Laguna Beach Paradise Found
When I first visited California about 20 years ago, I was living in Michigan at the time. I bought something at a store and used a credit card and had to show my ID. The salesman said, "Oh! I am from Michigan too! I moved here 5 years ago!"
When I asked why he loved it, he said, "Look around you....this is God's country! It's like heaven!" And he was right.
His words stick in my head every time I visit. California is the most beautiful state I have ever visited. From North to South, California has so many beautiful options.
California's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada mountains in the east – from the Redwood–Douglas-fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by Central Valley, a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), and has the 3rd longest coastline of all states (after Alaska and Florida).
With seven miles of coastline, Laguna Beach is home to more than 20 coves and beaches (all with public access), you can play in the water, build sandcastles or explore pristine tidepools. They are a protected marine preserve, so no motorized boats are allowed in or out of their waters, which keeps the tidepools fresh and teeming with sealife you can observe at low tide.
Eco-Tours abound from observing dolphins and whales up close, sea kayaking above the colorful garibaldi, or taking a wildlife & beach tour to check out sea lions, seals and tidepool life. There is also a docent-led tour of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center of its kind in Orange County.
This is probably my favorite part of Laguna Beach. The downtown is quaint yet contemporary. Discover their walkable downtown village. Eclectic fashion boutiques, gourmet kitchen and home furnishing stores, art galleries and jewelry shops offer unique one-of-a-kind finds and gifts. And the first Thursday of the month, they do a gallery walk. First Thursday Art Walk goes year round. The next one is January 3rd, 2013! This free and art educational event is funded by member galleries, lodging establishments, and the City of Laguna Beach. Browse more than 100 art galleries and 72 pieces of public art. Pick up a self-guided tour map of the artworks at the Laguna Beach Visitors Center. The map delineates where public sculptures, art in public places and artist-designed benches are located throughout town, many of which were created by local artists. You can also tour working artists' studios in Laguna Canyon.
Twenty-thousand acres of wilderness attract hikers, bikers, bird watchers, backpackers and Plein Air painters, all of whom find beauty in the area's hills, cliffs and marine sanctuaries. Hiking, biking and equestrian trails are located throughout the protected reserves.
Be an artist for a day! Sign up for a Sawdust Studio Art Class where you'll create a unique art piece to wear or to share, in just one session. Offered every Friday and Saturday at 10am and 2pm, each two-hour workshop is led by a professional artist. Choose from jewelry, ceramics, pottery or fused glass. Or try an "Art of Tidepooling and Watercolor Journaling" class guided by an art instructor, where you'll explore tidepools and craft your own watercolor journal of the tiny creatures you observed.
Each summer, Laguna's renowned art festivals take place: Art-A-Fair, Festival of Arts and Sawdust Art Festival. ART, ART and more ART!! Meet local artists, take in artist demonstrations and classes, and purchase unique works of art. The world-famous Pageant of the Masters uses volunteers, costumes and elaborate sets to create living pictures, and magically transforms cast members into famous works of art.
Take a cooking class at Laguna Culinary Arts. Located in Laguna Canyon, Home Chef Classes are held in the evenings; there's a weekend program of half- and full-day classes exploring specific techniques and culinary styles; and a three-day, mid-week class for beginners. It also features a gourmet Cheese and Wine Shop/Cafe and Tasting Room offering 350 different wine labels and 90 different cheeses from around the world, as well as olives, charcuterie, imported oils & vinegars, breads & crackers, cookbooks and cooking accessories.
See why I LOVE this place?!
Find out more and plan your next California getaway!