Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

View east from the beach
View east from the beach

When I sat down to write this post about Laguna Beach I realized I didn’t have much to say. That surprised me. How could that be? I’m a big fan of Laguna Beach.

The problem is, I can’t think of any “wow” attractions. It’s just a very laid back, beautiful town on the Pacific coast in Southern California.

As the town’s name implies, there is a beautiful long beach, the main section of which sports a boardwalk. OK. Only the beach is implied by the town’s name, not the fact that it’s long or has a boardwalk. But don’t be such a stickler. Allow me some literary license here.

The ocean is to the west and there are hills to the east. In addition to on the flat land between the two, there are homes built all the way up the sides of the hills. Occasionally, during particularly bad rainy seasons, which occur in the winter, a house or two in the hills might slide down, but that’s the risk you take for living in paradise.

Don’t let the term “rainy season” keep you from Laguna Beach in the winter.

I’ve only ever gone to Laguna in the winter, which makes a lot of sense because I usually go to catch a brief escape from Toronto’s nastiest season. I have had some rain there but, I don’t know if I just got lucky (no, not that way) but I’ve experienced much more sun than rain there even though it’s the “rainy season.”

Views of Lagunas Beach and the Ocean

Looking down on the beach
Looking down on the beach

At the northern end of the beach boardwalk, there’s a gently sloped path that leads up a low cliff. (“Gently sloped” and “low” being relative terms. I don’t huff or puff too much walking up the path. Others may huff and/or puff more or less than I do.) The views of the beach, ocean, some rocks poking out of the ocean and the town  from atop the cliff are incredible.

Past the end of the walk along the top cliff are some residential streets. I like to walk along the roads that hug the ocean as closely as possible. You can’t see much of the ocean because the view is mostly blocked by homes. I’ve always dreamed of living in one of them.

The homes look fairly upscale, but not palatial. What appeals to me the most is the views they must get out their westward facing windows. It must be breathtaking. (Hopefully not literally breathtaking. People living there would be encouraged to breath every once in a while.) The sunsets out their windows must be to die for. (Again, hopefully not literally.) I can’t imagine that I’d ever get used to it if I lived there.

I’m a city boy (well, OK, a city old man) and I like to be able to walk everywhere—to shop, to go to a movie, to go to a restaurant, etc. That’s probably not an option in these homes because none of those amenities are within particularly easy walking distance from them. But I’d make an exception to my “walk everywhere” rule if I could live in one of those homes. Then again, while I haven’t tried to price them, I suspect they are more than I can afford by a high-order multiple.

Downtown

Downtown Laguna Beach
Downtown Laguna Beach

There are several nice shops and restaurants in “downtown” Laguna Beach. Although, being  a big-city old man, I have a hard time calling a few streets of one- and two-story buildings a downtown.

Laguna has a reputation as an artists colony. There are a number of galleries scattered around town. However, it may be my imagination, but I don’t think there are as many as when I first visited the town a number of years ago.

The one negative aspect of Laguna Beach is that it has the car culture of a Californian town. Parking spots line all of the downtown streets. So, don’t expect to see any pictures here of lovely, quaint, shop-lined streets as you might see in an old European city. With all of the cars parked up along the street there was no good place to take a picture of the shops.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.