WE’VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED that Laguna Beach is full of family diversions, many of which you can access on foot. We’ve also detailed the fact that there are enough beaches to fit the various tastes of every family member. This week, we’re turning our lens on dads and dreaming up the best way to treat your old man to a blissful Father’s Day.
Here are some ideas to craft his dream itinerary:
9am: Wake dad up (slowly) and tell him to get ready for breakfast. Unless you have some serious kitchen skills (and don’t mind cleanup duty) forgo the “breakfast in bed” and opt for brunch in town. Though there are plenty of excellent breakfast choices in Laguna Beach, Las Brisas is still the champion of extravagant, scenic Sunday brunch. Order the decadent Crepes de Laguna, covered with a citrus velouté sauce and served with scrambled eggs.
11am: After admiring the Laguna Beach coastline from the patio at Las Brisas, hop on the free trolley (#LagunaFreeTrolley) and head south to CA Surf N’ Paddle where local wave-riding legend Rod Greenup and his team can set the whole family up with an SUP lesson. Greenup hasn’t bumped up his prices in years, making $75pp for groups of 2-3, and $60pp for groups of 4-6 one of the best values around. Note: the ocean tends to get a little choppier in the mid-afternoon in June, so it’s best to schedule this as a pre-lunch activity.
12:30pm: Even though it’s lunch hour, you’re likely to still be full from brunch. Instead of rushing to another meal, dry off on the sand then head back downtown on the free trolley for a little shopping. At The Vintage Poster on Pacific Coast Highway, you can pick between old-style travel posters (some of the rarest originals cost in the thousands) and more modern art prints. A little further along PCH, visit RWorld Surf & Skate to buy dad a new board (surf, skate, or SUP) or at least a new shirt to commemorate the day. If your father is on the more stylish end of the spectrum, check out The Vault Men where he can pick an outfit that blends Euro-chic with SoCal surfer. If your old man can pull off the surf-infused western-wear vibe, he'll be happy for you to steer him toward North Menswear. The offerings are nicely cut, and the style is sharp as the straight razors that its patrons likely use to shave.
R World Surf & Skate
1:30pm: Take the trolley down south again. It’s past noon and dad deserves his first beer of the day. For years, La Sirena Grill in South Laguna has worked hard to find local, organic ingredients for their “MexEco” food. They pay the same detailed attention to beer and have an entire wall of taps that feature some of the most exciting, rare craft beers in the country. Ask the staff to find dad a beer that pairs perfectly with whatever he’s ordering (spoiler alert: everything goes well with guacamole).
2:30pm: Ben Brown’s Golf Course at The Ranch at Laguna Beach is still taking reservations even while the restaurant and hotel undergo renovations. The Aliso Canyon setting is stunning, with swaths of greenery and pitted boulders that look like the gaping mouths of giant, awestruck onlookers. Unlike a full 18 holes, which can drag on and turn to drudgery unless golf is a true passion, Ben Brown’s nine-hole course is perfect for novices and families. A round can be finished in as little as two hours.
ALTERNATE OPTION: If golf isn’t your thing, try renting mountain bikes as a family at Laguna Cyclery and letting their passionate team point you toward some of the best trails in all of Orange County.
4:30pm: After playing your round, cross under PCH through the Aliso Creek Beach tunnel and head down the beach to Montage Laguna Beach. Relax and enjoy the sweeping views or stroll the lush grounds while you treat dad to a massage or Gentleman’s Manicure at Spa Montage.
5:30pm: Take the trolley back downtown and do a little more shopping. Perhaps dad is looking for a new pair of board shorts at Hobie, or a flavor infused salt by Laguna Salt Company (sold at Laguna Wine, Coffee & Specialty Foods). While you’re there, make sure your old man checks out their beer room featuring rare bottles from around the world.
6:30pm: Dinner on Father’s Day is all about one singular classic: the hamburger. Laguna Beach is a hamburger haven, with far too many entries to list here. A few standouts are the 10 Napkin Burger at Three Seventy Common, the 10 Ounce Burger at Brussels Bistro, or the Signature Burger at the Lumberyard. Further south, Maro Wood Grill makes a fantastic burger with grass fed beef and aged white cheddar. Not in the mood for a burger? Check out all of the dining options tailored for dad’s on their special day.
Signature Burger, Lumberyard
8:30pm: Father’s Day is no time for dieting. Besides, with all of the brunching, beer drinking, and burger eating this day has already been well-established as a vacation from calorie counting. Finish strong with “The Presley” at Three Seventy Common—a decadent mishmash of cinnamon toast, peanut butter ice cream, caramelized banana, and honey caramel inspired by the king himself. If you want something simpler, Dolce Gelato is downtown and has a flavor for every sweet tooth.
9:00pm: End the day with the two phrases every good parent deserves to hear, “Thank you” and “I love you.”