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:


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


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


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


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!

A Weekend in Monterey: Food and Destination Guide

If you find yourself within the vicinity of California’s central coast, Monterey is a must see!  My husband and I recently took the 337 mile road trip from Los Angeles, and when you only have a weekend’s worth of time to spend, it can be overwhelming to decide which sites to see!

If you’re planning a weekend visit, I’d like to share everything we enjoyed to help you narrow down your list:


1) Whale Watching

This was a first for me!  We used Discovery Whale Watch and saw tons of Humpbacks!  (A word to the wise: If you struggle with seasickness in any way please do yourself a favor and bring a motion sickness medication such as Bonine.  4+ hours on the water can be a struggle if you’re not prepared!)

2)  Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Whether you stop by to watch the sea lions engage with the passers by, enjoy some ice cream, or hit a restaurant, it’s a fun hangout at any time of day.

3) Carmel-by-the-Sea

This super charming city is straight out of a storybook.  Walking the streets is enough in and of itself, but it’s also filled to the brim with fun shops, amazing restaurants, and beautiful beach views.

4) Point Lobos

You’ll want to save a whole day for this incredible park!  It’s a very short drive from Monterey, and entry is free if you park outside the entrance and come in on foot (though the views are well worth the fee if you have to drive in).  Between the incredible coastline, seal sightings, beaches, and tide pools brimming with life, you’ll never want to leave.

5) Monterey Aquarium

This one is a must!  Whether you go as a larger family or attend solo, this aquarium has so much to offer from otters to penguins to crazy sea life from the deep.  At the time we visited they also had some impressively informative information regarding plastics and microplastics and the detrimental effects on our oceans.  It definitely inspired us to make more changes where we can!


1) Crepes of Brittany

Offering both sweet or savory, this restaurant is located right by Fisherman’s Wharf and offers very authentic French crepes.  Their savory galettes made with buckwheat were delicious and substantial…Mine held me over until dinner!

2) Lalla Grill Del Monte

This casual dinner spot was a great find.  Their heated outdoor patio was perfect for the weather and the fish tacos were out of this world!  Their menu is super diverse and they have something for everyone.

3) Manasiri’s Crepes & Sandwiches

This is a great cafe for breakfast for lunch.  The Greek salad was delicious!

4) Fandango

It’s a lovely special occasion restaurant. It’s more expensive but if you happen to be celebrating the food is delicious!

5)  Abalonetti Bar and Grill

There’s a reason their calamari is famous!  It was truly the best calamari I’ve ever had, and other reviewers all say the same.  This seafood restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants out on Fisherman’s Wharf, and their outdoor patio was fun and super welcoming.  Their Fish & Chips was also one of the best I’ve had.

6) Old Monterey Cafe

This place has everything on the menu you could think of for breakfast in a fun diner atmosphere.  If you’re looking for pancakes bigger than you are, this is the spot!

7) Enzo

If you want to be transported to Italy, this is the place to go.  Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, this was the perfect place to end our trip and to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our Italian honeymoon.  The owner and staff were wonderful and the food is an authentic treat!

I wish we could have stayed longer in this beautiful place, and we will definitely be back again!