While many associate Laguna Beach with the reality TV show by the same name, there’s a whole lot more to this lovely seaside resort city. With a wonderfully inviting mild climate, picturesque natural beauty, and plenty of family-friendly attractions, you’ll never run out of things to do and see in this Orange County area. Of course, the pristine beaches should be at the top of your list, but don’t forget to take a hike at Crystal Cove State Park or Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. There are so many wonderful places to visit in this Orange County gem. Book your Laguna Beach vacation rental today. That said, here are 11 of the best destinations to check out in and around Laguna Beach.
1. Newport Beach
Located just a 20-minute drive north of Laguna Beach is Newport Beach. It’s a luxurious area, but vacation rentals tend to run a little cheaper. Besides giving you easy access to Laguna Beach, Newport Beach has plenty of family-friendly attractions of its own, including the Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, where you can explore over 1,000 acres of scenic nature by foot or by bicycle. No trip to Newport Beach is complete without a trip to Balboa Pier, where you can enjoy people watching, fishing, dining or just relaxing by the ocean. Other popular attractions include the Balboa Island Ferry, Fashion Island, Crystal Cove State Park, and the County Museum of Art
Fullerton is a great place to stay if you’re traveling with kids. It’s a great laid-back city, but there are plenty of family-oriented neighborhoods where you can find vacation rentals. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s just a quick drive away from Laguna Beach. Pack a cooler, and head to Laguna Lake Park where you can spend the day boating, fishing or even horseback riding. The Fullerton Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a gorgeous 26-acre area with more than 4,000 different types of plants, complete with trails for exploring and a museum where you can learn all about the local flora.
3. Yorba Linda
If you’re looking for luxurious vacation rentals, Yorba Linda is the place for you. It’s one of the wealthiest areas in Orange County, but it still has a welcoming small-town feel. Jessamyn West Park is a great place to relax in the sun, play some volleyball, or explore the garden. There’s also a great playground for the kids. Yorba Linda is a golfer’s paradise, boasting some of the finest courses in the country.
4. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is a fantastic place to seek out oceanfront vacation rentals. The area is famous for its pristine beaches with fine, white sand and crystalline waters. It’s a haven for people who love surfing, boating, water-skiing and other water sports, but there are plenty of other attractions away from the beaches, including unique shops and restaurants, exciting nightlife, and a variety of art galleries. Huntington Dog Beach is the ultimate treat for your four-legged travel companion.
5. Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo is a delightful place to stay if you want to avoid the touristy areas while still maintaining access to all that SoCal has to offer. It’s situated right between San Diego and Los Angeles, and it’s just a stone’s throw from Laguna Beach. It’s a residential area, perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city living. Its convenient location is the main attraction, but, be sure to stop by Aliso Viejo Ice Palace, an indoor ice skating rink that’s open all year.
If you want easy access to Orange County without paying Laguna Beach prices, Irvine is a great place to look for vacation rentals. Don’t be fooled by the relatively lower price point — this area has plenty of O.C. class, charm, and beauty. While you’re in town, make sure you bring the kids to Pretend City, an exciting hands-on museum where kids can pretend to be firefighters, mail deliverers, farmers, bankers and so much more. There are 17 exhibits to explore, providing your children with the opportunity to have fun while learning at the same time.
Anaheim is home to Disneyland, one of the world’s most beloved theme parks. When you’re not being enchanted by the characters, rides and overall magic atmosphere, you can explore Anaheim’s many fine restaurants, unique shops, and scenic parks. Adventure City is another family-friendly theme park that’s not as expensive as Disneyland; a perfect if you’re traveling on a budget.
8. Mission Viejo
If you’re willing to splurge on your vacation rental, Mission Viejo is a delightful choice. This upscale community has plenty to offer in the way of luxury and natural beauty. The small city is surrounded by stunning hills, and there’s a giant lake right in the center of the city. Besides the scenic hiking and boating options, Mission Viejo is known for its world-class shopping options and exquisite fine dining.
9. Lake Forest
If you’re an outdoors person, you’re going to love Lake Forest. This scenic area is known for its excellent state parks. Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center is one of the area’s most popular attractions, offering sports fields and courts, outdoor exercise equipment, gazebos for picnicking, two different playgrounds, and much more.
10. Garden Grove
Teeming with beautiful orange blossoms and other flowers and plant life, Garden Grove is a gorgeous area to seek vacation rentals. Bring the kids to the playground at Atlantis Play Center, and then beat the heat at the center’s water park. The Crystal Cathedral church is truly a sight to behold, and the Garden Grove Historical Society’s Stanley Ranch Museum and Historical Village provides a fascinating glimpse into the area’s history.
11. Santa Ana
Santa Ana is just 15 miles from Laguna Beach. It’s the second most populated city in Orange County, and it boasts a huge range of family-friendly activities. Kids and adults alike are sure to love the interactive Discovery Cube science museum. The Bowers Museum is another fascinating destination, with exhibits containing artifacts from all across the globe. While you’re in town, don’t forget to say hello to the wide variety of exotic wildlife at the Santa Ana Zoo.