Laguna Beach evokes images of a classic and enchanted Californian dream. South of Los Angeles is the little seaside city of Laguna Beach, California.
The beaches, art galleries, tidal pools, and of course the TV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County are all well-known attractions. While visiting this laid-back, welcoming community, Laguna Beach offers a wide variety of tourist attractions and restaurants.
22 Best Places to Visit in Laguna Beach
Additionally, it emanates a small town atmosphere and has a flourishing artistic culture. So take some ideas from our list of the top things to do in Laguna Beach, California, and start making travel plans.
1. Crystal Cove State Park
This 3,936-acre state park, which was created in 1979, includes more than three miles of Pacific beachfront.
Looking for a sunny, salty, outdoor getaway? Put this state park at the top of your list of appealing locations to visit in Laguna Beach so that you can do yourself a favour.
Along with its stunning sandy beaches, it also boasts undulating hills, mountains, and valleys covered in trees. This state park has a tonne of activities available. Here, you may do surfing, fishing, swimming, hiking, and diving all day long.
2. San Juan Capistrano
Investigate the Mission’s History of San Juan Capistrano Whether you’re a history geek or not, you’ll be enthralled by the appeal and narrative of this quest that dates back almost 250 years. Father Lasuen established Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1775, marking the beginning of the tale.
It was founded to broaden Spain’s sphere of influence and spread Christianity among the local populace. While visiting this Laguna tourist destination, the mission, which is now managed by the Catholic Church as a non-profit organisation, offers an excellent historical tour and stunning architecture.
Sunday through Friday, 9am to 5pm
Cost: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for kids, and it’s FREE for kids under 3 (prices include free audio tour)
Location: San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Highway
3. Heisler Park
One of our favourite tourist destinations in Laguna Beach is Heisler Park. It is stunningly sprawled over the cliffs and the water close to Main Beach. It’s also a terrific place to take a stroll in the afternoon or enjoy the spectacular sunsets or cotton candy sunrises that Heisler Park is known for every day.
This seaside park is free to enter and draws people in with its abundance of family-friendly facilities. Visiting this park is without a doubt among the best family activities in Laguna Beach. It’s a beautiful area for a sunny afternoon with the family, complete with picnic tables, barbecues, and chairs.
Additionally, it makes some of the other amazing sites in Laguna Beach accessible and convenient. Admire the park’s intricate sculptures, soaring palm palms, and open grassy areas as you stroll through it. In addition, you can have a picnic there and take in the breathtaking sunset.
You can stay as little or as long as you like at this popular tourist destination in Laguna Beach, but we have no doubt that you’ll be back. We frequented Heisler Park several times during our stay in Laguna Beach to watch the dawn or sunset.
Location: At 375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, California 92651.
4. Pacific Marine Mammal Center
This animal care institution, established in 1971, rescues, treats, and releases marine mammals back into the water. A rescue centre called Pacific Marine offers a personal experience through its instructional programmes and tours.
This institution houses and cares for Pacific harbour seals, Northern fur seals, and California sea lions, making it ideal for curious kids. View some of the creatures they have saved as you take a tour of the facility. You may discover more about the procedures used to heal and release their rescued animals.
Location: 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
5. Laguna Art Museum
This museum on Pacific Coast Highway is the oldest cultural establishment in the region and was first opened in 1918. Look no farther than this museum if you’re looking for exciting indoor activities to do when it’s rainy or cold.
This museum contains a remarkable collection of more than 2,500 pieces from the 19th century to the present, despite its relatively small size. Explore the museum’s varied collection of sculptures, abstract art, historical oil paintings, and landscapes.
Location: 307 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
6. Laguna Beach Trolley
This public transportation system offers free trips every weekend along the South Coast Highway. Looking for more inexpensive things to do nearby?
Then, don’t forget to ride the Laguna Beach Trolley for nothing. The most interesting sites to view this weekend in Laguna Beach can be found there, and it’s a cheap way to move around the city.
Visit the city’s visitor centre to learn more about the trolley, nearby attractions, and dining options. Then, board the trolley, exit at any of its 34 stations, and explore the neighbourhood.
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7. Pageant of the Masters
This event, which takes place every summer, performs for 90 minutes and features some of the most well-known pieces of art in history. The Pageant of the Masters is the only summer festival in Laguna Beach that comes close to it.
This play, which is renowned for its elegant performances, draws audiences in with its stunning recreations of modern and classical artwork. Watch their performance and be astounded by the gifted actors who pose just like the subjects of the original works of art. then take part in the festival’s additional events, such as live concerts and festival tours.
650 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
8. Crescent Bay Point Park
This coastal park, which is located a mile from Crystal Cove State Park, entices visitors with its breathtaking ocean views. For those looking for entertaining, cost-free activities to do in Laguna Beach, Crescent Bay Point Park is ideal.
This beachfront location nonetheless dazzles with Instagrammable ocean views despite being smaller than its neighbour, Heisler Park. Of course, there are many amenities in the park that are free to use, like the grassy areas and vantage points.
Visit its vantage point to take in the views of the ocean, cascading mountains, and rocky cliff faces. You might catch a distant glimpse of several migratory giants if you visit the park during the whale-watching season.
Crescent Bay Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
9. Laguna Beach Walks address
This informative guided tour eloquently describes the art, architecture, and history of the city and is led by longtime resident Janelle Naess. There are numerous tours offered by Laguna Beach Walks to suit tourists of all ages and interests.
This tour provider offers excursions to satiate your wanderlust, whether you enjoy history, exercise, or sightseeing. The best aspect is that these tours are full with beautiful views.
Take the Downtown Walk to explore a wide variety of distinctive buildings, galleries, and public artwork. This tour will take you to the most interesting city locations to explore, from tempting restaurants to underappreciated gardens.
650 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
10. Sawdust Art and Craft Festival
This non-profit festival, which takes place twice a year, aims to highlight Laguna Beach’s thriving arts community. Over 180,000 people come to the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival each year to take part in its artistic events.
This festival astonishes attendees in numerous ways, from art demonstrations to live entertainment. Visit an outdoor café to indulge in a tasty meal while taking in some live music and entertainment. You can also participate in their art demonstrations, which feature a variety of media like glassblowing, painting, and woodworking.
935 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
11. Murphy-Smith Historical Bungalow
The Laguna Beach Historical Society manages this cottage, which was constructed in 1923 for the Murphy family. One of the distinctive sights in Laguna Beach is the Murphy-Smith Historical Bungalow. With its multi-gabled roof and clapboard exterior, this bungalow is steeped in history and provides a window into the past of the neighbourhood.
Learn more about city life in the early 1920s by taking a docent-led tour of the home. You can take your time looking at the building’s old photos and artefacts while you tour it.
Murphy Smith Bungalow 278 Ocean Ave Laguna Beach, CA 92651
12. 1,000 Steps Beach
This nook in South Laguna is perfect for beach lovers who yearn for solitude and exploration. Contrary to common perception, reaching the beach doesn’t require descending a thousand steps.
You’ll find a steep stairway covered in vines when you arrive. You will reach 1,000 Steps Beach, which is among the nicest beaches in the LA area, after descending this one-way down and one-way up staircase.
There are two caves to explore in the cove you can see on the beach to your left. We discovered numerous tidal pools inside and relished the calming sound of the waves breaking against the rocks. If you intend to hike in the caves, make sure to wear appropriate footwear; alternatively, take in the beauty of the beach, as there is much to see there as well.
In actuality, getting to this beachfront refuge just requires 200 steps. Additionally, despite some difficulty in getting there, those who go to this beach will be rewarded by its exquisite Southern California surroundings.
This beach will provide you with a tonne of Instagram-worthy photos thanks to its lush cliffs, stunning coastline, and palm trees. You may unwind on this piece of paradise while also exploring its magnificent sea caves and tide pools.
Location: 31972 Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA92651
13. Main Beach
This beach is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating places to visit right now because to its convenient location and family-friendly attractions.
Our favourite things to do in Laguna Beach at night are on the beach, from captivating sunsets to fantastic restaurants. In addition, the strip has amenities like sports courts, showers, and restrooms, as well as lifeguards.
Enjoy the stunning atmosphere of the beach at dusk. Additionally, you can take advantage of its attractions, which include its playgrounds, boardwalk, and basketball and volleyball courts.
14. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
This wilderness area, which is overseen by Orange County Parks, has 700 acres of coastal canyons and undeveloped lakes. Looking for some entertaining outdoor activities in Laguna Beach?
Why not explore this wilderness for a while? This park will satiate your hunger for outdoor adventures with its breath-taking scenery and trail system. Take a stroll through the park’s valleys, through its forests, and along its creeks and lakes. You’ll pass by hills along the road with lookouts that provide picturesque views of the Pacific.
18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
15. Monthly Art Walk
This joyous cultural celebration, which was established in 1998, takes place on the first Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 PM. Thanks to this regular educational event, the city’s artistic season and creative spirit grow all year long. This event, which is free, provides a free shuttle to take guests to the hip galleries in the city.
It also features world-class musical acts and wine tastings. Take advantage of the free trolley service to get to the more than 40 participating art galleries. You can listen to live music, sip refreshments, and see demonstrations inside the galleries.
16. Laguna Canyon Winery
First urban winery in Orange County produces top-notch wines from premium Sonoma and Napa Valley grapes. This winery is a real pleasure for tourists and oenophiles because to its handcrafted, award-winning wines that are made especially for them.
This winery offers a variety of award-winning wines, from trademark reds to conventional pours. Visit the tasting room to sip some of their outstanding wine selections. This visit has the potential to be both an instructive and enjoyable experience thanks to their dedicated personnel.
2133 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
17. Treasure Island Park
This waterfront park, which is located in Montage Laguna Beach, provides views of the area’s renowned coastline. Without this refuge on the oceanfront, no list of the top things to do in Laguna Beach, California is complete.
This wonderfully landscaped park charms guests with its delectable views and convenient access to the beach. Not to mention, it is brimming with services appropriate for guests of all age.
Enjoy the sunshine while strolling around the walkways and looking down at the waves. Additionally, you may enjoy a picnic on the grassy grounds or take an art lesson out on the cliffs.
30799 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States
18. Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach
While visiting this tourist attraction in Laguna Beach, it would be simple to believe that you had somehow gotten to Treasure Island. Although the history of the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach is fascinating, you could also make up your own tale.
For a California senator, the tower was constructed in 1926 as an enclosed stairway to the beach. Later, the senator sold his house to Harold Kendrick, a retired naval captain. In his pirate attire, Kendrick would invite guests over for tales and treasure hunts.
At low tide, you can go to the Pirate Tower and pretend it’s Rapunzel’s famed tower or that it was previously a part of a castle.
Location: 2713 Victoria Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
19. Mini tide pools in Laguna Beach
Observing the tidal pools in Laguna Beach was really cool! Tide pools can be found all over the Laguna Beach region. Each site is unique and has a variety of sea life that can come and go as they want and others who have made it their permanent home.
If you intend to visit the tide pools at Laguna Beach, be sure to abide by a few basic viewing precautions to prevent harming or destroying the habitats of these delicate ecosystems. Be extremely cautious when climbing on the rocks and don’t touch or steal anything from the tide pools, living or not.
Make careful to plan accordingly because tide pools are only accessible at low tide!
Locations of Mini tide pools in Laguna Beach
- 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
20. Dolphin and Whale Watching With Captain Dave at Dana Point Harbor Drive
During our boating excursion with Captain Dave, we observed a few dolphins.
Dana Point, a city close to Laguna Beach, is another popular tourist destination. If you go on a cruise with Captain Dave, you’re in for a treat! You can get up close and personal with aquatic life on this whale watching cruise in a number of different ways.
To watch dolphins jumping and playing directly in front of you and whales swimming beautifully, climb to the bow. To see what is beneath the sea, you can also go to one of the underwater observation pods. Check out Captain Dave’s website’s whale sightings to learn more about the various sea creatures that each season brings in!
Advice for Captain Dave’s Adventure:
- Aim to arrive about 30 minutes before the start of your trip.
- If you are susceptible to motion sickness, take Dramamine (or another medication).
- If you are close to the bow, get ready to get wet!
- Because it can be windy when the boat is moving, bring a lightweight jacket.
Price: $65, $45 for children, and $20 for infants
The address is 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive.
21. Balboa Island
Many people still like visiting the Balboa Island attractions, which are still thriving. We took an uber to the ferry loading area, then the $1 one-way ferry to the island.
While on the island, browse the souvenir stores along the coast and get tickets for some of the rides at Balboa Fun Zone, one of the most well-liked kid-friendly destinations in the Newport Beach region. Don’t forget to purchase a frozen banana wrapped in chocolate, an island specialty delight!
Address: Balboa Island, Newport Beach
22. Shake From Ruby’s Diner
The 1940s-style diner franchise Ruby’s Diner is well-known for its American cooking and hearty milkshakes! We adored the bebopping oldies music and retro appeal of the antique cars parked out front.
There are a variety of places where you may visit this Laguna Beach attraction and enjoy a shake from Ruby’s, but we have only been to the one on Balboa Pier, which is ideal if you chance to be visiting the Balboa Island attractions. There is also one in the center of Laguna Beach.
Address: 1 Balboa Pier