From a small parking area, Bird Island Trail climbs to a ridge overlooking China Cove and Bird Island. It's about four-tenths of a mile one way.
Shorebirds are abundant and you might see the occasional sea lion. Views of the coast heading south into Big Sur are excellent, especially in late morning or early afternoon as the fog burns off.
It's OK to swim or wade on the beach, just bear in mind the water will be bone-chilling cold.