Victoria Beach's Pirate Tower – Laguna Beach, California - Atlas Obscura
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Laguna Beach, California

Victoria Beach's Pirate Tower

This strange seaside tower got its name from a wealthy eccentric who would hide coins among its stones. 

This enigmatic seaside tower on California’s Victoria Beach looks like something out of a storybook, and given that it is lovingly known as the “Pirate Tower,” it would seem to live up to the mystique. However in reality it was just a rich eccentric’s private staircase. 

The lonely spire that is built into the rocky beach cliff face actually belongs to the estate that sits at the top of the cliff. Built in 1926, the 60 foot tower reaches from the edge of the water up to the top of the cliff where the house sits, holding a private staircase inside for the owners to use to access the beach. Unfortunately there seems to have a been a bit of a design flaw as the exit door and some of the tower becomes submerged and inaccessible during high tide, rendering the stairs unusable, while the tower remains as lovely as ever.

It seems to have been the second owner of the estate who earned the tower its swashbuckling nickname. As the story goes, he would dress up like a pirate and hide coins and candy in the nooks and crannies between the rocks of the tower, so that the local kids could go hunting for the buried treasure. It is also said that they would play games where the winner could earn a chance to grab “cold cash,” a bowl full of coins he kept in the fridge. Weird.

Anyhow, the tower (and the mansion above) have changed hands a number of times over the years (at one point belonging to Bette Midler!). Regardless of who owns the property, the tower remains, although now it is locked. However adventurous souls can still find their way to the base of the tower at low tide, and dream of a swashbuckling history that never really was.