It’s a hard task to stop and take in every little beach town on a road trip down the Californian coast, and I often try to jam everything into one trip which can make it hard to experience all of the unique little quirks places have to offer. That being said, when you’re strategic with your priorities, even the shortest of time spent in one place can be meaningful.
I have always loved the idea of Laguna Beach, California. Perhaps it’s because when I was younger I watched a bit of reality TV based on teenagers from the area, but we won’t dive too deeply into that… 🙂
I had been on a fair few Californian road trips, but never actually stopped into this (not so little) charming town. So, on our last road trip to Southern California, we dedicated a whole 24 hours to taking in it’s goodness. Sure, 24 hours isn’t much time, but planned out perfectly it can be just enough.
Let me break it down to the good stuff.
Camping – Crystal Cove State Park
Yes! Camping! In Laguna Beach! (ie: Greater LA!) It’s totally possible. That being said, you definitely want to book early in the season or stay in the middle of the week. Also, this pretty little pad will cost you $63 USD/night, but honestly, it’s so worth it. Crystal Cove State Park overlooks the ocean, and has it’s own beach access just down a short little road. Relaxing, refreshing, and somehow has a top-of-the-world feeling (even at sea level).
We were lucky enough to have premier accommodation on our friend’s renovated bus, so we felt like we were living in the lap of luxury at a five star campground resort.
Eats – The Stand
Being on a road trip budget (and having purchased enough groceries using my life savings at Trader Joe’s) the places we chose to nibble at were strategic and limited. We stumbled upon Laguna’s “The Stand” and couldn’t have been more satisfied. This is Laguna’s only VEGAN restaurant and has been around for 40 years. It’s character will charm you, it’s eats – entice you, and it’s books – make you feel like a kid again. My friend Kelsey and I sipped on a Green Smoothie and read Dr.Suess’ “Oh the places you will go” reminding ourselves that the ups and downs of life are natural and rewarding.
Cue all the feels.
SHOP – Oh, boho!
Festival chic and charming beach house treasures, Laguna capitalizes on the boho beach vibe and style, and they do it well. Walk along the main stretch of Laguna and be charmed by their unique shops with all kinds of beautiful things. We spent hours just casually strolling the streets and finding special things – and I don’t even like to shop! Our Uber driver told us that Laguna is especially known for it’s arts culture, and boy is that ever apparent. The city has has an artsy luxury to it – inviting, yet refined, which can be enjoyed by not just one type of “artsy” person but by many people who dabble in arts culture.
Luckily enough for a beach lover, sand swept oceans line Laguna, with many places to have a sunshine session. We even saw dolphins casually swimming and leaping, not far from the shore – which for this Canadian was QUITE the festivity! (Not too many regular beach goers seemed to be too phased… spoiled. 🙂 )
We later caught an Uber to LAX from Laguna (no, I won’t be blogging about that experience….) and as I sat in the airport about to get on a flight back to Vancouver I found myself reminiscing on Laguna (perhaps because I has just been there…) as the highlight of my trip. A beautiful town with such an easy-going beach vibe… if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg (and possibly a kidney) perhaps I’d see myself living there one day!
But isn’t that part of the road trip charm? There’s so many interesting places that are literally just a small adventure away.