This post was most recently updated on July 24th, 2020
My husband recently whisked me away to Laguna Beach for a weekend getaway. In fact we were celebrating our 35th anniversary! We might have chosen something more elaborate, but with Covid-19, we thought we should stay close and Laguna Beach is only an hour’s drive from our home in San Diego. Now that I’ve been, I want to share a bunch of reasons to go to Laguna Beach.
Whether it’s during Covid-19 or not, Laguna Beach has so much to offer — pretty much something for everyone. It’s easy to social distance here because there are so many outdoor options. Well, let me just get to the point!. Read on for my 5 reasons to go to Laguna Beach:
1. Laguna Beach is close to large cities, but it’s not one
This makes Laguna Beach a perfect getaway location. If you’re tired of being in a large city where things are more crowded, a small town is the best refuge. Laguna Beach just happens to be that perfect small town in the middle of several large cities. From San Diego, it’s only an hour drive and from Los Angeles, it only takes 45 minutes (depending on traffic). And it’s only 38 minutes from Long Beach.
Laguna Beach definitely has a small town feel. It is very walkable. And what’s not to love about a town that is stretched out along beautiful white sand beaches? People are friendly and welcoming. You won’t see a lot of big chain businesses. You will find one-of-a-kind boutique shops, cute cafes and even a vintage theater. With the addition of waterfront parks and pedestrian paths, plus lots of benches, there are lots of opportunities to sit or stroll and take it all in.
2. Laguna Beach is not one beach; it has 36 beaches
For a small town, 36 beautiful beaches is quite a claim. It means you can always find a relatively quiet cove or beach to enjoy the waves and the white sand. It should have been called ‘Laguna Beaches’. I certainly didn’t have time to see them all in one weekend, and you’ll find the same to be true for you. Isn’t that nice? It gives you a reason to go back more than once.
The main beach is literally right next to the main (and cutest) part of town. Other popular beaches include Victoria Beach with its “Pirate Tower”, Crescent Bay, Emerald Beach, and Diver’s Cove. There’s Pearl Street Beach with a natural arch and Treasure Island Beach, which is good for swimming. And the Thousand Steps Beach is the largest in Laguna Beach, with a large cave at the south end that you can explore when the tide is out.
I was wrong when I said there are five reasons to go to Laguna Beach. I guess there are at least 36 reasons!
3. Laguna Beach’s middle name should be “ART”
Famous for its Festival of Arts and the Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach doesn’t stop there. There’s also the Sawdust Festival, the Art-A-Fair, and over 100 pieces of public art scattered throughout the city. You’ll find murals, statues, sculptures, painted stairs, decorated benches and so much more. Visit the Laguna Arts Museum for exhibitions on photography and various mediums of art. And not just visual art, but dance as well, at the Laguna Dance Festival.
Not everything was open during Covid-19, but there were a few galleries and sculpture gardens open and there was plenty of art to be found in public spaces. We really enjoyed looking for and finding splashes of art and color almost everywhere in Laguna Beach. Look at this cheerful bright entrance to the Art-A-Fair!
And these beautiful graceful scluptures at the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden:
More art in Heisler Park:
If you like art, you will not be disappointed in Laguna Beach. Guaranteed.
4. Laguna Beach is an outdoor lover’s paradise
I know you don’t believe me. You’re thinking cutesy little town along the beach with boutique shops, art galleries, and the cutest lifeguard tower. That implies that shopping or lying on the beach are the #1 pastimes. Would you be surprised to learn there are also hiking, cycling, and running trails in 20,000 acres of protected land? We hiked the Top of the World trail with spectacular views of the ocean AND the mountains to the east.
There are sea caves and pools to explore, sea kayaking, paddle-boarding, surfing, snorkeling and diving, too. You’ll also spot fans of skimboarding in Laguna Beach. Plus, the main beach in town has basketball and sand volleyball courts to enjoy. If you enjoy spotting wildlife, whale and dolphin-watching tours are the best here. Did you know that the dolphin population off Laguna’s coastline is greater than that of Florida, Hawaii and the Caribbean combined?
5. Great dining is another reason to go to Laguna Beach
I wasn’t in Laguna Beach long enough to try everything, but what we did eat was delicious. I saw long lines queuing for several restaurants and cafes in town, so I know I wasn’t the only one impressed with their offerings. We chose Las Brisas for our anniversary dinner (Tripadvisor rates it #27 out of 109 restaurants and #7 out of #18 Mexican). Even during the pandemic, there’s patio dining that is open, and the views of the beach below are spectacular!
We also enjoyed a tasty dinner meal with generous portions on the patio at Reunion Kitchen…
I had the best hamburger I’ve had in ages at the Greeter’s Corner Restaurant next to Main Beach. In fact, we ate our lunch from Greeter’s on a nearby park bench and people-watched to our delight!
The pièce de résistance of our dining experiences was our dessert. Yes, we splurged one night and joined the long (and safe-distanced) line of patrons proving the endorsement for the best gelato in Laguna Beach: Gelato Paradiso. While we waited in line, we were intoxicated by the smell of waffle cones. It was all worth it once we took our first bite. Ooh, this is gelato heaven!
Are there more reasons to go to Laguna Beach?
Of course there are, but you can’t do everything in just one weekend, so I just wanted to give you a taste of some of the reasons to go to Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach is a beautiful beach town and less developed than other beach towns in southern California, so it still has that feeling of “coming home”. I think that’s why their tourism board uses #MyLagunaBeach as part of its marketing, and I can see why.
Now that I’ve been, I’m starting to feel like it’s mine, too. I may not be able to afford a home there, but I can easily visit and enjoy the mild climate, gorgeous beaches, beautiful art, cozy feel, and great food. I’ll be back again soon. Maybe I’ll see you there?
Want to see how we celebrated our anniversary last year? Check out Our Death Valley Anniversary!