Here are some things to know about Laguna Beach. Firstly, it’s a city on the southern California coast that’s home to beautiful beaches, excellent walking trails, and fun seasonal events. When you head to the beach, rest assured there are plenty of things to do at the beach in California, like snorkeling, surfing, body surfing, scuba diving, and even playing volleyball on the sand.
Although it’s a popular summertime destination, there are definitely things to do in Laguna Beach when it rains as well. This includes visiting the rescued seals and sea lions at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and seeing the California art at the Laguna Art Museum. Keep reading for the best of Laguna Beach, including the area’s most popular beaches and attractions.
1. Heisler Park
Heisler Park is a beautiful oceanfront park along the bluffs at Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach; between Aster Street and Diver’s Cove. It’s home to walking trails, manicured gardens, a marine refuge with tide pools, interesting public artworks, picnic tables and barbecues, and a lawn bowling club. Don’t miss checking out the view from Recreation Point either. Heisler Park is surrounded by other natural landmarks too, like Main Beach, as well as Fishermans and Shaw Cove.
2. Victoria Beach
One of the city’s most famous beaches, Victoria Beach is well-known for its unique Pirate Tower. The singular spire was built into the beach’s rocky cliff in 1926, and acted as a private staircase to the estate on top of the cliff. Victoria Beach is also known for its iconic man-made pool (made famous thanks to Instagram), as well as its surfing and snorkeling opportunities. Head to Victoria Beach if you want an uncrowded and fun beach experience.
3. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
The Big Bend/Bommer Ridge/Willow Trail is a 4.8-mile loop trail within Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Rated as moderate, it’s best enjoyed between November and May. Along the way you’ll be rewarded with beautiful wildflower vistas, ocean views and snow capped mountains in the distance. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park itself is a 7000-acre park in the San Joaquin Hills. It’s home to coastal canyons, rolling hills, ridgeline views, and Orange County’s only natural lakes.
4. Crescent Bay Point Park
Just down the road from Heisler Park, Crescent Bay Point Park is another oceanfront park along the bluffs at Cliff Drive. It features landscaped and open green space with benches, as well as panoramic views of the ocean and southern Orange County shoreline. Next door is Crescent Bay Beach, a sheltered inlet with golden sand and tide pools. A visit to Crescent Bay Point Park and Beach are two of the most fun things to do in Laguna Beach in summer.
5. Laguna Art Museum
The area’s oldest cultural institution, Laguna Art Museum was founded in 1918 and is dedicated to California art. It focuses on collecting, caring for and exhibiting artwork that was either created by Californian artists, or that represents California life, culture or history. The museum’s permanent collection includes over 3500 works of art; from the early 19th century to today. Laguna Art Museum is perfectly positioned on top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean as well.
6. Sawdust Art Festival
Sawdust Art & Craft Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and promoting art created by local artists. The Sawdust Art & Craft Festival happens annually from June to August, with a handcrafted village where you can see and shop the works of over 200 local artists. The festival includes live music, art workshops, and demonstrations as well. The organization also hosts an Annual Winter Fantasy Festival on the weekends from mid-November to Christmas.
7. Top of the World
One of the best things to do in Laguna Beach is to head up to the Top of the World. The community park is actually officially named Alta Laguna Park. Top of the World’s scenic lookout offers some of the most breathtaking views of Orange County and its coastline. There’s parking available, or you could alternatively hike up to the Top of the World via the Canyon Acres Trail. The 2.4-mile out and back trail is classified as difficult.
8. Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters
Festival of Arts is California’s longest-running outdoor fine art exhibition. Held annually from July to September, it features artwork from 140 award-winning local artists. Pageant of the Masters is an event held during the Festival of Arts at Irvine Bowl. It’s one of the world’s most unique productions, as the 90-minute performance involves bringing famous works of art to life on stage. More than 500 people bring this living pictures experience to life over 56 performances. It has to be seen to be believed!
9. Treasure Island Beach
Another one of the city’s most beautiful beaches is undoubtedly Treasure Island Beach. It’s considered a safer and calmer place to swim in Laguna Beach, as waves tend to break on the huge rocks located off its sandy shores. Treasure Island Beach is also home to tide pools and good snorkeling. There’s a long graded concrete ramp to access Treasure Island Beach, which is located just south of the luxurious Montage Resort. The resort jointly manages the beach with the city.
10. Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park is a leading California tourist destination. It features both 3.2 miles of beautiful beaches, and over 2000 acres of undeveloped woodland. The beach is popular for swimming, surfing, and scuba diving, as its offshore waters are a designated underwater park. On land, visitors can go hiking, mountain biking, camping, and horseback riding in Crystal Cove State Park. So if you’re looking for fun things to do in Laguna Beach, head to Crystal Cove State Park.
11. 1,000 Steps Beach
Firstly, let it be known that the beach isn’t 1000 steps away. Locals have counted and it’s 218 steep steps from the Pacific Coast Highway to 1000 Steps Beach. But the extra effort and impending burning calves means this beach isn’t as crowded in summer, so you can spread out on its sandy shores. 1000 Steps Beach also has one of the city’s classic shore break spots, which means it’s best for body surfers and body boarders.
12. Main Beach Park
Main Beach Park is a beach and park area situated right in the heart of Laguna Beach. Thanks to its central location, Main Beach itself is one of the city’s most popular and largest beaches. It features sand volleyball courts and tide pools. Main Beach Park also has two half basketball courts, a children’s playground, a boardwalk, open green space, and benches and picnic tables. There’s something for the entire family in Main Beach Park.
13. Laguna Beach Trolley
One of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach on the weekend is to hop on the Laguna Beach Trolley. There are eight free trolley routes that take you up and down the coast, and to the city’s most popular beaches and attractions. This includes the aforementioned Victoria Beach, Main Beach Park, Festival of Arts, and Top of the World. The Laguna Beach Trolley also operates daily for free in July and August.
14. Pacific Marine Mammal Center
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is the first of its kind in California. It’s dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and then releasing marine mammals back into the wild. They primarily rescue California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, Northern elephant seals, and Northern fur seals. People can visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to see the seals and sea lions. There’s also interactive displays, marine mammal artifacts, and the Treasure Trove gift shop. Although there’s no admission fee, donations are always appreciated.