Laguna Beach (one local's advice)

Old Apr 30th, 2005, 05:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Laguna Beach (one local's advice)

Just figured I should do my share and chip in here..

I grew up in Newport Beach but have called Laguna Beach home for many years. If you want flashy cars, that OC thing, stay in Newport. Stuffier, more conservative, better if malls are your thing. If you want a taste of what California was like before tract homes, head to Laguna. It can still be crazy crowded (in the summer) and has plenty of Porsche people, but it's one of the few remaining Southern California beach towns with any soul. We have something like 14 miles of beaches, and none are the boring straight variety (like Huntington and west Newport). Mostly coves with tidepools and dolphin sightings. This was (I emphasize WAS) an artist colony, and although now it's more of the scenescape type, you can still sense the vibe here.

Food: don't miss Zinc Cafe for breakfast or lunch. I ate here for 17 years before I realized it was a vegetarian restaurant (it's that good). Big foamy lattes served in monster mugs. Counter service. Hip but not too hip. (If you want less hip, go to Coffee Pub just across the street.)

La Sierna (The Mermaid). GREAT unique Mexican food (unique for the US). Downtown location on Mermaid St. is mainly take-away; south Laguna location across from The Montage resort is dine-in. Our favorite sunset dinner is food to go from La Sierna then head to the park adjacent to the Montage and soak in that zillion-dollar view.

Wahoo's for budget-minded. Surfy Mex menu. healthy. good for loud kids.

Splurge: French 75. Dark, romantic. Also good: Sun Dried Tomato (very small, not great for families; get the amazing salad with all the goodies).

Sushi: 321 in the third level of the Village center at Pacific Coast Highway and Oak Street.

Stay: I have stayed at Hotel Laguna (wow--OLD, but perfect location), Capri Laguna (our room was ick--musty, but you couldn't beat the waves at your balcony) and Vacation Village (like the Riviera nextdoor) are fine for families and moderate budgets to be on the beach. If you have the money, go for the Montage, but really here's my advice: there is a Best Western (very plain) across the street from the Montage. Stay there and spend all your time strolling the PUBLIC park that surrounds the Montage. No, you can't sneak into the Montage's pool, but you can traipse around the lobby and soak in that luxury if you need it. Stay at the BW and splurge with a long sunset dinner at the Montage.

Local secrets: Crescent Cove beach, about 1.5 miles north of Main Beach. Crystal Cove Beach--for a taste of what OC was like a thousand years ago (just try to block out the rows and rows of McMansions of Newport Coast across the street). Bluebird Park for youngsters, about 1/4 mile inland from PCH off Cress St. Fun modern playground and pretty shade trees.

Enjoy, and please, please make sure it really says WALK before you cross our busy intersections by the beach. I nearly flatten at least one tourist every summer here because they're so oblivious to traffic signals.

Skateboard Mom
skateboardmom2 is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 10:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ooops--I made a mistake on the name of the sushi bar. it's San Shi Go, not 321. (San Shi Go is Japanese for three numbers, but not the numbers 321).
skateboardmom2 is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 373
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great post from the insider's perspective, skateboardmom2. As a visitor to your area, I have to say the subtle differences between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach are pretty much lost on me. I stayed with a friend in Corona del Mar (he works in Newport Beach) and we spent some time in Laguna Beach as well. It's all the same to this Oregon girl. From my perspective, everyone in So Cal seems to have a flashy car, beautiful clothes, beautiful hair, and a great body.

You sure have nice weather down there, though, and I loved running in Crystal Cove park!
pdxgirl is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love Laguna Beach. You forgot to mention the friendly people! My coworker and I had a day off after working on a harrowing 2-day traffic survey out there...we walked around and met lots of locals. Had lunch with one lady we met and dinner with a couple that owned one of the shops there. It was surreal! I'll have to try some of the restaurants you listed the next time I go back.

{BTW...san shi go = 345}
suzanne is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM
Posts: n/a
Your post made me wish I was back in Laguna Beach. Thanks to the great California posters here, my friend and I drove down there from Anaheim (where she was attending a convention during the summer. We had such a good time the first night, we went back again to shop and have dinner. We had a great time at some Mexican place near the ocean -- I thnk it had a Z in the name. Anyway, good memories! Would LOVE to go back!
Old May 2nd, 2005, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the Sixties when I was a kid my grandparents had a beach house in Emerald Bay. In those days there was only one gate in. What are there now, 6?

Nothing better than Peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches for lunch on the beach.

My favorite restaurant was the Royal Hawaiian, long gone I suppose, not because their bbq ribs were great but because for dessert you could order a Pelee -- a cone-shaped scoop of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge for "lava" and an alcohol-soaked crouton lighted and placed on top to provide the "eruption."

Thanks for reviving the memories.
buzzer is offline  
Old May 8th, 2005, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 177
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
to skateboardmom, can you please tell me which hotel you would advise Surf and Sand or Inn at Laguna. Both nice but Inn is closer to town, no? Please advise
GLMDesigns is offline  
Old May 14th, 2005, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 801
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a visitor to Southern CA, I've loved going to Laguna when Sawdust Art Festival is going on >>>
< < < and, the unique & thoroughly entertaining "Pageant of the Masters" >>>
Tess_Durberville is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2005, 09:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Local report: Inn at Laguna is ON the main Laguna Beach in the center of town.
Surf and Sand is about 1 mile south and on the beach. Both well located...go for price!
Deloris is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Mar 29th, 2010 02:49 PM
United States
Jul 12th, 2008 06:05 AM
United States
Feb 23rd, 2004 01:01 AM
United States
Feb 17th, 2004 01:55 PM
United States
Jul 20th, 2002 01:14 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:03 AM.