How to Make it an Endless Summer in Laguna Beach

Our endless summer shifts into the autumnal season, making it the ideal time to plan your escape with an overnight stay in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach and its fall forecast is perfection. It is what the “locals” call summer and they wait for it all year. With its quieter crowds at the beach and warm weather, Southern California truly doesn’t hit its prime until September and October. 

Aliso Beach and Lost Pier Café:

Let’s be honest, homework stinks and as soon as the back to school bell rings, I feel like “weren’t we just here?” My kids miss the carefree days of summer, planning as we go, and spending as much time as we can at the beach. It’s been our tradition to run down to Aliso Beach with the kids as a way to ease back into the routine enjoying snacks on the sand as if summer has never left.

What makes Aliso Beach so welcoming is its ample surface lot parking, an amazing snack shack; Lost Pier Café, and it’s the only beach in Laguna that has fire pits. Aliso’s long sandy beach makes for a great spot to lie out your beach towels, explore the tidepools, and jump into the shore break. We can spend all day running between the two spots that we end up working up an appetite. Thank goodness Lost Pier Café is right on the beach, and their menu starts early with breakfast. Their Paper Bag Beignets are incredible and the kid’s menu is just right, so no need to pack lunches. They even offer fun beach rentals if you traveled light.

Whether it’s a weeknight or a weekend, this season is for slowing down at Aliso Beach in front of a fire pit with a roasted smore in one hand and a gourmet Lobster Roll in the other while watching a pink Laguna summer sunset turn to fall. Cozy sweaters are optional…

The Ranch at Laguna Beach:

The Ranch is located across the street on from Aliso, just off of Coast Highway, and nestled back in the majestic canyons. Its beach cottage décor and tropical setting reminds my kids of Jurassic Park, making you feel like you are far away from the rest of the world. The resort and its restaurants are family friendly blended with a laid-back atmosphere that is an ideal escape from the back to school and sports routine. I gladly welcome it as we immediately feel like we’ve been transported back to vacation. 

Upon arriving, we like to put our name in at HARVEST restaurant so that we can enjoy a cocktail from Ben’s Pantry. They offer happy hour daily and if you are lucky enough you can enjoy one of their chalkboard specials in a rocking chair overlooking the Ben Brown Golf Course. As my husband and I savor our drinks, I take my time enjoying my favorite Paloma, as the kids play a game of bocce ball and corn hole.

Luckily, the wait time is never too long, and the complaints are kept to minimum. HARVEST’s expansive “ranch-inspired” restaurant is an open concept paired with rustic beach décor. Some of my favorite moments have been celebrated at this restaurant, from an anniversary to a 40th birthday luncheon in the private dining room; but today we vote to sit as a family on the outdoor patio. The food is sustainable, comfort, and seasonal, all wrapped into one. The cocktails and dessert are on point, as my kids give their Shirley Temples and meals two thumbs up! The best part is, my kids get along at dinner. The price is worth the admission for memorable, unplugged family time as we end our day with a little night swimming in the pool under the stars. I wish we could do this every weekend, but alas a spa day at Sycamore with the girls sounds good too. Time to plan!

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About the Author

Nicole Lindstrom

Freelance Writer

Nicole Lindstrom, owner of Lindstrom Media is a jack-of-all-trades. She loves writing, photography, and helping to market small businesses in Orange County. In her down time, Nicole and her family enjoy being outside whether it’s at the beach or a National Park camping with their dog, Zeus. Deeply passionate about community and all things to GO, SEE, and DO in the Golden State you can find her writing about her favorite spots as a contributor for Orange County Magazine, Visit Dana Point, and other food and travel blogs. Nicole lives in Ladera Ranch with her children, her Fire Fighter husband, and their dog. 

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