As frazzled working parents, our dream vacation are pretty simple: plop ourselves down on a tranquil beach with a good book in one hand and a fruity cocktail in the other while our kids happily build sandcastles close by. No long lines, no crowds, no fuss. Just sound of the waves, golden sun on our faces, and some much-needed R&R.
So when we stumbled across picturesque Laguna Beach – an arty haven nestled between the mighty Pacific and staggering cliffs that looked straight out of a postcard – we just knew this had to be our family’s next trip. Sure, we could try to muscle our way onto the jam-packed sands of LA’s famous beaches, but who needs that stress?
And yes, Laguna Beach has its fair share of tourists, but there’s still pockets of beachy perfection to be found if you know where to go (and we’re going to tell you exactly where!). In this Laguna Beach guide, we’ll let you in on all our hard-earned family travel wisdom to help customize your own peace-and-quiet beach vacation – with a dose of local culture, gorgeous scenery and maybe just a smidge of whimsy (we mean, with a name like “Crystal Cove,” how could there not be?!).
So join us as we chase tranquility from Laguna’s artsy-town vibe to its postcard-worthy shores, tasty seafood eateries to beachy boutique hotels. Grab your sunnies and a beach read…we’re headed to Laguna!
About Laguna Beach
In Orange County, California, Laguna Beach is a small coastal city that has a lot to offer. The town is known for its art galleries and numerous coves and beaches. Visitors can explore the tide pools at Main Beach and enjoy the boardwalk that stretches along Heisler Park. Main Beach is also a popular surf spot, and Aliso Beach Park is also a popular destination. In addition, Crystal Cove State Park is an underwater park. There are also trails that meander through the coastal canyons of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
There are several beaches in Laguna Beach, but Main Beach is the most famous. The sand is strewn with volleyball and basketball courts, and beachfront homes. The city’s free trolley runs along the beach during the summer and on weekends. If you are visiting the city during the summer, be prepared for some crowds. It’s best to avoid the busy days between June and August, as these months can be hectic.
There are several resources online to learn more about Laguna Beach and its history. You can also find information about housing and real estate, and you can browse events and local organizations.
Why Go to Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, California, has many reasons to visit, from its natural beauty to its arts culture. Art lovers can find galleries and art installations lining PCH and throughout town. There are also many places to enjoy the flora and fauna of the area. The city is home to numerous festivals and events that celebrate the arts.
The town is home to many galleries and boutiques, as well as plenty of restaurants and local eateries. Parking can be a problem, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the Laguna Beach Trolley, a free trolley service that connects neighborhoods and downtown. Another reason to visit Laguna Beach is Crystal Cove State Park, one of the most beautiful parks in California, which includes three miles of sandy shoreline and thousands of acres of inland wilderness.
If you’re an adventurer, you’ll be glad you came to Laguna Beach. The city is home to more than 20,000 acres of protected wilderness, which makes it an excellent destination for hiking and mountain biking. The landscape is stunning with dramatic vistas, verdant hills, and marine sanctuaries. Make sure to pack hiking shoes and flip flops because there’s plenty to do here!
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Laguna Beach is during the summer months, when the temperatures are in the 70s. The beaches can get very crowded during the summer, and it can be difficult to find parking, so it is a good idea to arrive early. You can also enjoy the many art festivals held in the area during the summer.
After Labor Day, the number of visitors to Laguna Beach declines, leaving plenty of room on the beaches. The temperatures stay in the high 70s during this time, although they start to cool down in October. You can find many bargain accommodations during this time. This is also the time when the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival is held, as well as Art-A-Fair, a fine art festival.
In the summer, the town holds Pageant of the Masters, which is a unique art festival. Local artists re-create famous works of art on stage. The event is popular, but you’ll have to book your tickets well in advance, so make sure you buy them early.
How to Get Around
If you’re planning to visit Laguna Beach, there are several ways to get around. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) operates a bus system that stops throughout the city and county. This service runs from San Luis Obispo to downtown San Diego, and stops in Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, and Downtown Laguna Beach. However, you should know that there are some restrictions for bus riders.
The city’s main attractions are close enough together that you can walk from one to the other. Because most of Laguna Beach is walkable, you’re unlikely to need a car for most of your stay. However, if you’re planning to visit the beaches or Laguna Wilderness Park, you may want to consider renting a car. The Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Laguna Canyon Road is a convenient location to rent a car.
Laguna Beach is located on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) and Laguna Canyon Road (CA-133), which becomes Broadway in the town. You can also take CA-73, a partway toll road, to reach Laguna.
If you want a view of the ocean from your dinner table, try one of the best restaurants in Laguna Beach. The Penguin Cafe has been serving casual fare since 1942. Whether you’re hungry for a breakfast burrito or a steak, this Laguna Beach restaurant has a delicious menu and great service. It also offers vegetarian and vegan options.
While Laguna Beach is best known for its sweeping coastal views, it also boasts some of the most spectacular dining in Orange County. Many of the restaurants are decorated with well-crafted architecture and artwork, and the cuisine is varied and diverse. You can enjoy seafood, Mexican, and other cuisines in restaurants throughout the town.
If you’re looking for something more exotic, try 230 Forest Avenue Restaurant & Bar. With a beautiful outdoor patio, this restaurant serves California cuisine and a great wine list. It’s a modern bistro with California influences and a great wine list. Chef Craig Strong (of the award-winning San Diego restaurant Alinea) has created a restaurant that is both stylish and delicious.
Things to Do
If you are looking for a place to have a great time, Laguna Beach is the perfect destination. This Southern California town is full of art, culture, flavor, and vibrancy. If you are a nature lover, you will surely love the beaches and hiking trails here. You can also go on a picnic in Heisler Park, which overlooks the ocean.
If you are into art, Laguna Beach has many museums and galleries. During its Sawdust Art Festival, over 400 local artists and artisans showcase their work. Several of these artists are well-known nationwide and come from all corners of the world. The festival attracts people from Hawaii and New York.
The Pageant of the Masters, an outdoor amphitheater, is a popular event in the summer. It is a great way to meet local artists and enjoy their work. Tickets cost $5 and are good for a day of art. During the festival, you can also attend a variety of workshops and demos.
Neighborhoods to Know
If you’re considering relocating to Laguna Beach, it can be helpful to understand the different neighborhoods in town. Each neighborhood has its own flavor and look. You can learn about them by exploring NeighborhoodScout, which offers a wealth of information. This includes the types of households, housing stock, and ways residents get around.
Main Beach: Located on the ocean, Main Beach is also home to a diverse population of residents. While the majority of residents are of English descent, residents here are also from Ireland, Germany, and Mexico. Those with Persian roots are also well represented, with just over 1% of residents speaking the language at home.
Lagunita: A gated coastal community, Lagunita features mid-sized single-family homes. Many are decorated in the Craftsman or Cottage architectural style. The median home price here is $10 million, and housing inventory is extremely limited. Irvine Cove: Located in North Laguna Beach, Irvine Cove offers exclusivity and quiet. Residents enjoy direct access to the beach and ocean.
The average hourly wind speed in Laguna Beach varies slightly throughout the year. From early May to early June, the wind is at its highest, and averages over 6.4 miles per hour. From June to November, winds are calmer. However, windy days can occur during other months of the year.
Laguna Beach has a very variable climate. The shortest days are in December, while the longest days are in June. The shortest days are between six and ninety-two hours in length. The shortest day is December 21, while the longest day is June 21. In addition to this, the city experiences highs and lows in relative humidity, which varies greatly throughout the year.
Summers are typically pleasant, with temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. During the fall, temperatures drop to the mid-50s. While temperatures may be chilly in the winter, there is plenty of room to enjoy the beach during the cooler months. The city is also home to several festivals during the fall, including the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival and Art-A-Fair fine art festival.