If you are trying to not break the bank but still go to paradise cove, there is free parking on Pacific Coast Highway outside of the main entrance. Even if you do want to pay to park you may have to park on PCH anyways because the lot fills up very quickly especially on a hot summer day. When you do park on PCH, be careful and mindful of the traffic around you. PCH is a highway and can be very dangerous at times. Also, we suggest to bring a cooler with some snacks and drinks because a long day at the beach will grow an appetite.
As for the beach, it is perfect for swimming, body surfing, and boogie boarding. The beach here is not known for its good surfing at all but it is not unheard of if you go down the beach a ways. Also, the beach is perfect if you want to throw around the football or frisbee with some buddies.
Summary: Paradise Cove can be a great place to spend your beach day. Parking can be an issue if you arrive late on a crowded day and if you are not trying to spend too much money make sure to bring your beach supplies, food, and drinks with you. Always be careful when parking and walking on PCH.