A seaside village, an artist community, a resort town, a natural wonder—Laguna Beach, California is all these things and more! If you love sun-kissed beaches, painting-worthy landscapes, and unique art, Laguna Beach vacation rentals can put you in the heart of this town whose founders came for the beauty and couldn’t bear to leave. Let this Laguna Beach Travel Guide provide you with tips and suggestions for your Laguna Beach vacation.
While we tried to include the best of Laguna Beach, we may have missed one of your favorites. If so, please let us know.
Festival of the Arts
Possibly California’s best art show, high-quality artists showcase a wide range of media in a canyon park close to the Pacific Ocean each summer. You’ll find paintings, sculptures, photos, pottery, fabric art, furniture, drawings, pastels, and jewelry on display and available for purchase. Use some of the money you saved with Laguna Beach vacation rentals to buy something unique as a gift or for yourself. A ticket costs less than ten bucks and can be used for multiple days, so go more than once to marvel at the artists' creativity and take advantage of artist demonstrations, hands-on activities, tours, and live music and entertainment.
Pageant of the Masters
This event is an experience that everyone will relish, not just art lovers. Evenings during the Festival of the Arts, the Pageant of the Masters brings you an hour and a half of living paintings. Works of art are re-created with detailed sets, costumed volunteers, and lighting effects and are presented on stage in an outdoor theater. Usually one of the pictures demonstrates the process—you see the frame rise, the people move into place and freeze once they’re in position, and the lights turn on and voila! A living picture is born that looks just like the original. A live (often funny) narrator and a live orchestra playing original music add to the theatricality of the pageant. You really won’t believe your eyes.
Try for front row seats or use binoculars—rent them there or bring them from your Laguna Beach vacation rental. This nationally renowned event is so popular, parking can be a pain, but with some Laguna Beach vacation rentals, you can save yourself the hassle and walk. Don’t miss out on this must-do Laguna Beach attraction!
Spend a Day on the Beach
Laguna Beach vacation rentals offer you the opportunity to be close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Laguna Beach is full of the blond hair and tanned bodies you’ve seen in commercials, but it’s worth a visit. Clean sand awaits your towels, blankets, and sand castle building equipment. Sunbathe, toss a Frisbee, watch the bikinis and surfer bods, or just soak up the California sun. Dip your toes in the sparkling blue water, watch the open air painters capture a hint of the beauty of the scene, and eat a home-packed picnic from your Laguna Beach vacation rental. Days don’t get better than this.
South of Main Beach, there is an unspoiled, uncrowded stretch of pristine white sand called Thousand Steps Beach. You have to trek down a hefty staircase—about 200 steps—and back up, but the hike is worth the tranquility you’ll experience. Laguna Beach has a diverse biological environment for scuba diving, snorkeling, and tide pool exploration. Some of the best beaches for tide pooling near Laguna Beach vacation rentals are Shaw’s Cove and Treasure Island, which both have docents to guide and educate, as well as Picnic Beach and Crescent Bay.
Aliso Beach is a small jewel with hiking trails in the hills and a playground for kids, and Thalia Street Beach is a great place to watch surfers ride the waves. You really can’t go wrong with the seven miles of white sand near Laguna Beach vacation rentals.
Art! Laguna Beach vacation rentals are ideal base-camps for art enthusiasts. Open daily and year-round, the Laguna Art Museum was one of the first Californian art museums. Close to many Laguna Beach vacation rentals, the museum holds a permanently displayed collection of pieces done by Laguna Beach’s early artists and changing exhibits of contemporary American art that often is unique in content and medium. You can join a guided tour to learn even more about the pieces, and the artists themselves sometimes appear.
Visit Gallery Row, a stretch of twelve art galleries, or check out the mural on Main beach, the Jerry Rothman Sculptures and gazebos in Heisler Park, and the oldest house in Laguna Beach, built in the early 1800s with driftwood and shipwrecked boat pieces. Walk past the English Tudor house where Bette Davis lived in the ‘40s; City Hall, a Mediterranean influenced building; and the 1930s Fire Department Building for interesting architecture.
White House Restaurant
Of all Laguna Beach restaurants, this Laguna Beach landmark near most Laguna Beach vacation rentals is an absolute must. Built in 1918 and fully renovated from its days as a hangout for Hollywood stars, the White House Restaurant now boasts the freshest ingredients featured in innovative California cuisine. Get a feast for the eyes here, too, as local artwork by ever-changing artists is displayed on the walls, or dine on their outdoor patio with ocean breezes and beautiful scenery. After dinner, proceed to their lounge bar and have a drink while listening to some top live musicians and then hit the dance floor.
Try the Studio or the Loft in the Montage Resort. Good wine lists, spectacular ocean views, and impressive food make for a fantastic dinner. Splashes Restaurant is directly on the shoreline and offers an elegant evening, and The Beach House is another good choice for Laguna Beach restaurants. Claes Restaurant boasts an ability to expertly pair wine from their extensive list with your fresh seafood or steak entrées, and is not far from Laguna Beach vacation rentals.
For less fancy dining, head to Cafe Zoolo for delicious swordfish, and Las Brisas for fresh Mexican takes on seafood. Stop by one of Orange County’s best ice cream joints, Gelato Paradiso for dessert. Freshly made each morning, their authentic gelato is a must-try Laguna Beach restaurant.
Lots of shops line Main Street and Coast Highway, and you can fund unique gifts at Sheek Inc., and beach gear at Tuvalu. Bubbles of Laguna, which sells bath and body products; Melrose Place, which has clothing for men; and La Rue du Chocolat can be found on historic Pepper Lane, and of course, the summer art festivals feature fine art of all kinds for purchase.
For wine, try Laguna Canyon Winery, where you can taste their premium blends before you buy. On Saturdays, check out the farmer’s market within walking distance of some Laguna Beach vacation rentals for seasonal, locally-grown produce you can cook up in Laguna Beach vacation rentals.
If your Laguna Beach vacation has an art focus, summer is the time for three major art festivals: Festival of the Arts, Art-A-Fair, and the Sawdust Art Festival. Summer rates can be higher and beaches more crowded, but the activities make it worth it. Beaches, the Laguna Playhouse, the resort spas, and Laguna Beach restaurants are open year-round.
Before you pack, check the listings for Laguna Beach vacation rentals to see what’s included. Sunscreen, even when it’s overcast, is important, as is a swimsuit so you can head out to the beach as soon as you arrive. Casual clothes are in vogue here, though you might want to bring a dressy outfit if you hit the nightclubs. Even in the heat of summer, evenings in Laguna Beach are often breezy, and you’ll want a light jacket or sweater.
Many tourist destinations like beaches and state parks have facilities like restrooms and information centers available for your convenience. Lifeguard stations and security at beach parking lots help keep visitors and locals safe. Pretty much anything not present in Laguna Beach vacation rentals can be found with a quick phone call or Internet search.
This small beach town cares about its residents and takes great care to preserve its natural splendor. The city’s rules about not taking items from protected tide pools or wilderness areas should be followed to continue to keep the area beautiful for future visitors.
Laguna Beach is about one hour south of LAX, and about an hour and a half north of the San Diego International Airport. Rent a car and cruise up or down the Coast Highway and absorb eye-catching ocean views on the way to Laguna Beach vacation rentals.
In such an artsy community, Laguna Beach vacation rentals offer lodging as unique as the city. Choose from options like artist studios or beach-view cottages. Feel like a local resident and enjoy the world-famous sunsets from home. With Laguna Beach vacation rentals, you might be tempted to stay forever.