I tend to make a lot of quick travel decisions based on seat sales and this was one of those trips. A lot of people were surprised by my choosing Orange County, but now that I have gone, I highly recommend it and would go back in a heartbeat. Based on this fun little trip I had here is a list of what to do, see and eat in Laguna Beach, Orange County.
This year mid-may in the OC wasn’t the warmest. It was too cold to go into the water but perfect for some light exploration and even a bit of tanning. For this trip, I took an extra day off to make it a long weekend. We arrived on Friday and began the day at Crystal Cove State Park. A short tunnel path from the parking lot will lead you to the beach. The center of the beach is a lovely area with a few shops and restaurants. All colourfully painted on the outside and a fun turquoise beach house by the boardwalk. The geography of the OC Laguna Beach Marine Reserve is mountainous, with beautiful white sands and clear blue water.
Note: If you chose not to rent a car there are various shuttles that you could take advantage of.
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This denim Levi’s jacket* has become a staple in my life, it goes with everything 🙂
Making it home for the weekend we checked into the Pacific Edge Hotel * on Laguna Beach. It is a fun little hotel with a popular beach restaurant called The Deck, nautical decor, and fairly spacious rooms. The indoor restaurant, Driftwood Kitchen, has a great brunch with an open-air sitting area. At night this space turns into a pretty happening bar where we had a couple of old-fashioned while making small talk with the locals.
The neighborhood around the hotel is charming, with a lot of restaurants, shops, and a strong beach community vibe. One of the more popular restaurants in the area is The Cliff. This lovely spot is located in a small, somewhat gated area, filled with art galleries, and craft shops. The Cliff has a large seafood menu and a great view of the sunset – its main attraction. The art center enveloping the restaurant has an outdoor bar, fire pit, and live music in the evenings. This was a visibly popular spot with the locals as well.
For the adventurous types, there are quite a few hiking trails of various complexity. We took on one that was about 5 hours in total. The view of the mountains was stunning, with beautiful vegetation and a few up-and-down surprise curves. Our endpoint was a waterfall but since it was a rather dry spring the cave was dry.
I’m not an avid hiker so for my exploration day I chose Victoria Beach. The entrance into the beach is from a residential neighborhood, clearly marked as a “No drone zone.” The beach itself is quite popular. There is a natural pool and a Pirate Tower, both of which are nice spots for photography. This weekend, the pool was also dry but the crashing waves had no mercy on the crowd posing on the rocks in front of the Pirate Tower.
If you keep walking along the coast you’ll walk into the Montage neighborhood. After exploring some rocks we settled for a couple of hours tanning (aka burning) in the sun. Make sure to go up the hill for a glass of wine and some oysters at the Montage Beach Resort*. Montage is an upscale hotel with a few great upscale restaurants. We set on the veranda looking out onto the ocean for a glorious couple of hours. Sadly this last stop was the ending of the weekend but I’m looking forward to going back and seeing more of this scenic coast.
Pacific Edge Hotel address: 647 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
To see the adventure through Instagram look up #xoOC18.