1. Crescent Bay Point Park
There's no better time to snap a photo in Laguna Beach than at sunset, when this compact SoCal city is bathed with gold, the sky is painted a new shade every night, and the pristine Pacific Ocean has never looked more inviting.
While seven miles of beautiful coastline means you're spoiled for choice when it comes to picture-perfect vantage points, Crescent Bay Point Park is one of the most popular spots for sunset views. Spread a picnic blanket on the large grassy knoll that's perched atop the quarter-mile Crescent Bay, and watch the sun melt into the aquamarine waters.
2. Las Brisas Patio
Craving authentic Mexican seafood with a side of spectacular ocean views? Look no further than Las Brisas. Serving up traditional Mexican Riviera cuisine from its landmark Laguna building, head outdoors to its beachside patio, for a feast of goat's cheese tacos and pork belly tostadas - along with one of the best panoramas of Main Beach and Heisler Park in town. A great spot for a culinary selfie!
3. Water Tank Trail (spring only)
Spanning 7,000 acres and featuring 400 miles of trails, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a favorite of local and visiting photographers alike. As well as coastal canyons, woodlands, mountains, and the only natural lake in Orange County, it's home to numerous rare and endangered wildlife species - from California Gnatcatchers to Bobcats.
While the views are great year-round, one of the best times to visit is in the spring, when the fields of wildflowers are in full bloom. Hike the park's Water Tank Trail to snap Yellow Yarrow flowers stretching for as far as the eye can see, and a spectacular coastal backdrop.
4. St. Francis by the Sea
Once acknowledged by the Guiness Book of World Records as the smallest cathedral in the world, today St. Francis by the Sea is the second smallest - and still one of the most instagrammed spots in the city. Admire its tiny, 1,008 square feet proportions from the outside, snap a pic or two by its 1930s doorway, and then venture inside to explore the teeny National Sick Call Sets Museum. Located in the choir loft, this eclectic museum houses a rare collection of candles, sprinklers, crucifixes and more, relating to the ‘Last Rites' of the Catholic Church - with some items dating back to the 1880s.
5. Victoria Tower (aka Pirate Tower)
Affectionately nicknamed ‘Pirate Tower' by the locals, the sixty-foot tall Victoria Tower is an iconic Laguna Beach landmark. Rising up from the sandstone cliffs that surround it on Victoria Beach, this lonely stone turret, with small, unevenly shaped windows, conjures visions of the perfect pirate lookout point, and its enclosed staircase - which leads from the beach to a private residence on the bluff - only heightens the mystery. Head here at low-tide to practice your photography skills.
6. Montage Laguna Beach
As well as being one of the premier, 5-star resorts in Southern California, Montage Laguna Beach is also one of the region's most picturesque - thanks to its spectacular location, perched on the most scenic bluffs in Laguna Beach. Its sweeping panoramas of the Pacific are best admired - and best captured - from its striking Craftsman-style Lobby Lounge, which sits on the second floor of the property. Head out to the balcony for an envy-worthy selfie, complete with the resort's mosaic pool and sparkling ocean in the background.
7. Angel Wings Wall
Another of Laguna's most instagrammed dining spots, Slice serves up more than delicious build-your-own pizza. It's also the site of a beautiful piece of street art, installed on the wall by its Third Street exit. The disembodied angel wings - made from wheat paste and paper, and carved with a power sander - are the signature work of LA's Colette Miller, who started the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012. Aiming to remind humanity of its better nature, you're sure to capture your ‘good side' when you pose here.
8. Top of the World
Named for its unique 360-degree view, it's little surprise to find Top of the World among Laguna's most instagrammable spots. Set above the village area in Alta Laguna Park, pack a picnic and drive up to this famous vantage point for the ultimate panorama in town. From the canyons over the Pacific and Catalina Island, to Saddleback Valley and Santiago Peak, it's a great spot to hone those pano skills.
9. Heisler Park Gazebo
Stretching along the bluffs on Cliff Drive, from Aster Street to Diver's Cove, Heisler Park boasts spectacular views of the city's pristine coastline. Take a half-mile stroll around its oceanfront walking trails, snap yourself with its public art sculptures, and pause for a selfie at its picturesque gazebo - set on a bluff, this beautiful structure offers unparalleled views of Laguna's stunning Main Beach.
10. ‘Heritage' Mural by Rolland Berry
Created by world-renowned contemporary artist, Rolland Berry, ‘Heritage' is a striking mural, depicting the courageous and dignified spirit of America's indigenous culture. Featuring Native American women, boldly depicted with board strokes and deep colors, it's a powerful work of art, designed especially for Laguna's 50th Sawdust Art & Craft Festival. Intentionally created as an interactive piece, don't miss your chance to touch it, take a photo, or simply admire it from afar - from June 29 through September 2, 2018.