• Photo: (c) Littleny | Dreamstime.com

Laguna Beach

Even the approach tells you that Laguna Beach is exceptional. Driving in along Laguna Canyon Road from the Interstate 405 freeway gives you the chance to cruise through a gorgeous coastal canyon, large stretches of which remain undeveloped. You’ll arrive at a glistening wedge of ocean.

Laguna’s welcome mat is legendary. On the corner of Forest and Park avenues is a gate proclaiming, "This gate hangs well and hinders none, refresh and rest, then travel on." A gay community has long been established here. Art galleries dot the village streets, and there’s usually someone daubing up in Heisler Park. Along the Pacific Coast Highway you’ll find dozens of clothing boutiques, jewelry shops, and cafés.

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