You can plan your Laguna Beach day trip or weekend getaway in a jiffy using the resources below.
Why Should You Go? Will You Like Laguna Beach?
- Get a Preview: Take a look at our Pictures of Laguna's Main Beach
- If you're a shopper, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained in Laguna Beach. The streets are lined with clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, art galleries and shops selling decorative items. A few t-shirt and souvenir shops mix in, but don't dominate. Its seaside location sets the mood for romance.
- Laguna Beach can also keep you busy for a weekend if you go during the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters (July through September) or for the alternative art fair, the Sawdust Festival (late June through late August).
Best Time to Go to Laguna BeachLaguna Beach is great almost any time of year, but like most of the California coast is susceptible to "June gloom," when, like a cranky child, the sun may refuse to come out for days on end. During the summer and especially during the arts festivals, it can get very crowded.
Don't MissIf you've only got a day, take a walk on Main Beach and browse through some of the shops.
More Great Things to Do in Laguna Beach
- Shopping: The walkable downtown part of Laguna Beach extends along Forest Avenue and Coast Highway. You'll find art galleries, clothing shops and local boutiques offering all kinds of wares.
- Sherman Library and Gardens: Don't let the name fool you - it has more plants than books. Located a little north in Newport Beach, this little jewel box of a garden is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll.
- Take a Walking Tour: Pick up a brochure at the Visitors Center (252 Broadway) for a self-guided walking tour of the bungalows, cottages and historic homes built by the early residents.
- Take to the Water: Take a surfing lesson and feel like a real surfer dude or dudette in no time. A kayak tour is also a great way to enjoy the Laguna Beach shoreline without getting wet.
- Laguna Playhouse: This repertory company stages a variety of works, including some local and world premieres and productions which have won award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.
Isn't It Romantic?If you find the sound of crashing waves an aphrodisiac, Laguna Beach has more nice hotels close to the beach than anywhere else in southern California.
Annual Events You Should Know AboutBesides the Festival of Arts, Pageant of the Masters and Sawdust Festival mentioned above, the Doheny Blues Festival, held in mid-May features singers such as Bonnie Raitt and the Tall Ships Festival happens in September. Both are in Dana Point, just down the road.
Tips for Visiting Laguna Beach
- Parking is limited and Laguna Beach is very popular. Get there early, bring quarters for the parking meters or use the public change machines on the busier streets. Most meters have a two-hour limit. Public parking lots are on Forest Avenue next to City Hall, at Forest and Broadway and at 400 Glenneyre.
- On busy days, traffic backs up along Coast Highway. Instead of inching along being frustrated, think about stopping somewhere, parking and going to the beach. If you're south of town, try going a block uphill and following a street parallel to Coast Highway.
During the summer art festivals, the city operates free shuttles from the Act V Parking Lot at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. They also run along Pacific Coast Highway, making it easy to get around without having to drive yourself around.
- You'll find public restrooms at the beach, but they're often busy. Instead of joining the queue, walk up Forest Avenue, where you'll find signs directing you to a couple of places to "go."
- If you bring your four-legged friend with you to Laguna Beach, know the rules. Dogs are not allowed on any beach from June 1 through September 15 between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The rest of the year, they have to be on a leash.
Best BitesA weekend getaway is a great time to enjoy a leisurely brunch. Las Brisas Mexican restaurant (361 Cliff Drive) was voted among the best places for breakfast by Citysearch readers in 2008. Zinc Cafe at 350 Ocean Ave serves a nice selection of organic foods and The Cottage (308 N Coast Hwy) has been a local favorite since 1917.
Where to StayLaguna Beach has southern California's highest concentration of beach hotels. Casa Laguna Inn and Sunset Cove Villas earned some of our highest ratings and either one makes a great place for a relaxing getaway. For more ideas, check our recommended hotels and campgrounds. In summer, choose a hotel on the free shuttle route, use it to get around and you may not have to move your car until you're ready to go home.
Getting To Laguna BeachDriving? Laguna Beach is 80 miles from San Diego, 167 miles from Bakersfield and 274 miles from Fresno.
Flying? The nearest airport is the John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA). Check airfares.