Visiting Laguna Beach: A Day Trip Guide

Laguna Beach is such a gorgeous day trip destination, and if you have less than 24 hours in the area, picking a few key landmarks to explore is key!  You don’t have to be a surfer to get huge enjoyment from this coastal city, and you don’t even need a perfectly sunny day.  Between the hiking, tide pools, and delicious food, there is something here for everyone.

Whether you’re arriving from somewhere local in Southern California or from far out of town, I would highly recommend the following when time is limited:

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

The trails and views here are lovely!  We went in early April and the hillsides were covered in wildflowers.  There’s an easily accessible parking lot directly off of the main road that costs only $3, as well as a very helpful visitor center.  Inside, we were recommended the trails that would best match the length of time we were interested in hiking as well as the appropriate level of difficulty.

These coastal canyons are a must, and with 40 miles of trails on site there is no shortage of Southern California hilltop vistas!

Address: 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA

Crystal Cove State Park

This stretch of coastline is absolutely stunning for a long walk on the beach!  In between the scenic bluffs you’ll find numerous tide pools that are a blast for exploring.  Whether you’re visiting solo or with a family, you’re in for hours of beach fun here.

Address: 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA

Heisler Park

If you’re in search of a walking tour of the Laguna shoreline, this is the place to go!  This park extends along the best of the Laguna beaches while being home to picnic areas, overlooks, and colorful gardens.  Located on Cliff Drive, the park trail directly connects to the boardwalk, which is a great way to experience the active seaside scene.

Address: 375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

Las Brisas

When it comes to restaurants, Las Brisas checks all of the boxes: Convenient location, unique meals, delicious drinks, and the perfect scenery.  “California Cuisine Infused with Flavors of Mexico”, this is a festive spot to end the day with a margarita and view of the ocean.  It’s also located on Cliff Drive by the Heisler Park walkway.

My personal dinner recommendation?  The Butternut Squash Tamales!  Unbelievably tasty.

Address: 361 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

We’ll definitely be back, and in that case, I’ll be sure to add any updated recommendations here!

Exploring more of the California coast?  Check out my Monterey Guide!