Iconic Things to do in Laguna Beach, California

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.

Laguna Beach

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.

Laguna Beach

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!

Laguna Beach 1000 steps cave

Location31972 Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA92651

Visit one of many stunning tide pool locations

Laguna Beach - Tide Pools

Tide Pool Locations

  • Shaw’s Cove
    Address: 989 Cliff Drive
  • Crystal Cove State Park
    Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy.
    Fee: $15
  • 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.

Laguna Beach Whale Watching Tour
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!

Laguna Beach Trolley

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.

laguna beach

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!

Laguna Beach

Regardless of what is on your California road trip itinerary, don’t miss Laguna Beach!




Laguna Beach is a small costal city located south of Los Angeles. It is well-known for it's beaches, art galleries, and tide pools. It would be shame to miss this relaxed, friendly city while in California!

Laguna Beach is a small costal city located south of Los Angeles. It is well-known for it's beaches, art galleries, and tide pools. It would be shame to miss this relaxed, friendly city while in California!


  • Ana Rose
    February 26, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    When I first see the word “Laguna” in your blog post, I thought you are from Philippines. We have a place named Laguna in here. I was surprised that there is also a place called “Laguna” in Los Angeles. I am impressed with all your photos. Those are all great motivations to someone to visit Laguna. 🙂

    • kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 7:07 PM

      I had no idea! We still haven’t made it over to the Philippines but would love to visit. 🙂 Thank you very much for the comment!

  • Anna
    February 26, 2017 at 7:29 PM

    I enjoyed Kendrick story in Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach. Great find you guys. I’m a sunset lover myself and must admit, that sunset looks magnificent. If that’s taken from your home, am sure you know you are so lucky. If not, still a great capture, love it!

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:33 PM

      We don’t currently live in Cali. However, those lucky enough to live there have such a treat each day with the sunsets. They are some of the best we’ve ever seen! Thank you Anna!

  • bherron80
    February 27, 2017 at 1:24 PM

    I Love tide pooling and visiting the missions. My mom was a 4th grade teacher for 15 years so she always had a lot to say about the CA missions! 🙂

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:35 PM

      The tide pools are such an awesome find. I personally enjoyed seeing all the different animals that live in them. Mission San Juan Capistrano was definitely a nice place to enjoy history. There was a 4th grade field trip while we were there and I couldn’t help but think of my own class of 3rd graders and how they would have loved the experience as well! Kudos to your mom for her 15 years. I’m only on year 3! 🙂

  • I do what I want to
    February 28, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Great post. I really love the story of the Pirate Tower! Sunsets tend to be so magical, I wouldn’t miss one for sure!

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:36 PM

      Thank you! I also loved that story as well. Before I looked into it more I kept dreaming up many different stories that would explain it. The lighthouse is somewhat romantic don’t you think? 🙂

  • youngandundecided
    March 1, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    Ooh those caves look awesome! I bet that is a beautiful scene at sunset/sunrise. Your pictures are amazing!

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:37 PM

      They were quite fun to explore and had many tide pools inside the rocks. Thank you! 🙂

  • Adrenaline Romance
    March 2, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    My father, recently a Filipino immigrant, lives in Laguna Beach. He said it’s a beautiful place, and by looking at your photos, he is absolutely right! The tidal pools and the sandy beach is awesome! We would love to go out there during the sunset and explore treasures that sea leaves behind as the tide recedes.

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:37 PM

      I’m jealous that he gets to live there all year long! It’s a beautiful city that is incredibly friendly as well. You’ll have to go and visit him there soon. 🙂

      • Adrenaline Romance
        March 6, 2017 at 10:02 AM

        Hi Kallsy,

        Well, we’ll just cross our fingers. Going to the US is quite expensive for us considering that our peso is considerably weaker than the US dollar. Also, our Philippine passport is a weak one, and it’s difficult to get a visa to the US.

        But who knows? We might have a streak of luck. 🙂

  • youngbrokeandwandering
    March 2, 2017 at 9:47 AM

    I would love to get to the West coast! Laguna BEach looks like a great place to start!!! The cakes looks amazing!

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:39 PM

      It really is! You could also do the Pacific Coast 1 drive and enjoy more of the west coast. 🙂

  • OurSweetAdventures
    March 4, 2017 at 6:59 PM

    I have only visited Thousand Steps Beach from your list so I am excited to try the others! I am a sucker for dolphins so Captain Dave’s boat sounds awesome! I have never been on a dolphin watch with a boat that has underground views. That sounds and looks so exciting!

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 1:40 PM

      It was quite thrilling! At first my sister and I were worried we wouldn’t see any whales or dolphins but after searching we came across the pod of dolphins (had to be thousands of them) and we both were squealing with delight! Definitely a must next time you’re there.

  • Wanderlust Vegans
    March 5, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    I have never seen the TV show but have heard of it before. I can see why they would want to set it there since it looks absolutely stunning. Looking on the beach in the tide pools sounds like a lot of fun. What a great place to visit in California.

    • kallsypage
      March 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM

      I personally haven’t watched it either but had a few friends that swooned over it! I can see it being the perfect place to film a movie or tv show as well. Thank you!

  • Katie
    March 6, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    This looks like an amazing place! I’ve never been to California, but Laguna Beach has always been at the top of my list. The pirate tower looks like it’d be such a cool thing to visit- thanks for all of the great info!

  • RJ
    April 12, 2017 at 9:58 PM

    As a native Southern Californian, I just love seeing posts like this! I haven’t spent a lot of time in Laguna, but have bookmarked this page for my next trip home. Your pictures are awesome, too!

  • Paula
    May 7, 2017 at 9:01 PM

    Such a great tips and I’m glad that you seemed to have fun in my home state! I have always wanted to visited the pirate tower, it looks so cool. Someday I will have to take a trip over there just to see it.

    • Kallsy Page
      May 14, 2017 at 11:23 PM

      Where in California do you live Paula!? We have always been fond of your state. The pirate tower was such a unique place. 🙂

  • Anna Ambroszkiewicz
    May 10, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    What about watersports? Surfing or/and kiteboarding?

    • Kallsy Page
      May 14, 2017 at 11:18 PM

      Watersports are some of our favorite activities however this was such a short trip we didn’t get to enjoy any this time! Will definitely be back to experience more. 🙂

  • Jas
    June 7, 2017 at 7:55 PM

    These photos are absolutely stunning!!! I’m looking to revisit LA this upcoming September and I’m so glad I got a chance to read your blog. Definitely adding this to my trip itinerary as well and I can’t wait. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kallsy Page
      June 21, 2017 at 1:03 PM

      Thank you Jas! Laguna Beach is so close to LA that you have to add it to the list. So glad you agree! Thanks for reading.