It comes as no surprise that I start with my hometown: sunny, warm, and beautiful Laguna Beach! This itinerary might remind you of palm trees, T.V. shows like Laguna Beach and The O.C., or perfect year round seventy-five degree weather. Whatever your reason for visiting Southern California, I hope you have fun in the sun!
Arrive on Friday afternoon and start by strolling the streets of downtown Laguna Beach (South Coast Hwy, Forest Ave, Ocean Ave). There will be a permanent smile on your face as you enjoy the warmth of the sun and the beautiful ocean views. There are small clothing boutiques to peruse (my favorites are Muse, LF, and The Shop), art boutiques, and funky shops offering everything from beachy souvenirs to metal sculptures to add to your garden.
On Saturday, I love to relax at the beach. Some of my favorite beaches are West Beach, Victoria, Tablerock, 10th st (also known as Thousand Steps) and Wood’s Cove. Touristy beaches (that have easier parking and are easier to find) include Aliso Creek, Main Beach, and Treasure Island Beach.
For dinner, there are many tasty options downtown with enough variety to fit any palate or budget, complete with unique decor, crowds, and swanky drinks. It might a bit of a splurge, but the experience is well worth it! My favorites are Nicks, Tortilla Republic, Coyote Grill, Avila’s El Ranchito, White House, and 230 Forest Ave. If you want to grab a drink after dinner, some nearby bars that often have live bands and dancing are Hennesy’s Tavern, Marine Room, and Oceans.
If you find yourself with more time on your hands than you know what to do with, other nearby options include Disneyland (~35 minute drive), Salt Creek Beach (Dana Point), Newport Beach (walk along the peninsula and the Balboa fun zone, check out the waves at The Wedge), shopping malls such as the Irvine Spectrum and South Coast Plaza, or catch a sports game like the Anaheim Angels (MLB) or the the Anaheim Ducks (NHL).
Art Walk – FREE event the first Thursday of every month, year round. Most of the art galleries in Laguna invite you to swing by and check out their art (often with free wine and cheese).
Pageant of the Masters – $15-$60 nightly shows for most of July and August. Sit back and enjoy the 90-minute show while famous paintings are recreated by live people.
Sawdust Festival – $9 daily, summer only. Celebrating fine art and crafts, you can see a little bit of everything including glass blowers, pottery, jewelry, photography, metal sculptures, and more!
If you haven’t noticed, the heart and soul of Laguna Beach is the art. Enjoy!