- Things to Do
- Plan Your Trip
Ideal for every type of visitor, including families, Laguna Beach has an abundance of options for everyone.
Families headed to Laguna Beach need not to worry, as the family friendly destination is the perfect beach getaway for both parents and their kids. From building sandcastles and swinging on playground swings to art galleries that will delight the entire family, Laguna Beach awaits you and your family for a fun-filled vacation to remember. Below is a sample itinerary that can serve as a guide to help inspire your family trip to Laguna Beach.
Arrive hungry and ready to hit the ground running. Since most hotel check-ins are in the late afternoon, stash your luggage at your hotel, or find a cozy parking spot near Main Beach and head to lunch. Located across the street from Main Beach is BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. This family-friendly restaurant has amazing options, like pizza, which is easily sharable for families. Adults can kick back with a beer or wine while the kids drool over a Pizookie (a fresh baked cookie in a mini deep dish, topped with ice cream) menu.
Afterwards, depending on timing (as low tide varies throughout the year), walk across the street to Main Beach to explore the tide pools. The tide pools at Main Beach are easily accessible and often have docents on-hand to guide your exploration. Just keep an eye on the tide, as getting caught on the rocks while waves are crashing in, is not recommended, as low tide (and one hour before and one hour after) is the ideal time to explore sea creatures in the pools. It’s also important to note that we ask that you look and don't touch as you are prohibited from taking anything from the water (and sandy shores) in Laguna Beach, as it’s a marine protected area. Also on Main Beach is a playground, where younger kids can get out all of their energy. Or, just spend some time building sandcastles or enjoying the cool ocean waves on the lifeguard-protected beaches.
The Inn at Laguna Beach is perched just above Main Beach and provides the easiest access to the popular, downtown beach. The family-friendly hotel has various room options, including suites with connecting rooms, just in case the kids (or parents) need their own space. The pool overlooks the beach down below and there’s even an evening reception for all registered hotel guests on the rooftop terrace with free beer and wine at sunset. If your family includes a dog, the hotel permits up to two dogs per room, each less than 40 pounds.
Spend some time exploring some of the many art galleries that Laguna Beach has to offer. Two in particular that the entire family will enjoy include Wyland Gallery, where marine life artist Wyland, inspired by the art of nature, has established an international reputation for the highest quality of fine art, with an emphasis on education and inspiration, and Narrative Gallery, a contemporary gallery which includes a community of storytellers such as Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, who’s artistic vision became the platform from which he delivered forty-four children’s books, and beyond.
After an art-filled couple of hours, the family is sure to be hungry. Head over to Lumberyard for American comfort food, located within walking distance to Main Beach in downtown. Lumberyard has both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that will delight the entire family. Or, if Mexican food sounds good, visit Carmelita’s, also in downtown Laguna Beach, just across the street from Main Beach. Here the family can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine and the adults, margaritas. Pizza made-to-order is also an option over at Slice, which offers (large) gourmet personal pizzas and salads, as well as craft beer and wine on tap. Slice is also located right in downtown Laguna Beach. Depending on time, consider a bonfire at Aliso Beach, located in South Laguna.
If you didn’t get your tide pool time in on the first day, spend some time before or after breakfast as they truly are worth the sight and the kids will love the learning experience. A fun place for breakfast is Ruby’s Auto Diner which has classic cars parked right out front that offer fun photo opportunities. Their breakfast menu is also extensive, and if the kids deserve it, they have ice cream shakes, too! For a lighter food option, try Urth Caffé which offers all outdoor seating, and items such as yogurt and fruit bowls, in addition to some egg dishes and really good coffee and tea.
Head back to your hotel to check-out and pack up before heading out for some final memory-making time. Top of the World in Alta Laguna Park provides amazing views of the Orange County basin and Saddleback Mountains. Trailheads for Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park are also here, just in case the family is game for a little hike before departing. Bluebird Park, located on Cress Street between Temple Terrace and Bluebird Canyon Drive has a fenced-in playground, half basketball court, BBQ's and picnic tables to enjoy. The playground structure here is also in the shape of a rocket ship, for the outer space obsessed kids, or for those who just like to climb. Aliso Beach (if you didn’t have time for an evening bonfire, but still want to check it out) is also a great option as it has a play structure on the sand and there’s also a walk up restaurant, Lost Pier Café, a beachfront dining venue located at the site of the former Aliso Creek Pier, and operated by The Ranch Laguna Beach (an upscale resort worth checking out on your next visit). Parking is also really easy here. Two more options for parks fit for families include Heisler Park that stretches along the bluffs on Cliff Drive from Aster Street to Diver’s Cove. The ocean front park includes walking trails, gardens, a marine refuge with tide pools, picnic tables, lawn bowling and lots of public art (keep an eye out for the 16’ breaching whale). And then there’s Treasure Island Park (located adjacent to the Montage Resort), which also has some beautiful vista points as well as public art.
Mozambique is a wonderful option for both the kids and adults. There are great views for everyone up on the rooftop veranda and the restaurant also has friendly parrots to admire and talk to at the entrance of the restaurant. The birds are free to roam the property on their own so make sure to watch those little fingers that might be tempted to touch the parrots. If there’s time before departing and you want to tire out the family, consider ending your Laguna Beach visit with hiking in some of the 20,000 acres of wilderness just waiting to be explored through hiking, biking or even docent-led tours. And, an easy flat hike to Barbara’s Lake, the only fresh water lake in Orange County, is also a great option.