We have spent most of our time in California in Orange County checking out the coastal cities and exploring lots of hidden gems. We have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Laguna Beach and we have become completely smitten with this city.
What to do
1000 Steps Beach
Don’t worry, there is not actually 1000 Steps leading down to this beach but on the way back up it might feel like it! We have driven past the entrance to this beach, just off the Pacific Coast Highway, many times without even noticing that a gem of a beach is hidden here.
Walking down the steep stairs you are covered by a thick canopy of tree branches and vines, before being able to spy the sandy beach and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The view from the beach is spectacular. There are tall cliffs to look at and stunning beach houses that go right to the sand. If you go at low tide there are even tide pools and caves to explore.
Most beaches in California we have found are extremely populated with people jammed on the sand like sardines in a can. 1000 Steps was a lot more secluded and a nice change of pace in comparison.
Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is perfect for anyone that likes long walks on the beach. We couldn’t find parking at Treasure Island so we ended up parking at Aliso Creek Beach, just a little south, and walking up the beach to reach Treasure Island. The walk turned out to be one of the best parts of this beach day! The long stretch of sand between both beaches doesn’t have easy access so it was very private and secluded (again both things you have trouble finding in California).
When we reached Treasure Island Beach our breath was taken away. Allie immediately said that it reminded her of Hawaii! We had so much fun on this beach admiring the cliffs and exploring the little caves.
Watch the Sunset
Watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean is one of the most amazing sights I have seen in my entire life. Anyone exploring California needs to take the time to experience it. Our favourite place to watch the sunset in Laguna Beach is the Rooftop, more on that soon. Some say that as the sun passes the horizon on a cloudless day you can see a flash of green light, maybe you will luck out and see it!
Check out the art
Laguna Beach has a ton of amazing art galleries lining all of the streets just begging to be explored. After your morning cup of coffee, it is so lovely to stroll the streets admiring the art. Our personal favourite gallery is the National Geographic Fine Art Gallery. The photos are absolutely stunning and I feel like I could examine them all day.
Take the Trolley
In the summer many coastal cities, including Laguna, offer free open-air trolleys. This is the best way to get around town. Parking in Laguna can be a real pain and this helps alleviate all of that stress, plus how great are free things right?
Where to eat
Urth Cafe has become one of our most frequented cafes on our travels. They specialize in organic coffees and teas and organic foods. This farm to table cafe’s menu is free of artificial ingredients and GMOs. The line is often long, but trust me, it is totally worth the wait.
Our personal favourites are the Mocha Mint (a mocha with mint flavouring, whip cream and mint chocolate shavings) and the Caffe Quadra (an extra strong cafe latte with 4 shots of espresso) paired with some of their fresh baked pastries.
Laguna Coffee is a tiny little coffee shop right on the PCH that was recommended to us by some locals who claim it has the best coffee in all of Laguna. We were not disappointed and the coffee was delicious. The best part might have been the adorable little jazz band that had taken over the cafe playing some really fun tunes though! The music is a regular thing happening every Saturday morning thing so check it out.
Anastasia Cafe is another spot recommended to us by a California local. This makes the perfect brunch spot and feels a lot less touristy than a lot of places in Laguna. They serve yummy California and French-based cuisine and super fresh juices. Check out their french toast, it’s divine and their fresh pressed orange juice!
The Rooftop Lounge
The Rooftop Lounge is the ideal spot to watch the sunset in Laguna Beach. Head to the roof of the La Casa Del Camino hotel and you will be greeted by a 360-degree view of Laguna Beach. This is a great place to enjoy happy hour, some appetizers, and watch the sun go down over the ocean. I recommend trying one of their fresh fruit mojitos. The wild berry is my personal favourite!
Warning: this place fills up quick and is super popular. It is self-seating so get there early if you want a table or you will be stuck standing.
Are you going to Laguna Beach or have you already been? What is on your Laguna Beach bucket list?