- 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 to swinging on playground swings to galleries that will delight the entire family, Laguna Beach awaits you and your family for a fun-filled vacation. 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 later in the afternoon, stash your luggage at your hotel, or find a cozy parking spot near Main Beach and head for 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 while the kids drool over the pizookie (fresh baked cookies in a mini deep dish, topped with ice cream) menu. Afterwards, depending on timing (as tide pool times vary 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 is obviously not recommended, as low tide is the ideal time to explore sea creatures in the pools. It’s also important to note that you can’t take anything from the beaches 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 located right on 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 during 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 the 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 the 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 walking distance from Main Beach in downtown. Lumberyard has both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that will delight both adults and children. Or, if Mexican food sounds good, visit Carmelita’s, also in downtown Laguna Beach. Here the family can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine and the adults can also enjoy margaritas. Pizza by the slice is also an option over at Slice, which offers gourmet pizza and salads as well as craft beer and wine on tap by the portion, instead of the glass. Slice is also located right in downtown Laguna Beach. Depending on time, consider a bonfire at Aliso Beach, located in south Laguna, which is open daily from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
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 it and the kids will love the learning experience. A fun place for breakfast is Ruby’s Auto Diner that 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 is all outdoor seating, perfect for Laguna Beach, and offers items such as yogurt and fruit bowls, in addition to some egg dishes. Parents will enjoy the organic coffees and fine teas that Urth Caffé has to offer.
Head back to your hotel to check out and pack up before heading out for some final memory making time. Top of the World at 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 hiking before departing. Bluebird Park, located on Cress Street between Temple Terrace and Bluebird Canyon Drive has a fenced in playground, half basketball court, barbeques and picnic tables to enjoy. The play structure here is also in the shape of a rocket ship, for the outer space obsessed kids, or 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 hotel worth checking out on your next visit). 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 the 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 some 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 a great option.