Laguna Beach, CA is a small coastal city located south of Los Angeles. It is well-known for the beaches, art galleries, tide pools, and of course the TV series, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. There are so many places to visit and dine at during your time in this relaxed, friendly city. Here are just a few favorites that would be a shame to miss on a 3 day California road trip.
Get iconic at Main Beach
In the heart of downtown Laguna lies the “Window to the Sea.” It is the perfect place to go for a walk, have a picnic, play some sand volleyball, or take in the sights.
Location: N Coast Hwy and Broadway
Go for a stroll at Heisler Park
Near Main Beach, you’ll find Heisler Park stretched over the cliffs. It’s also the perfect spot to go for a stroll, take in a sunset, or visit the gardens.
Location: 375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Be entranced by the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach
It would be easy to think you somehow made it to Treasure Island while visiting the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach. The tower itself has a fascinating history. It was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for a California senator. Later, the senator sold his home to retired naval captain, Harold Kendrick. Kendrick would dress himself in a pirate outfit and invite children over for stories and scavenger hunts.
NOTE: You can only access the Pirate Tower during low tide.
Location: 2713 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Climb through the caves at 1,000 Steps Beach
Upon arriving at 1,000 Steps Beach you’ll find a steep staircase covered in vines. Once on the beach, you’ll see a cove to your left in which you will find two caves to explore!
Location: 31972 Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA92651
Visit one of many stunning tide pool locations
Tide Pool Locations
- Shaw’s Cove
Address: 989 Cliff Drive
- Crystal Cove State Park
Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy.
- Heisler Park
Address: 375 Cliff Drive
- Dana Point Marine Protected Area
Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Some basic Tide Pool Guidelines:
- Please do not touch or take any living or non-living items from the tide pools.
- Be careful where and what you step on while climbing the rocks.
- Remember that tide pools are incredibly fragile ecosystems that can take many years to recover.
- Visit the tide pools only during low tide.
Go dolphin and whale watching with Captain Dave
You’re in for a treat if you take a cruise with Captain Dave! This whale watching tour is up close and personal as you can experience ocean life in a variety of ways. Climb to the bow to be able to see whales swimming gracefully and dolphins jumping and playing right in front of you. You can also head to one of the underwater viewing pods to see what lies beneath the waves.
Location: 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Cost: $65/adult, $45/child, $20/infant
- Arrive roughly 30 minutes prior to your scheduled tour.
- Take Dramamine (or other medicine) if you suffer from motion sickness.
- Prepare to get wet if you stand near the bow!
- Bring a lightweight jacket as it can get windy when the boat is moving.
Ride the free trolley and take in the sights
How can anyone not love free transportation? Every weekend Laguna Beach offers their trolley services to get you from place to place with ease. Wanting to get a good view of the city? Ride the loop from start to finish!
Hours of Operation: Fridays: 4pm-11pm, Saturdays: 11am-11pm, Sundays: 11am-8pm, July & August the trolley runs daily from 9:30am-11:30pm.
Explore the history of Mission San Juan Capistrano
History buff or not, you’ll be fascinated by the beauty and story of this nearly 250-year-old mission.
Location: 26801 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano
Hours: Sunday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Cost: $9/adults, $8/seniors, $6/children, FREE for children under 3 (prices include free audio tour)
Experience every sunset while you can
Golden hour is something special in California. One day you’ll have a warm, glowing sunset; the next day will be cotton candy skies. One thing’s for sure… be sure not to miss a second of it!
What’s your first stop in Laguna Beach?