Visiting Laguna Beach is like stepping into a postcard. There are dozens of art galleries, secluded coves and one-of-a-kind eateries. Even after working in Laguna for a year (and making it my goal to try all of the delicious restaurants) I have yet to make a dent in this city’s growing restaurant scene. I decided to list some of my favorite beaches and favorite places to eat in Laguna Beach below.
MY FAVORITE BEACHES //
There’s really not a bad beach in Laguna (although Main Beach is pretty darn crowded and touristy.) Here are my favorites in no particular order:
- Shaw’s Cove. A beautiful and small beach with epic snorkeling.
- Treasure Island. Located beneath the Montage, this beach usually has smaller waves. Not to mention you can walk around on the Montage grounds and the property is absolutely breathtaking.
- Table Rock. Table Rock beach is truly stunning and it’s fairly small which tends to keep crowds down.
- Thousand Steps. Thousand Steps gets its name from the steep set of stairs leading down to the picturesque beach that lies below. This is popular location for those looking for a tough cardio workout. Fun fact, I counted and there are actually only 211 steps – which is still quite a hike.
OTHER LAGUNA MUST-SEES //
- Sawdust Festival. Admission is only $8, and the Sawdust Festival combines everything that makes Laguna unique. Unlike it’s coastal neighbor cities, Dana Point and Newport Beach, Laguna Beach was founded as an artist colony. The same artist vibes fill the city to this day, making it one of the more laid back beach towns in Orange County.
- Pageant of the Masters. I have yet to visit, but I have heard so many great things about the Pageant of the Masters. Famous works of art are portrayed by human beings and it’s apparently a once in a life time experience.
- Top of the World hike. Popular among teenagers on weekend evenings, top of the world boasts ocean views as well as views of most of Orange County. If you’re feeling up for it there are quite a few hiking trails that stem out from Top of the World. Beware though, it’s quite hilly – it’s not named Top of the World for no reason!
- Heisler Park. All of the photos throughout this post were taken at different locations throughout Heisler Park. Heisler Park is like a greenbelt that stretches along the side of the ocean with many different grassy fields and picnic tables. It’s the perfect place to set up a picnic if you want to enjoy the view without getting all sandy.
WHAT TO BRING //
Before you visit Laguna, there are a few essential items that you won’t want to be without. I’ve linked some of my favorite products below and these are some of my must-have beach bag items:
- A light concealer. You don’t want anything heavy for when you hit the beach. Clinique is my favorite brand when it comes to light coverage.
- Denim skirt. I’m totally digging the fact that the 90’s are coming back in style and that denim skirts are no longer a thing of the past.
- Your favorite shades.
- A pair of jeans for chilly evenings.
- Flip flops for the beach/ and sneakers for walking around downtown.
- Your go-to hair product. Mine recent obsession is Aveda’s smooth infusion for keeping frizz away.
- A casual dress that can be worn both at the beach and at a cafe. (I’m all about convenience)
CASUAL DINING ($-$$)//
- La Sirena. Fresh and delicious Mexican food – definitely order their nachos. I prefer the South Laguna location because there is plenty of parking and space to spread out. The downtown location is great for grabbing your food and bringing it to eat by the beach.
- Zeytoon Cafe. Hidden gem alert! If you are looking for a place to escape from the crowds, look no further than Zeytoon cafe. Their upstairs patio is gorgeously decorated and is the perfect place to enjoy one of their famous paninis.
- The Grove on Forest. This place is truly a hidden gem. Stop in for a coffee and cronut (croissant donut hybrid) before wandering the shops downtown.
- Jan’s Health Bar. Jan’s Health Bar is kind of the epitome of Laguna Beach cuisine. Being healthy is trendy here and eating at Jan’s makes it so much less of a chore. My favorite is the krunchy kale wrap!
- Moulin Cafe. This adorable cafe will make you feel like you’re in Paris and who doesn’t love that? Everything I have tried there so far is amazing, especially their freshly made crepes.
- Anastasia Cafe. Another hidden gem in downtown Laguna is Anastasia Cafe. I really enjoy their caprese panini. Order a frozen mocha and you will be surprised with an adorable face made from strawberries and blueberries on top – not to mention it’s delicious.
- Zinc Cafe & Market. This place is 100% vegetarian and there are so many amazing menu options. Their waffles are literally the best I’ve ever had, but I’m also a huge fan of their salads and pizzas. And you definitely can’t visit Zinc without ordering one of their photogenic (and delicious) cappuccinos.
IN BETWEEN CASUAL AND FANCY ($$-$$$)
- The Deck. Located at the Pacific Edge Hotel, the Deck is the place to be for happy hour. I recommend their homemade vodka lemonade or their famous Red Tide.
- Driftwood Kitchen. Also located at the Pacific Edge, Driftwood Kitchen shares the same amazing ocean view as The Deck. Both are perched just above main beach and both have modern and delicious menu options. I recommend their French Onion Soup!
- The Lumberyard. This was our go-to for Father’s day this year. Everything on their menu is amazing, but the ribs are by far their standout dish.
- The Loft at the Montage. This restaurant falls on the higher end of the budget scale, however I still consider it fairly casual especially for lunch. Nothing beats the service at the Montage, except for maybe their grilled cheese with tomato bisque. I highly recommend visiting the Loft even if just for appetizers. You will be treated like royalty.
My list ends here, mostly because I have not yet had the opportunity to dine at the fine dining restaurants of Laguna. Someday when my budget permits I will add more to this list. Until then I hope you enjoy my other recommendations. Comment below if you are planning a trip to Laguna or if you have any personal favorites you think I should add to my list!