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25 Things To Do During Your Laguna Beach Vacation

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We can’t imagine that you would have any trouble finding things to do here in Laguna Beach, but we compiled a huge list for you just in case you are fresh out of ideas! In fact, our list was so big that we had to break it down a little. Without further ado, here are 25 Things To Do During Your Laguna Beach Vacation broken down by interest:

  • 5 Things for Sports Enthusiasts To Do at Laguna Beach
  • 10 Things for Animal & Nature Lovers To Do at Laguna Beach
  • 10 Things for Arts Aficionados To Do at Laguna Beach

Hiking/Biking, Surfing, Skimboarding, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling — Here are 5 Things for Sports Enthusiasts To Do at Laguna Beach!

  1. If you enjoy hiking (or biking), you will want to try to hike to the “Top of the World”, aka Alta Laguna Park. With more than 30 miles of dirt roads and trails set above the village and offering spectacular views as it winds past canyons, ridges, woodlands and creeks. The park’s four trails extend from the West Ridge and offer loops of varying lengths.
  2. Surfing is very popular in Laguna Beach and there are several surf shops around town that rent equipment and provide lessons - so no excuses not to try it! Because we have so many coves here in Laguna Beach, there are plenty of opportunities for beginners to learn how to surf before hitting the bigger waves. Click here for a list of surf shops and beaches that allow surfing. BTW, if you are here during Memorial Day weekend, be sure to check out The Spring Fever Surfabout. This one-day surf contest is held at Thalia Street and is a great event for the whole family.
  3. Another popular sport is skimboarding; in fact, Laguna Beach actually founded the sport of skimboarding during the 1920s when Laguna Beach lifeguards began skimboarding on pieces of wood. This is a highly technical sport, so lessons are recommended if you are a newbie. For inspiration, plan a visit during August 29th and 30th and watch the competition at Aliso Beach during the World Championship of Skimboarding. The event is broadcast live and features the best skimboarders from around the world - definitely the place to be if you are a fan of the sport!
  4. If you enjoy scuba diving, you are in luck! Just fifty feet deep and approximately two hundred yards offshore at Cleo Street Beach lies a shipwreck, the Foss 125 aka “The Cleo Street Barge” that is now home to an abundance of underwater sea creatures. The Foss 125 sunk in 1958 and is still in pretty good condition and a great photo opportunity. Shaw's Cove is a popular spot for beginning divers to develop their skills and explore the reef structures, but should be avoided during times of high surf.
  5. Both Crescent Bay and Shaw's Cove offer good spots for snorkeling on both on the north and south sides of the beaches. You should see garibaldi, big sea stars, sea urchins, rockfish, sandbass, perch and eelgrass; if you are lucky, you may even see rays and small leopard sharks there as well.

Are you an animal or nature lover? Here are 10 Things for you To Do at Laguna Beach!

  1. Bird watchers are in luck because Laguna Beach is a bird sanctuary and home to several unique and endangered species. Click here to learn more and to find the best birding locations for bird watching in Orange County.
  2. The Hortense Miller Garden covers two and a half acres of the upper slopes of Boat Canyon and is a wonderful demonstration of the range of plants that can be grown in Southern California’s coastal zones. There are now in excess of 800 species of plants and 150 natives in the garden.
  3. With over 20,000 acres of wilderness in Laguna Beach, there are many things to see and many activities available for both children and adults and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a terrific place to spend the day exploring the various bike, hiking and equestrian trails, and to enjoy scenic overlooks and interpretive programs. Artists, photographers and writers will find plenty of inspiration on the trails.
  4. Located in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, you will find multiple trails leading to Barbara's Lake, a 12-acre lake and the largest of the three Laguna Lakes in Orange County, California.
  5. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is the only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center in Orange County and specializes in rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine mammals. Admission is free and donations are accepted.
  6. The Laguna Canyon Foundation is dedicated to preserving, protecting, enhancing and promoting the South Coast Wilderness – a network of open space that includes Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park in Orange County, California. They offer many public programs including: health & fitness hikes, bike rides, yoga, family programs and interpretive hikes.
  7. Since the early 1990s, after a wildfire burned across 14,000 acres and destroyed or damaged 441 homes in Laguna Beach, the city has “employed” goats to eat weeds and grass in order to prevent “fuel” for potential flames. Up to 600 goats were grazing the hillsides at one point. Check with the Laguna Beach Fire Department at (949) 407-0700 (non-emergency line) to find out where the goats are at for a fun photo opportunity.
  8. There are upwards of 2,000 blue whale sightings off the Laguna Beach coast each year; in fact, according to Dave Anderson, owner of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, Southern California has the highest concentration endangered Blue Whales in the world. If you want to spot the whales from land, the best location is Crescent Point in Laguna Beach or the Headlands in Dana Point, a 121-acre coastal bluff site with scenic vistas.
  9. Take a guided tour or rent a kayak at Crescent Bay and head out about 120 yards offshore toward Seal Rock to watch the sea lions that hang out there.
  10. Explore the tidepools at Heisler Park.

10 Things for Arts Aficionados To Do at Laguna Beach

  1. The Laguna Art Museum is California’s oldest museum and focuses on the cultural heritage of California and the unique history of Laguna Beach. It is dedicated to promoting an understanding of art and artists in American culture through collection, exhibition, research and instruction.
  2. An artists' haven for more than a century, Laguna Beach, California, has evolved into a renowned destination for world-class artists, festivals and galleries. It also boasts more than 85 pieces of public art, which you can enjoy for free during a self-guided art tour while shopping and eating your way through the charming village. Maps can be picked up at the Visitors Center.
  3. On the first Thursday evening of every month, enjoy an evening stroll as you choose from among 40 participating galleries offering artist receptions, refreshments, demonstrations and live music during our First Thursday Art Walk.
  4. The first Saturday of every month is the time to explore the Open Artists’ Studios, allowing you a chance to see them in their element and get a look behind the scenes of the private working studios of 26 professional artists throughout Laguna Beach. Visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net for details.
  5. The Laguna Beach Arts Commission offers a free exhibition “Art that’s Small at City Hall” to showcase local artists’ works measuring 12 inches and smaller. Exhibitions rotate several times throughout the year.
  6. View fine 21st century figurative sculptures by Richard MacDonald in the stunning sculpture garden at the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery as well as other works inside their gallery by artists such as Matisse, Chuck Close and Picasso.
  7. Pageant of the Masters
  8. Laguna’s oldest continually operating community theater, the Laguna Playhouse, offers an intimate atmosphere with five major theatrical productions a year as well as many community performing arts performances.
  9. Each year in November and December, the Sawdust Art Festival holds their annual Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy featuring fine art and crafts from over one hundred exhibitors. This is a terrific opportunity to purchase unique holiday gifts for your loved ones.
  10. The annual Plein Air Painters Invitational features 50 of the best plein air painters in the country. They are invited to compete in the Plein Air Painting Invitational held in October and hosted by the Laguna Art Museum and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

There you have it! 25 Things To Do During Your Laguna Beach Vacation -- wait, are you still looking for more things to do? Ok, here is a bonus and a special deal on our world-famous art festivals! That's right -- we have three world-famous art festivals here in Laguna Beach, the Art-A-Fair, the Festival of Arts, and the Sawdust Art Festival - and you can buy a passport for an unlimited admission all summer long to all three for only $23! Each passport includes one-time free parking in the Act V parking lot on Laguna Canyon Road and free shuttle service. Click here to purchase your pass online.

  • The Art-A-Fair International Art Show features over 125 international juried artists and master craftsmen and offers visitors a chance to browse through booths of original watercolors, oils, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass and more.
  • The Festival of Arts is a juried fine art show features original artwork by 145 of California’s most accomplished artists. Enjoy art workshops, tours, entertainment and a variety of special events during the show.
  • Experience our famous Sawdust Art Festival to browse paintings, jewelry, ceramics, photographs, sculptures, glass art and textiles native to the area. Demonstrations, workshops, entertainment, and refreshments are available. The Sawdust Art Festival was selected “Best Art Festival” by OC Weekly Magazine and features 200 local Laguna Beach artists.

Please give us a call at 949.494.6533 or 800.225.4551 to speak with our attentive, courteous staff who are ready to answer all of your questions to help you plan a memorable vacation or weekend getaway here in Laguna Beach, California!

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