The city of Laguna Beach is situated just over 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles, California on the lovely Pacific Coast. Among its attractions are numerous soft sand beaches, a warm Mediterranean climate, pristine natural areas, and fascinating museums. Activities near Laguna Beach vacation rentals include swimming, surfing, cycling, kayaking, and whale watching. Here are the top things to do in and around Laguna Beach.
1. Main Beach Park
Popular Main Beach Park, also known as Laguna’s Window to the Sea, lies in the midst of the downtown area. The park has a children’s playground, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, picnic tables, and public restrooms and showers. Take a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk that follows the beach, explore the tide pool area on the north side, and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and playtime on the sand and in the water.
2. CA Surf Shop
Laguna Beach has a long surfing tradition. Beaches popular with surfers include the Rockpile, St. Ann’s Beach, and Pearl Street Beach. You can learn this iconic California sport through CA Surf Shop, which rents, repairs, and sells surfboards and wetsuits. Expert teachers also offer surfing and body boarding lessons for beginning and intermediate surfers.
3. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Magnificent Laguna Coast Wilderness Park lies within coastal canyons on the east side of Laguna Beach. About 40 miles of hiking trails take you over rocky bluffs and through sycamore and oak forests. Enjoy breathtaking views, and observe wildlife such as mule deer, bobcats, weasels, and red-tailed hawks. Start your exploration of the park at the Nix Nature Center, which offers interpretive displays, guided hikes, and educational programs.
4. HIP District
Make your shopping an immersive experience at the HIP District. HIP stands for Historic and Interesting Places, and this vibrant area represents a rebirth of the city’s original historic business district. The HIP District features fashionable clothing stores, florists, jewelry shops, a bookshop, and other unique establishments. The area also has numerous art galleries, restaurants, and outdoor coffee shops.
5. Pacific Marine Mammal Center
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit organization that rescues and cares for marine mammals that are stranded or injured along the Southern California coast. Animals that the facility temporarily shelters include elephant seals, harbor seals, fur seals, and sea lions. The center also sometimes holds dolphins and small whales. This fascinating and educational facility is free for visitors.
6. Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park
Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park is an immense 4,500-acre nature preserve located a few miles east of Laguna Beach. The park has wooded hills, grasslands, flowing streams, and rare plants and animals. The numerous trails are popular for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Take the easy walk to Dripping Cave, which stagecoach robbers used as a hideout in the 1800s.
7. La Vida Laguna
Kayaking and paddle boarding are great methods to explore the waterways around Laguna Beach, and La Vida Laguna offers tours with expert guides to make the experience as interesting and safe as possible. The ocean kayak tour takes you along the coast for up-close looks at beaches and bluffs as well as marine life such as sea lions and dolphins. Stand-up paddleboard tours offer a lesson on techniques and then a trip to Seal Rock, a sanctuary for sea lions.
8. Laguna Beach Historical Society
The Laguna Beach Historical Society resides in the Murphy-Smith Historical Bungalow, a house originally built in 1923. The picturesque bungalow, which is decorated in the style of a 1920s beach cottage, serves as a museum with interesting memorabilia of local history. The volunteer docents can also give you information about self-guided walking tours of the Laguna Beach area.
9. Laguna Art Museum
The Laguna Art Museum, located on a cliff at the north end of Main Beach Park, highlights the work of California artists. Its permanent collection contains over 3,500 works from the 1800s to the present. In addition, the museum features rotating exhibits that change every few months. Special programs include docent-guided tours, educational studios, and camps for children.
10. Captain Dave’s Whale Watching
Getting up close to whales on the open ocean is an unforgettable and thrilling experience. Captain Dave’s Whale Watching headquarters at Dana Point, which is just south of Laguna Beach. Take a tour to view blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales, and dolphins in their natural environment. Unique underwater viewing pods allow you to see the marine mammals as they swim under the ocean’s surface.
11. Crystal Cove State Park
Beautiful Crystal Cove State Park lies a few miles north of Laguna Beach along Highway 1. The park features over three miles of pristine beach and 2,400 acres of forest. The beach is popular for swimming, sunbathing, tide pool exploration, and surfing. The forest is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Scuba divers frequent the offshore underwater park.
12. Laguna Sea Sports
The waters off Laguna Beach offer amazing opportunities for scuba diving. Laguna Sea Sports offers lessons for beginning and intermediate divers to help you get started. Private instructions, group diving, and open water diving all include equipment and experienced teachers who put safety first.
13. Laguna Beach Cyclery
Whether you want to peddle leisurely along the beach-front boardwalk or explore rugged canyon trails by mountain bike, Laguna Beach offers plenty of great opportunities for cycling. Laguna Beach Cyclery rents an assortment of bicycles fit for city streets or rough terrain. Established in 1971, the shop has experienced cycling experts who can point you to the best routes and trails.
14. Dana Wharf Sportfishing
Dana Wharf Sportfishing in Dana Point Harbor just south of Laguna Beach offers charters to take you out fishing on the open Pacific Ocean. Enjoy magnificent views as you angle for halibut, yellowtail, barracuda, tuna, and sea bass. Rods and reels are available to rent, and the skippers and crew are experienced in finding out where the big fish are.
15. Catalina Express
The Catalina Express leaves from Dana Point Harbor and takes you for a one and a half hour cruise out to lovely Catalina Island. Spend the day exploring this amazing island paradise before returning on the cruiser. Things to do on the island include swimming, kayaking, cycling, shopping, and sightseeing.
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