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Loved My Visit to Laguna Beach, CA - An Exceptional Wedding and Vacation Destination
Vacation and Wedding Destination
I am in love with the amazing city of Laguna Beach, California! It wasn’t solely because I attended a fabulous wedding there and will have a memory to last a lifetime. Indeed it did turned out to be an excellent site for a wedding, but the fact is, when you live in the Southeast the air in May can be as heavy with heat, not to mention pollen, and as moisture laden, sauna-like as any July day. Stepping off the plane at LAX (you can fly into John Wayne Airport or Long Beach Airport as less hectic alternatives) was like stepping into the absence of anything except, well, air. The temperature was actually on the chilly side and it was a little drizzly. But to me, the air was remarkable because absent was the sticky, overpoweringly humid air that Southerners are accustomed to. Bonus! There was no pollen.
We landed at LAX and rented a car, but you can also take Uber or Lyft. If you rent a car from LAX, be prepared to wait as long as two hours for the car, especially if it is the weekend. I was surprised at just how many travelers were waiting for cars. And this was a Thursday!
Why vacation in Laguna Beach, California? There are many reasons but a major reason is the Pacific Ocean. Whether you stay in a hotel like Pacific Edge (where I stayed), bed and breakfast, or private home, try to make your stay right on the ocean where the waves can lull you to happy oblivion better than any sleeping pill. And the view is spectacular - amazing, even! The ruggedness of the coast, the persistence of the waves - sometime gentle, sometimes thunderous - and sighting a whale or two (which we did), is almost other worldly.
If you are researching a site for a destination wedding, Laguna Beach could fit the bill, although the bill is not exactly inexpensive. It has intimate boutique hotels - the setting of the wedding I attended - that can be rented solely for bride, groom and their wedding party. There are also plenty of hotels located right on the beach that offer the beach and their ballrooms as private wedding sites. Do your research and an imaginative bride may find other sites throughout the city for her wedding.
Hotels and homes located on the Pacific Ocean are ideal.
Enjoy the Climate and the Residents
The residents of Laguna Beach are all friendly, but as a visitor, you can’t really know who is native and who is visiting, like you. Everyone seems nice without intruding, without a need to connect with you by asking who you are, where you are from or why you are in Laguna Beach the way we seem to do in the South. (Although that could just be my curiosity at work.)
At one time Laguna Beach residents are said to have referred to themselves as Lagunatics. I get it, although I hesitate to ask anybody if they still call themselves that. From what I can tell, either you fall madly in love with the place as soon as you start to travel down the scenic South Coast Highway or you just don’t like it. I loved the area despite showing up at a time when the weather was drizzly with a few downright downpours the four days I was there. So much for "it never rains in Southern California." Since I was in Laguna Beach for a wedding, I took comfort in the fact that the rain is supposed to be good luck for the bride.
Laguna Beach CA - Arrive via John Wayne Airport, LAX or Long Beach Airport
Excellent hotel with many suites with beautiful ocean views.
What is your ideal vacation destination?
Catch a glimpse of divers in the early morning on Laguna Beach
What to Do, What to Wear in Laguna Beach
If you like art, you should know that Laguna Beach hasn't lost its artist flavor. The entire city is sprinkled generously with galleries and outdoor sculptures at practically every turn. The first art gallery opened in 1918 and the creative artist’s community has been thriving ever since.
There are festivals and classes of music, visual art, and writing year round. Some of the most famous festivals are the Sawgrass Art Festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair and the Festival of Arts. There is also the Laguna Dance Festival in the fall and the annual Pageant of Masters during the Summer. If you like music, there is the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society’s Annual Festival and the Bluewater Music Festival. Do a little research before you go to find what suits you or just wait and simply stumble onto something that catches your attention. You win either way.
It has also had its share of Hollywood actors escape to the city, starting as far back in the 1920’s when it was difficult for anyone to make their way to the area. Only one highway in made it a perfect getaway from the paparazzi that were so prevalent even in the early days of the movie industry.
If it's golf you like, try The Ranch at Laguna Beach, a luxury boutique hotel destination with 9 holes of golf and a spa, not to mention an incredible backdrop of rugged mountains and glimpses of the Pacific. The Ranch even has something called Golf at Twilight. No sunscreen needed then!
“There be whales!” exclaimed Scotty, Chief Engineer in the Star Trek movie The Voyage Home. That was one of my favorite lines. It fits here because there were whales. I suspect many tourists have seen their first whales in their natural habitat in Laguna Beach. To accommodate the whale watchers, there are Whale Watching Cruises. The other choice is to watch and wait as you lounge on your balcony overlooking the Pacific, relax on the beach, or dine at one of the restaurants overlooking the beach and ocean.
And, if you didn't already know, there was a television show called Laguna Beach:The Real Orange County. Two seasons of the teenage reality show were offered to viewers, giving the curious a supposed glimpse of real teen life in Laguna Beach. How real? Only the residents know for sure.
Don't Miss the Laguna Beach Sunset
In addition to whale watching, Laguna Beach has everything from retail therapy to surfing, even home tours, depending on when you visit. The home tour alone would be an experience since the houses range from massive gated mansions perched dangerously on the side of the mountains overlooking the ocean to small bungalows tucked here and there throughout the town. It looks as if the builders have taken advantage of literally every inch of space so that anyone who can afford to (it is California, after all) will be able to enjoy the magnificence of nature.
What to Wear
For the most part, your stay should be geared to comfort wear. In summer bring your flip flops, beachwear, shorts, comfortable light dresses and jeans. If you travel to Laguna Beach in the winter the weather is unpredictable and can be quite cool, so be sure to bring a jacket.
Of course, if you are visiting Laguna Beach for a specific event, bring clothes according to the event. In my case, it was a wedding and the bride was of East Indian heritage. As a result, I dedicated the majority of the space in my suitcase to the saris and sandals I would wear to the mehndi and the wedding ceremony.
Kid friendly amenities and adventures are peppered throughout the beach and city. Don’’t forget that Disney is also a mere twenty miles away. Their clothes should definitely be on the comfortable, durable side.
Twilight Golf at The Ranch at Laguna Beach
Where to Stay
Laguna Beach has plenty of commercial hotels, making finding a place to stay relatively easy. There are also a number of Airbnb homes to choose from, as well. The prices don't fluctuate too much. However, if you travel with friends or a large family, Airbnb may prove to be the most economical way to visit.
My stay was at the Pacific Edge Hotel which offered a variety of pricing and room settings. Some suites were right on the beach while others were street side with the beach a few additional steps away. The prices varied according to the location and type of room you are looking for.
Ultimately, I could return to Laguna Beach, CA over and over. That wonderful city left an impression on me that I won't forget. My advice to you? Make Laguna Beach, CA one of your vacation visits soon.