Laguna Beach is a small coastal town located in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, famous for its beaches, hiking trails, cycling trails, and picturesque bays.
This bohemian chic town has unique art galleries, cool art walks, and murals, and a popular annual summer arts festival. During your time in Laguna Beach, you can wander the pretty coastline trails, shop at the many great boutiques, and enjoy brunch or cocktails on the waterfront with incredible ocean views.
To help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful destination, we have created this ultimate guide to Laguna Beach sharing the best places to stay, where to eat and drink, and the top activities in and around the city!
Top 10 Things To Do In Laguna Beach
There are plenty of things to do in Laguna Beach and each time you visit you will find something new to do. But with so many options, where should you begin? Here are our top 10 things to do in Laguna Beach that we recommend for first-time visitors to the city.
1) Explore Crystal Cove State Park
With tidal pools, three miles of sandy coastline, great surf, hills, canyons, and ridges, this state park is a great place to spend the day exploring. There are also hiking trails and biking trails great for those who want to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
2) Hike Or Walk To Crescent Bay Point Park
Located at the western end of the city, the park offers incredible views of the coastline, along with hiking and walking trails.
3) Visit Victoria Beach
Known for its white sandy beach Victoria Beach has clear waters and the famous Victorian Tower (pictured). The beach is beautiful, but the Victorian Tower and the man made pool are the main attraction here!
To get to the entrance to this beach travel on PCH, then go down Victoria Drive to where the street intersects with Sunset Terrace. Here, on the right, you will find the stairway that leads to Victoria Beach between two houses.
4) Relax On Main Beach
Main Beach is one of the most iconic sights you will see when you search for images of Laguna Beach. The beach has a lifeguard hut and is a great place to relax, swim in the ocean, bodyboard, or play basketball or volleyball. It is located in the center of Laguna Beach, close to all the shops and restaurants.
Grab something to eat at popular Urth Caffe or Le Macaron French Pastries and picnic at the beach!
5) Visit the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
With over 7,000 acres of wilderness, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has over 40 miles of hiking trails, equestrian trails and biking trails, while also being a great place to spot wildlife and ecosystems. Note that dogs are not permitted in park.
6) Spend The Morning Shopping At Boutique Stores
With over 100 unique boutique stores, art galleries, and surf shops, Laguna is a great place to shop locally and purchase some souvenirs from your trip. You will find lots of stores on Laguna Canyon Road, as well as the main N Coast Highway. After you have had your fill of shopping stop at Laguna Canyon Winery for an afternoon of wine tasting.
7) Pageant Of The Masters
Time your trip to Laguna Beach with the annual Pageant Of The Masters, a unique art festival that happens once a year. The Pageant of The Masters itself is one of the most unique productions in the world, where people re-creates famous works of art on a stage at night. You will marvel at what you think is an enormous painting, but is in fact made up of people.
Make sure to arrive well before the show starts so that you can explore the art show and buy art from local artists beforehand. And don’t forget to bring along a cooler with some snacks, cheese and wine to enjoy through the evening.
8) Take A Walk Through The Arts District
Laguna Beach is well known as a hub for art galleries and artists alike. The Arts District runs from Jasmine Street to Bluebird Canyon Street along the North Coast Highway. The arts district holds an Art Walk the first Thursday of every month, with live music, live art demos, and complimentary bites to eat and drink. If you visit at another time of the month, no worries, it is easy to take a self guided walk through this area.
9) Spend The Afternoon At The Laguna Canyon Winery
Try wine tasting or purchase a great bottle of wine at the Laguna Canyon Winery. The winery has its grapes shipped from Napa Valley which are then processed at the winery. Here you can learn all about the wines and how the grapes are processed.
10) Hike The 3.3 Miles Laurel Canyon Loop
Located within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, this 3.3-mile hike begins in the Willow Staging Area and along the way, you will see incredible views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes.
Other Things To See In Laguna Beach:
- Laguna Art Museum
- Murphy-Smith Historical Bungalow
- Public Art Collection
- Kush Fine Art Gallery
- Table Rock Beach
- Aliso Beach
- Thousand Step Beach
- Glenn E. Vedder Ecological Park
Where To Stay In Laguna Beach
My favorite hotels in Laguna Beach are the Montage Laguna Beach and Surf and Sand Resort.
The Montage hotel covers 30 acres, with a large resort-style outdoor space, complete with a beach, day beds, a 20,000 square foot spa, and two amazing swimming pools. The resort hotel has 258 rooms with a mixture of suites, bungalows, water view rooms, accessible rooms, all in various configurations.
The resort also has tours, two restaurants including the American-infused The Loft restaurant. If you don’t choose to stay at the hotel you can head to The Loft with panoramic views.
The Surf and Sand Resort is located on 500 feet of California’s most pristine beach and rooms overlook the ocean. The rooms in the hotel all offer coastal chic interiors with excellent views, so you may never want to leave your room! But if you do you can visit the award-winning spa or dine at one of the hotels’ restaurants, including Splashes restaurant that serves fresh seaside cuisine throughout the day.
Here are some other well-rated hotels in Laguna Beach:
Where To Eat In Laguna Beach
With a blend of Mexican, Asian, Belgian, Vegan, and Californian, Laguna Beach has everything from rooftop restaurants to waterfront marina restaurants and everything in between.
Here are 10 of the top-rated restaurants in Laguna Beach:
- Carmelita’s Kitchen de Mexico – About as authentic Mexican as you can get in Laguna Beach, with all your traditional favorites including a Taco Tuesday special.
- Starfish Laguna Beach – A blend of dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, and India, with sushi, dumplings, and everything in between.
- Nick’s Laguna Beach – For traditional American comfort food and is renowned for its Bacon Deviled Eggs.
- Driftwood Kitchen – This waterfront dining experience, serves breakfast, lunch, and diner by the water either indoor or outdoor.
- Alessa by Chef Pirozzi – A piece of Italy in Laguna Beach, serving traditional Italian dishes including pizza and pasta.
- Broadway by Amar Santana – Inspired by New York, this restaurant brings the Big Apple to Laguna.
- 230 Forest Avenue Restaurant and Bar – A typical Californian bistro-style restaurant serving local favorites.
- Studio – Located within the Montage hotel, this restaurant is the perfect blend of French cuisine with classic Californian influences.
- The Deck – An open-air restaurant serving seafood literally on the sand at the Pacific Edge Hotel.
- Maro Wood Grill – This Argentinian restaurant serves locally sourced products and is a great brunch spot.
Bars and Rooftops
Whether you prefer rooftop bars, wine bars, or beach bars, Laguna Beach has everything you could want from a bar with great views. People often travel from outside the city to enjoy the cities diverse nightlife selection and rooftop bar views.
Here are a few of the best bars in Laguna Beach:
- 15 Fifty Five – A rooftop bar located within the Surf and Sands Resort, with specialty cocktails and incredible views.
- Marine Room Tavern – A locals favorite for over 75 years with Whiskey nights and live music.
- The Rooftop Lounge – Located within the La Casa Del Camino hotel, the rooftop bar is one of the best places to watch the sunset with a cocktail or glass of wine.
- The Saloon – A locals favorite dive bar with a welcoming vibe and low-key atmosphere.
- Wine Gallery – Hosting an impressive wine menu with over 25 different glasses of wine available.
Where to Shop
Laguna Beach is filled with unique and wonderful stores; whether you are looking to purchase high-end clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, or unique one-of-a-kind items, there is a store for everything you need.
Here are a few of the best stores in Laguna Beach:
- The Soul Project
- The Vintage Poster
- Miche McClendon
- The Chocolate Soldier
- Laguna Buy Hand
- Simple Laguna Beach
- Amenah Designs
- Free People
- The Fragrance Boutique
When Should I Visit Laguna Beach?
With an average year-round temperature in the 70s (20s Celsius), there isn’t a bad time of year to visit Laguna Beach.
Lodging rates are slightly higher between June and August, but you can find some great accommodation deals in the spring and the fall.
Throughout the year, the city has a large number of festivals and outdoor events. Some great events are:
- Festival of Arts
- Sawdust Art Festival
- Laguna Beach Pride
- Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival
- Pageant Of The Masters
Related Post: Ultimate Guide To The Best Festivals Around The World
How To Get To Laguna Beach
The closest large airport to Laguna Beach is located in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is located around 53 miles or just over 1 hour 40 minutes (traffic dependent) from Laguna Beach. From there you can rent a car, or take a taxi into Laguna Beach.
Alternatively, Orange County has a small, stress-free airport – John Wayne Airport-Orange County (SNA), which serves a number of domestic routes via Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, United, and Alaska Airlines.
Laguna Beach Guide Wrap Up
I hope you found this Laguna Beach guide helpful. If you have questions about Laguna Beach or tips for our readers, please leave these in the comments below!
And if you’re interested in visiting other areas in California, you can check out all our Californian articles for inspiration.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Laguna Beach, California. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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We Are Travel Girls Founder Becky van Dijk of BeckyvanDijk.com
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