Rafael’s trip to California won’t be complete without this fascinating account on the Laguna Beach. This fascinating Orange County seaside resort city offers a vibrant atmosphere which Rafael will surely never forget.
The spectacular scenic beauty of the place is complimented by a year-long comfortable climate. However, what I particularly enjoyed was the charm of the pulsating communities of arties.
If you are a fan of the Oscar winning movie La La Land, featuring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stones then you must know that the movie actually showcased the lives of a singing bartender of a jazz club in Laguna Beach. Dave Damiani was the name of the person who performed in many iconic jazz clubs in the beach.
That is the reason why Laguna Beach is considered as a hub of artistic festivals. Starting from the Sawdust Art Festival to the Laguna Art-A-Fair, the place offers a lot of cultural exposure to its tourists.
Apart from the cultural program, Laguna Beach also supports the preservation of the environment and the natural beauty of the land. From the Blue Whale Migration Program to the Pacific Sea Mammals Preservation Gala, Laguna Beach does more than its bit for the protection of the environment.
Getting to Laguna Beach, from UK is not much of a trouble and apart from the art and culture you can also indulge in some mesmerizing scenic beauty and mouthwatering cuisines.
There are lots of direct flights connecting London to Los Angeles. I chose the economy class of the American Airlines. The seats were much spacious, than I expected and I even got a dedicated USB charger with my seat.
That made it possible for me to work whilst travelling and also gave me an opportunity to enjoy a movie on my iPad. So, once you have landed in Los Angeles, it is only a 48 minutes drive from there to the beautiful beach of Laguna.
Where to Stay at Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach hotels are affordable and abundant and they offer plenty of hospitable services. Accustomed to the tourist culture, these hotels have equipped themselves with superior quality facilities.
This is a 5-star luxury resort which is perfect for groups aiming for a fun time on the beaches. The fascinating hotel, overlooking the giant Pacific Ocean, offers various amenities for group and families.
You can definitely savor the elegant essence of the south-Californian roots of this land, during your stay at this marvelous resort. The spa is simply awesome and it will offer the finest treatments influenced by the sea.
The restaurants offer the freshest locally sourced seafood and you can also relish an ocean view dining experience. If you have landed in Los Angeles during one of the hot spells then this kind of resorts will perfectly suite your needs.
You can fall asleep, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, in a comfortable environment inside this resort.
Casa Laguna Hotels and Spa
This 3-star hotel is a much affordable option compared to Ritz-Carlton and it is just a 14 minutes’ walk from the beach. Nestled inside a 20th century castle-like structure, this spectacular hotel will allow you to connect with the history of the place.
This hotel also provides its visitors with pools, in-house dinning and a decent enough spa. Here, you can also relish the authentic sea food and the strong cultural connection of the land is also present in this hotel.
For single travelers and couples looking for more affordable alternatives of staying, Airbnb Laguna Beach offers plenty of options to explore.
In less than $100 dollars you can get a two bedroom beach apartment, along with a patio courtyard. These kinds of apartments are full-furnished with TV and cable and also a separate kitchenette wherein you can cook your own delicious sea-foods.
If you want to spend a little more, then you can get an entire ocean-front condo. These condos have a private stair which will lead you directly to the beach and will allow you to enjoy a private time with your close ones.
You can also enjoy a bath in the hot tubs available in these condos and options for barbeque in the backyard.
If you have excess luggage then renting a car is probably the best possible option. However, since the drive is only 40 odd minutes (even less than a drive from London to Kent, with all those traffic) you can also hire an Uber or a Lyft.
The drivers are warm and friendly and you can certainly note down certain advices from them before chalking out a plan for your trip.
Where to Eat and Drink
Food is fresh and tasty in Laguna Beach. Especially, if you are up for experimental sea foods, then there is nothing like the restaurants out here. You can really feel the subtle taste of fresh prawns and calamari in these South Californian restaurants.
IStarting from delicious foods to experimental cocktails, the restaurants here offers a lot to its travelers. The mouthwatering treats add to the senses of the visitors, who are already dazzled by the tranquil beauty of the beach.
Nick’s Laguna Beach
Nick’s Laguna Beach is a well known finger food hub, located at the heart of the Laguna Beach. Here you can come and savor almost all kinds of American comfort foods.
The sea-foods offered here are fresh and the view is just awesome. The 80-seater restaurant is one of the busiest in the beach and it is the perfect place to grab a beer or a cocktail and enjoy the view of the ocean, whilst munching on the freshly cooked shrimps.
La Sirena Grill
If you are travelling in a huge group, then this Mexican restaurant is the perfect place to stop for a lunch. This happening place in Laguna Beach is always buzzing with the lively chattering of the visitors and the friendly waiters.
You can actually savor the Southern-Californian and Mexican taste in the foods served here and it will make you feel a part of the place.
Missing the old fashioned football pubs from the U.K? The Saloon will surely make you feel connected here. With lots of variety of games and entertainment here, this pub is one of the liveliest drinking destinations of the pub.
Starting from the typical Tennessee whiskey to the unique cocktails, everything is available out here in this bar. The bar is also blessed with a monstrous Television set and if you are feeling bored on the beach you can spend your time ogling at it, watching live games, for hours.
Husky Boy Burgers
It is impossible for someone like me to fly all the way down to America and miss the scope of grabbing on a real American cheeseburger. Seafood in this beach is great, a bit different than what we normally get in our trips to Southampton or even Oban in Scotland.
However, nowhere in the entire British Isle can we get such amazing cheese burgers. Sorry McDonalds and Burger King! Husky Boy is not typically Californian and that is why, I enjoyed it even more.
If you are ready to make your fingers all sticky with the extra cheese and enjoy the crispy chips along with a Coke, you should definitely visit this wee shack.
Up for an old fashioned Los Angeles margarita? Then, Las Brisas is definitely the place to come. This marvelous ocean facing site is there for decades and it is still the best place to come and enjoy a sunset cocktail.
Enjoy the warmth of your lover’s arm, wrapped around your waist, while sipping some margarita and munching on some tangy ceviche. Doesn’t it sound heavenly?
Things to To Do in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is a place where you will never get bored. The options for entertainment are plenty and they are really affordable.
Whale Watching Cruises
What is the biggest animal on this planet? It is not a giraffe or an elephant, but it is the giant blue whale on the ocean. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness these majestic creatures by taking the daily whale watching cruises.
Get overwhelmed by the sight of these friendly monsters which are more than 90 feet in length. These cruises happen daily and are available for only $16 per person.
Sawdust Art Festival
This cultural program happens during June to September, every year along with Annual Winter Fantasy Festival, which is staged later, by the same organizers. The purpose of this festival is to entertain as well as educate the tourists along with the locals.
This program reflects on the deep rooted artistic culture of the place. It provides the opportunity for the tourists to enjoy the lights and sounds of the cosmopolitan culture of this South Californian beach.
Plein Air Painting
Enjoy a fabulous time under the starlit night sky by the beach, surrounded by the artists and the art lovers. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the land and it helps the people to connect to the authentic form of plein air painting.
Organized by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, this week long event gives away $20,000 of prize money to the deserving artists.
Laguna Dance Festival
If you are thinking that Laguna is not a very happening place with only artists and nature tours, then you are wrong. There is the world famous Laguna Dance Festival which lights up the beaches with high flying spirits of the performers.
The famous Paul Taylor Dance Company stages this marvelous event, during the second week September. Along with them the event is also boosted by the association of the Ballet BC of Canada.
This week long program sets the beach ablaze and performers from all parts of the United States, and Canada, come and join the festival. It is definitely a treat for the tourists in the soft breeze of the September evenings.
I particularly enjoyed this music program featuring vocalists, musicians and singer-songwriters of Laguna Beach. Held in the overwhelming Heisler Park Amphitheater this program is nice, decent and a charming one.
If you are not in the mood for dancing or any kind of nature tours that evening, you can sit with your wine and enjoy the show. It will definitely leave a sweet taste in your mouth, much like the mushy seafood of the beach.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s The Endless Summer Gala
This auction event takes place under the starry nights of the beach accompanied by a scrumptious dinner. The event hosts a Beach Boy tribute band called the Surfs Up along with other events to raise awareness and money for the preservation of the ocean life.
Nightlife at Laguna
If you are looking for a wild night out with the dudes and girls then Laguna Beach provides you with plenty of options. Starting from the enchanting sunset view from the Rooftop Lounge of La Casa del Camino Hotel to the house infused pineapple vodka at the Saloon near Peppertree Lane, there are plenty of options for you to get drunk and have a zany night.
However, I enjoyed the most at The White House. It is a perfect destination for an early breakfast, because the view of the sunrise is just serene. However, the tranquility of this place evokes a lot of hidden frivolity inside you, as the DJ hits the stage during the late hours of the night.
Biking and Hiking in Laguna Beach
Bikes and cycles can be rented from different shops at the beach for hikers. Laguna Beach offers its hikers a moderately challenging terrain with more ups and down than you ideally seek.
However, the culture of biking and down the hills to the forests is pretty much present. The city has created tracts for bikers to hike at the North Laguna Beach. The more experienced bikers take the challenging route connecting the Thalia Street.
Overall, it was much fun there! So, long for now.