best day ever: laguna beach, california

{Author: Sam Gerard}

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My parents live in Laguna for the majority of the year, so I’ve spent quite a lot of time there. I feel so lucky to call it (kind of) home and it’s truly one of the most aesthetically beautiful towns I’ve ever been seen. The relaxed vibe, amazing weather, and plentiful locations to marvel at the Pacific’s beauty make it a truly special place.

I’ve had my fair share of wonderful days in Laguna Beach, but here’s what I’d do if I had one day, determined to have the best day ever. 🙂

top of the world hiking trail

Hike at Top of the World Trail: There are a few hiking trails in Laguna and Newport – my favorite being the Top of the World trails. You can choose your path and go just a few miles or make it a real workout and spend hours there. There’s a 3-mile loop we’ve done a few times and I think it’s a perfect start to any morning. It brings you to a beautiful look-out point and is a great workout but not too physically demanding. You can plug “Top of the World Hiking Trails” into your GPS!

Breakfast at C’est La Vie: This place is right in town, practically on the beach, and has amazing omelettes. It’s really casual. Nothing super special when it comes to first impressions – but if you get a seat outside and order the California omelette (crab, avocado, and cheese), you will be very happy.

  • Alternate Breakfast Option #1: While Las Brisas doesn’t have the best food in the world, they do have killer views. The food isn’t bad at all – it’s just not going to surprise you (I wouldn’t recommend it solely based on the menu).  However, the atmosphere is great and they serve pretty good brunch drinks (yum to bloody mary’s).
  • Alternate Breakfast Option #2Babette’s isn’t technically in Laguna – it’s in Newport Beach, a few miles north from the center of town. There’s no ocean view, but it’s a super cute/trendy place that has healthier breakfast options including fresh juices, smoothies, and amazing lattes.
crescent bay beach

Beach Day at Crescent Bay: Since Main Beach tends to get very crowded (especially on weekends), I’d recommend heading to a “local” beach like Crescent Bay. There’s no public parking – you just have to park on the street near the walkway down to the beach. It’s a beautiful small beach with fun body surfing waves.

  • Alternate Beach Option: Head south to Thousand Steps Beach. It’s a much bigger beach and breathtaking – once you get down the 1,000 steps! Parking is a pain because you have to park on PCH. Once you see signs for the Hospital, park on the side of the highway (be careful getting out and crossing)! It’s not marked very well, but walking directions on your GPS will take you there.
lunch & drinks at the deck

Lunch at The Deck: One of my favorite spots for lunch is a spot in south Laguna (right past town) called The Deck. The menu is full of my favorite things and has some really yummy drinks, too (try The Red Tide)! There’s a beautiful view of the beach and there’s just a cool vibe. It gets crowded, so either go right when it opens or expect to wait a bit for a table!

  • Alternate Lunch Option: If you’re a fan of tacos or poke, you have to check out Bear Flag Fish Co. It’s actually technically in Newport Beach, but just a few minutes from Laguna. They have tuna and salmon poke and fish tacos that are so fresh and delicious. This place gets pretty crowded too, so expect to wait in line to order. It’s worth it.

Walk Around Town: The actual town/main area of Laguna Beach is pretty small, but it’s seriously cute. There’s some really great shops – many of which I’ve found some great gifts. Check out Tuvalu for chic home stuff, Bleachers for cool vintage sports shirts, and Blue Eyed Girl for clothing and accessories. If Blue Eyed Girl was my closet, I’d be a VERY happy girl.

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sunset at the rooftop

Sunset at The Rooftop: One of my most favorite (and highly recommended places is The Rooftop). It’s the most perfect place to watch a sunset and the mojito’s are unreal. It gets crowded in the few hours leading up to sunset, but it’s worth it to go even if you can’t get a table. I always bring visitors there.

Dinner in Town: There are honestly too many amazing restaurants in Laguna Beach to be able to choose just one – so I’ll list some of the ones I’ve been to and loved.

  • Broadway: New American. Kind of pricey. The bone marrow is unreal.
  • Nick’s: Amazing cocktails. Fun vibe. And you have to get the fried chicken.
  • 230 Forest: Can’t go wrong here. Great menu and good vibe.
  • Alessa: Great location. Affordable. Delicious pasta.
  • K’ya Bistro (below The Rooftop): One of my favs. Amazing menu of tapas. Lots of options.
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live music at marine room

Drinks and Live Music: Last time I was in town, we stumbled upon Marine Room and I was so surprised I hadn’t been there before. It’s cozy (there’s comfy chairs and a fireplace – perfect for colder winter nights), a pool table, and usually there’s also live music.

  • Alternate After Dinner Drinks Option: Laguna Beach doesn’t have much of a nightlife, but the Skyloft tends to get a good crowd on weekend nights. I’ve been there for an after dinner drink and had fun. It’s in a great location right in the middle of town (next to Tommy Bahama, right across from Main Beach).
christmas eve at marine room

There are so many other awesome things to do in Laguna Beach – every time I visit, I wish there was more time in a day. There’s awesome art galleries, a plethora of beautiful beaches, and countless lookout points that look like screen savers.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking to make my best day ever even better 🙂

crescent bay beach



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