cove Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places site, with forty six seaside beach cottages that are being preserved and renovated for approved uses including public lodging rentals, educational visitor centers, beachfront dining, and park operational support. Cottages supporting education include a visitor center, cultural center, exhibit facility, outdoor commons area, house museum, and the Park and Marine Research Facility.

The Park and Marine Research Facility is a modified cottage within the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District and is available for use by researchers conducting approved projects within the Park. The Park and Marine Research Facility has been restored and renovated for modern scientific research, while simultaneously preserving the structure, design and look of the historic cottage. It has ample electric power and high-speed internet connectivity. It has four rooms, including one for dry bench research, an aquarium and wet bench facility, a library/study room, and a room for data analysis and interpretation. It also contains a kitchen, two bathrooms, and lockable storage facilities. Seawater is piped into the aquarium room. On its back deck, there is a fresh water shower and stationary sink. Its front deck is equipped with a weather station. The facility is handicapped accessible. The Park and Marine Research Facility is available for day use only and there are no overnight sleeping facilities. Vehicular access is restricted and parking is located across PCH in the Los Trancos parking area. A maximum of 20 individuals may occupy the cottage at any one time because of fire regulations.

The Park and Marine Research Facility supports scientific study that furthers understanding of Crystal Cove’s natural, cultural, and historical resources. The Park and Marine Research Facility is a contributing component of the Park’s Interpretive Plan and encourages new knowledge supporting the Park’s educational plan and improving the visitor experience. Eligible uses include a support station for data collection and analysis of Crystal Cove’s terrestrial or marine resources, meetings that focus on conservation issues within the park, meetings that link research to the Park’s educational programs, and advanced courses that integrate gathering of data on Crystal Cove’s natural, cultural, and historical resources into their curriculum. Scientists agree to contribute published papers, manuscripts, and conference presentations to the cumulative body of Crystal Cove research and education programs and participate in public outreach programs regarding their research.

UCI faculty and students are encouraged to apply to use the research facility as part of their scientific studies within the Park. The Office of Research has established the UCI Crystal Cove Advisory Committee, overseen by the Dean of Biological Sciences, to establish policies and advise on research applications for the Facility. UCI or other University of California researchers should contact to obtain more information or to discuss the feasibility of a proposed research project. UCI and other UC researchers can obtain an application form here. The review and approval process takes approximately one month. This application should be submitted by email to for review and recommendation by the Advisory Committee. The permit will then be routed for approval by California State Parks. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain other required permits (e.g., for animal collection or research) and final approval is contingent on receipt of those permits. Attach copies of permits already obtained to the application. The Park and Marine Research Facility requires the responsible party to sign a ‘terms of use’ agreement and to conduct all research and teaching activity harmoniously with park visitors in the Historic District. Permits are valid for one year.

For scientists not affiliated with the University of California, a research application may be obtained from the Park by calling 949-494-3539.


Application Permit

Photo Gallery

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove Alliance

UCI Office of Research

School of Biological Sciences