Just Outside LA – Laguna Beach


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Kelli’s Take

What if I told you paradise is only one hour south of Los Angeles (traffic willing)? We’ve found it here in Laguna Beach. It’s a place that has been known to bring a tear to my eye and a place for my mind to go when I’m stressed.  Pictured above is a view from the gorgeous Montage Hotel grounds looking down onto Treasure Island beach which has public access. One one of our trips we explored the many tide pools and saw star fish and bright purple sea urchins galore.

Parking is always something to consider.  We have always found easy access to this beautiful beach.  Treasure Island Park is located next to the Montage Hotel. There is street parking on the Coast Highway and parking at Aliso Beach parking lot just below Treasure Island Park.

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This view is of seal rock is from Crescent Bay Point Park, the place I first pledged my love for California (and my husband)  Just below this point is the first “secret beach” we knew about in Laguna.  Don’t get me wrong it is public, but you have to know about it and the in and outs of parking in this lovely residential area to make your way down the secret staircase to this cozy swimming beach.

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For the past few years we’ve celebrated our anniversary at the historic Hotel Laguna. It’s not the most luxurious hotel, but it does have the only stretch of beach you may have a cocktail and food served to you on a lounge chair with umbrella and towel service on the sand.

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Beyond it’s gorgeous shoreline Laguna is know for it’s art. The entire area is filled with art galleries. A highlight in the summer months is The Pageant of the Masters festival which I’ve never been to, but have heard it’s fabulously unique. Actors are painted in theatrical illusions of famous pieces of art. I’m sure you’d have to experience it first hand to realize it’s magic.

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After getting a hot tip from a lifeguard we hopped on the FREE trolley and headed down PCH to another beach that would take us to another hidden cove known mostly to locals.  Victoria Beach was our destination and it was so worth the search.

Get off the trolley at Nye’s Place cross the street at Nye’s and curl under the bridge on Victoria Drive.

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You’re almost there.  Keep walking through the beautiful beach neighborhood until you come to the staircase at this sign.

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Which leads to this beach and then to a big surprise!  An ocean “swimming pool” and the Pirate Tower.

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We know how to do Laguna on a budget. We’ve found some great happy hours with wonderful food.  Look for future posts on Laguna restaurants. This was our stop on our way home to LA.  Ruby’s Shake Shack just about Crystal Cove State Park.  Not a bad deal.  A great cheese burger and shake with a view!

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