Remember When is a series of photos and stories of South Orange County; what it was like growing up here and the stories that shaped our lives. There is much history and individual stories that make up the fabric of the communities we live in. We welcome new stories and pictures from any of you that were fortunate enough to have grown up in an area where there was open space at the end of every street and an adventure just around the corner.

Growing up in Dana Point was an incredible experience and always an adventure. Learning how to surf at Doheny when I was 5 with all my friends was very exciting. There are many great stories from those times. One I enjoy telling is about my first trip to Young’s Beach Camp. Most people have no idea what I am talking about, so let me tell you the story.

Back in 1969 when I was 11, the day had finally come to go to that mysterious surf break I heard about from the older guys.
Garth Anderson, Steve Wright, Randy Ward and Dan Peliteir had decided amongst themselves to let a few of us groms make the move to Salt Creek which was largely unsurfed in those days. It was virgin territory. The day arrived and along with my friends; Miguel Munoz whose father is the legendary surfer Mickey Munoz, Mike Cruikshank, Mike Weed and Jeff Hamilton, we waited at my parents house on Zarazito Drive in Dana Point for the older guys to come pick us up. They came to pick us up in their 1965 Cadillac. We all hopped in and headed out toward Salt Creek. I remember the butterflies we all had in our stomachs, going to surf at Salt Creek for the first time with the older surf stars. We didn't know what laid ahead.

We headed N. on PCH to the old dirt road turn off. We made the turn and started down the winding road, anticipation!!! We came around the corner and I remember seeing the Youngs Beach Camp sign for the first time, Youngs Beach Camp was carved into the hill at what we all now know as Salt Creek Beach. The beach camp got its name from the two Young brothers that lived there. They were both artists that moved there from Laguna Beach in the mid 60’s.

Young's Beach Camp looking surreal on the hillside. Photo courtesy of Dave Kristagus

As we pulled up both brothers were on the large deck painting As we got closer I noticed a large chain pulled across the road in front of us. We all muttered to each other, how do we get in? Garth was driving, he said watch this, and as we pulled up to the chain and one of the brothers picked up a long bamboo pole with a clothespin on the end and sent it out off the deck toward the car window, Garth pulled out a one dollar bill and placed in the clothespin. The large chain went down and the one brother said to us as we passed by “have a good surf”. We continued down the road and as we rounded the corner we saw spitting tubes and no one was out. I KNEW MY FIRST SURF EXPERIENCE AT SALT CREEK WAS GOING TO BE ONE I WOULD NEVER FORGET.

Salt Creek reeling tubes with lines stacked up on the horizon...and not a soul in sight.
Photo courtesy of Dave Kristagus

That’s just one of the many stories I have from my growing up here in Dana Point California.

by Michael Murphy

If you have a story you would like to share with our readers or add to this Salt Creek story please send the words to with a picture if you have one. Who has a great story about the beautiful sand dunes that graced Salt Creek in the old days. Thanks goes to those that have documented this magical place.
Other Stories:

Coming Soon, stories of (you can add to any of these stories click here):

  • Poche's Rites of Passage where the older guys initiate the younger guys by throwing them in the "pit"
  • The Wall where Steve McQueen, Malcolm, Bruce Browne and others attempted to reach the top
  • The Giant Octopus that was king of Seal Rock outside Dana Point
  • Hanging out at the Folgners (the old Villa)

South Laguna History El Camino Real 1957
Del Mar 1958 San Clemente Pier 1927