My love affair with Laguna Beach started when I was a child. My parents took me to the beach, we searched for sea animals in the tide pools, and we spent many hours playing Smashball under the sun. Now as an adult, it has become my go-to beach destination in California, where I can retreat with the best of amenities. Top dining, peaceful views, and a slower pace to its neighboring cities, Laguna Beach is my ultimate California vacation. A short flight from San Francisco into John Wayne Airport, you can arrive to the city in time for lunch.
How to Spend 48 hours in Laguna Beach
Day 1: Local Favorites + A lot of Food
9 a.m. A good fuel up is always in store, and a favorite has been Urth Cafe on the PCH. A healthy start to the day, fresh juices, and a wide range of breakfast options.
11 a.m. On the days that sun tends to take a bit longer to come into full affect, the art galleries are your best friend. What was once a colony for artists, Laguna Beach is thick with galleries. My favorite starting point is Laguna Art Museum.
12:30 p.m With an afternoon of activites, a proper lunch will do just right, and where else but some casual Mexican food at La Sirena.
2 p.m. Head down to the main beach and enjoy the wildlife at the tide pools. Just remember, you can’t take them home with you no matter how cute they are!
4:00 p.m. A late snack and a latte is mandatory when you have the option of Zinc. Both a restaurant and a take away spot, there’s a full deli with yummy options.
5:30 p.m. When you heard that California sunsets are the best, Laguna Beach is the best example. Setting up shop for the sunset is necessary, and the Rooftop Lounge has some of the best views in town.
6:30 p.m. Head down the street to one of my favorite restaurants in town, Three Seventy Common. The only restaurant I’ve found to be time and time again to deliver good food with incredible service. It’s modern-American menu has a wide range of local fare.
9 p.m. Though most of the nightlife may move up the coast, Laguna Beach has a few contenders for a nightcap. Driftwood Kitchen has a great bar, and can also serve as a good happy hour spot.
Day 2: A Drive or Two, with Outdoor Experiences
9 a.m. Normally I would say to stay in Laguna, but with the opening of Cafe Gratitude in Newport Beach, the quick 20-minute drive is worth it for a favorite restaurant.
11:00 a.m. Since you’re already in Newport Beach, head down to Lido Marina Village, the new open-air shopping district. With great shops like Steve Alan, Aesop, and more, this is the best of designers from LA.
12:30 p.m. On your way back down to Laguna Beach, your options for lunch range from Cucina Enoteca at Fashion Island, to Javier’s in Crystal Cove, or healthy eats at Active Culture back in Laguna Beach.
1:30 p.m. It’s time to get in those crystal clear waters, whether you want to do SUP or kayak, La Vida Laguna is your tour guide.
3:30 p.m. After some activity, a healthy acai bowl will cool you off, and Banzai Bowls on PCH may be the best around.
4:30 p.m. Down the street you can hop into the new concept store for all things outdoor at Poler.
5:30 p.m. Catch the sunset one more time, and head to the beautiful Montage Laguna Beach. Though the rooms can be pricey, the views come free. Grab a glass of wine or cocktail and take in the views.
7:00 p.m. Don’t go too far, stick around at the Montage for their fine dining experience at Studio or keep it low-key at The Loft.
Inn at Laguna Beach: An approachable hotel, with a great location. Within footsteps of most of Laguna Beach, the comfortable rooms are a great fit for travelers.