There are a number of excellent places on the beach here. In fact, there is even an underwater park in the water off Crystal Cove State Park. Depending upon your mood, there are a wide variety of choices for a day on the beach including a visit to Main Beach for traditional features like a boardwalk or some very interesting tidal pools. If you feel like surfing: check out Aliso Beach Park, a well known surf spot in Laguna Beach and beyond. Finally, you can find stunning gardens and walking paths in Hesler Park. For a slow beach town, there is really a lot to do.
Even though Laguna Beach became a part of the United States of America after the Mexican-American War, it was not settled until the 1870’s. Prior to that, the area that makes up Laguna Beach was a part of Mexico, inhabited by the Tongva Native Americans. The Tongva were spread over an area, up to 4000 square miles, that included the Southern Channel Islands and the Los Angeles Basin. When the first contact occurred between Spanish explorers and Native Americans, it is possible this tribe numbered up to 10,000 people. At the time, they were Southern California’s most powerful group.
Where is Laguna Beach? 33°54′N 117°79′W
Not incorporated as a city until 1927, Laguna Beach had been founded forty years earlier. There certainly are a number of reasons why Laguna Beach vacations are so popular: location, waves and the weather for starters. This artistic little beach town has also been somewhat spared from the horrors of urban sprawl and development through a combination of luck and great planning. Laguna Beach has a dedicated greenbelt and and there is limited access to the highway with hills surrounding the town. Those factors and more contribute to this being a spectacular place for a beach vacation.
Laguna Beach is primarily famous for its beaches that stretch for almost eight miles. Hidden throughout this privileged stretch of Pacific beach, are many coves. Some of these are found under cliffs and some under hillsides. There seems to be enough space for everybody here to enjoy some time on the beautiful beaches. Not surprisingly, the main industry in Laguna Beach is tourism. Each year, up to three million people come for the wide beaches and also the arts.
Laguna Beach Vacation Spot: Orange County
Some of the impressive events held in Laguna Beach are: the Pageant of the Masters, Kelpfest, the Festival of the Arts, Bluewater Music Festival, Art-A-Fair, and of course the popular Sawdust Art Festival.
By far, the most popular cultural event is The Pageant of the Masters. This annual festival is known for its living pictures. Real people re-create classic and contemporary pieces of art. This is done by dressing up to look identical to the original art work. Needless to say this is a painstaking labor intensive operation. From costumes and makeup, to lighting and props a small army of volunteers chips in to make it work.
Throughout the year, the talented population of Laguna Beach enjoys an abundance of sun. If you plan a beach vacation to Laguna, you can expect a mild Mediterranean climate. Ranging from 80 °F in August down to 68 °F in January, visitors find the high temperatures just right. Of course, the Pacific could always be a little warmer, but that is another story. Water temperatures in Laguna Beach peak in September with an average temperature of 72°F.
The city of Laguna Beach has been home to the Brooks Street Surfing Classic since 1955. According to none other than the Encyclopedia of Surfing, it is possibly the world’s longest running surf competition. From 1955 to 2015, this has been held 52 times. While the beaches are public, entry into the Brooks Street Surfing Classic is not. Entrance is only open to Laguna Beach residents. Since this is only held when there are peak swells over a four month long window, there is no competition nearly every fifth year. Another long running is the Skimboarding World Championships in Aliso Beach, every year since 1976. Not to be outdone, the Laguna Open Volleyball Tournament started way back in 1955. Laguna Beach’s very own, Heisler Park, plays host to the annual U.S. Open for Lawnbowling as well.
Fun and games aside, the community of Laguna Beach has a long and impressive history of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. The Laguna Greenbelt started in 1968. Efforts to conserve a horseshoe of canyons and hills have resulted in more than 20,000 acres of contiguous land.
Besides the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the Laguna Canyon Project is the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve. The area is protected both on land and at sea ensuring that people will always have this sunny beach spot for a summer vacation.
I am very thankful for Ellie and a wonderful escape to Laguna for a few summer days. While here, we met a talented friend of mine from Malta for a drink. Madison Gregory is a local artist who makes cool movie scenes into paintings and prints. Thank you for the Dumb and Dumber scene. It is appreciated and enjoyed every day. In addition to being one hell of an artist, Madison is an all around good person. Check out his work.
Je ne sais quoi