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Swim, Eat, Play in Laguna Beach

Updated on July 6, 2014

Lovely Laguna Beach

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Beach and Tide Pools

Laguna Beach offers many coves for building sand castles, body and boogie boarding, surfing and paddle boarding and exploring tide pools.

When the tide is low, we venture out to the beach and comb the tide pools to see sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, barnacles, and anemones. The best ones are found along rocky coasts in holes or crevices that remain filled with water once the tide goes out. The following locations in Laguna Beach offer some great tide pool exploration::

This charming beach community is filled with great coves to explore fascinating marine creatures along the shoreline. Families enjoy Treasure Island Beach in South Laguna to see hermit crabs, sea anemones, starfish and other marine wonders.

While exploring the North Laguna beaches, at Crescent Bay you can hear and see the seals barking from a nearby rock. Another popular spot in North Laguna is Picnic Beach, below the picturesque Heisler Park. Parking is limited in these areas, so try to get there early or later in the afternoon.

Divers Cove has some fun spots to swim and look out to Bird Rock. There are a multitude of pelicans and sea birds flying overhead and to the rock.

Main Beach is the most popular beach and largest beach located in the middle of town. This beach offers a sandy bottom and good shore break for bodyboarders, swimmers and body surfers.

There are two basketball courts on the North End and several volleyball nets. On the south end is a shaded playground that is popular with families and small children.

Shower and restroom facilities are provided on both ends of the beach.

Need a break from the sun, various restaurants and shopping are only blocks away.

In South Laguna Beach there are pathways and stairs leading down to Arch and Wood's Cove, Moss State Beach and Victoria Beach. Treasure Island Park is very popular with families.

Some Restaurants and Hotels Offer Ocean Views

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Dining in Laguna

In South Laguna Beach there are more restaurants than in North Laguna. Here are some of my favorites:

Tortilla Republic first opened in Kauai near Poipu Beach. Then they opened in a trendy restaurant area of Los Angeles on Robertson in West Hollywood. Now they opened in Laguna Beach with inventive, modern Mexican fare and lively atmosphere. This location offers a beachy, vacation vibe of Hawaii with a lively atmosphere of West Hollywood.

The contemporary Mexican recipes, created by Tortilla Republic’s Consulting Chef Cathy Shyne, the menu features farm-fresh ingredients and organic products when available, free of lard and processed additives with a mixture of small plates and larger entrees.

There is a selection of over 100 agave tequilas that serve as the inspiration behind the handcrafted margaritas, cocktails, and tequila flights. 480 S. Coast Hwy, (949) 393-4888.

For casual fare I like the Heidelberg Café and bakery. They have one of the most delicious baked goods and coffee in town. They make breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They open later and stay open until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They offer great pastries, omelets with potatoes, sandwiches and salads. 1100 S. Coast Highway, (949) 497-4594.

If you prefer an ocean view The Cliff restaurant is perfect for ambiance and food and 180 degree views. Sit on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sunsets are gorgeous from here. When the air gets nippy, they bring soft blankets for guests to put around their shoulders and arms to keep warm.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Afterwards we strolled into the various artists kiosks to admire their paintings. This is a good spot to watch the pelicans form a V formation. 577 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-1956.

For upscale Mexican food with multi-million dollar views go to Las Brisas. This site became Las Brisas restaurant in 1979. They get over three millions diners a year for breakfast, lunch and dinner, because of their location and fresh seafood The restaurant does offer parking, 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, California 92651 (949) 497-5434.

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Great Beaches to Explore

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Laguna Beach

Have you ever been to the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival

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Laguna Beach Summer Arts Festival

Over 200 local Laguna Beach artists display their masterpieces at the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival. There is live entertainment, art demonstrations, classes and outdoor cafes set in a cool eucalyptus grove.

The Sawdust Art Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and
promoting the art created in Laguna Beach.

Parking can be full, so go early. It's open from June 27 to August 31, 2014. Each year after the dates may change by a day or two. To learn more, go to www.sawdustartfestival.org




A City Filled with Artwork

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Where to Stay in Laguna Beach

Expensive
Moderate
Great Value
Montage Laguna Beach
Casa Laguna Inn & Spa
Inn at Laguna Beach
30801 S. Coast Highway
2510 S. Coast Highway
211 N. Coast Highway
Ocean front with a great beach
Ocean View Historic Bed & Breakfast
Ocean Front and Near Main Beach

Free Trolley Service Around Laguna Beach

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Free Shuttle Service

When you drive into Laguna Beach, park at a lot, meter or side street and walk or take the shuttle.

From June 27 to August 31, cute open air trolley cars drive through town transporting visitors between North Laguna to Main Beach and South Laguna before dropping festival goers in the canyons to the Art festivals.

The trolley stops at various corners throughout Laguna Beach to offer easy access to restaurants, shopping, beach excursions and the art festivals.

The trolleys run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. except on July 4 when the trolleys stop at 7 p.m.


Downtown between North and South Laguna

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Rescue and Release Seals and Sea Lions

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Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Just above the Sawdust Festival is the Pacific Marine Mammal Center that rescues and treats Pinnipeds in Southern California. There are 34 species of Pinnipeds found world wide. In Laguna Beach the PMMC nurses Pacific harbor seals, California sea lions, and Northern elephant seals back to good health and releases them. Occasionally they treat Northern fur seals.

PMMC is also the only temporary holding facility for small whales and dolphins between Santa Barbara and San Diego.

PMMC has a visitor yard open to the public every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, however donations are encouraged to support our non-profit organization.

PMMC cares for approximately 150 to 200 seal and sea lion patients each year. They have anywhere from 2 animals to 100 animals at the facility at one time. The best time to visit is in the spring and summer seasons, when they can have 60-80 animals recovering and available for viewing

All of the animals at PMMC were found stranded on the beaches, docks, jetties or oil platforms along the coast that we serve. They send a team to assess the size of the animal, species, and disposition of the animal. Once the animal is secured in the rescue truck, it is transported immediately to the PMMC facility.

During the course of rehabilitation, animals require a variety of treatments such as administration of antibiotics and subcutaneous fluids, tube feeding, force feeding, wound care.

Once an animal has gained an optimal weight and is competing for food, it's ready for release. Prior to release, each animal is tagged with an identification number. PMMC strives to return every patient back to the wild.

To learn more, go to http://www.pacificmmc.org


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