Lifestyle

10 Favorite Beaches in Laguna Beach & Dana Point

For three years now my husband and I have had the privilege of calling South Orange County and its beautiful surrounding beaches home! My husband hails from Germany where sunny days are few and far between, whereas I grew up in the Philippines where we were never short of Vitamin D. Regardless of where we grew up, we both love to take advantage of our proximity to Southern California beaches.

We love to explore the area and have access to several amazing beach communities, so it’s no wonder I thrive off of sunshine, beaches, and summer outfits! From Heisler Park in Laguna Beach to salt Creek in Dana Point, each beach is gorgeous and unique. Orange County should be on everyone’s bucket list, and to make your trip a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite beaches that are definitely worth your time!

Check out my top 10  beaches in South Orange County area!

1. Heisler Park

For Laguna Beach virgins, I recommend visiting Heisler Park first because of the many beaches and amenities! This spacious park is home to four beautiful beaches; Picnic Beach, Diver’s Beach, Monument Point, and Rockpile Beach. It also has a large, grassy picnic area that offers shade from surrounding palm trees, in addition to an area of bathrooms and showers if you need to rinse off after a dip in the Pacific.

The water here is a home to many sea creatures, including lots of mussels and barnacles, and is a haven for snorkelers and tide poolers who are interested in studying our small, crustaceous friends. After exploring the many diverse tidal pools, head over to Heisler Park’s claim to fame, a gazebo dating back to the 19th century, famous for its view over the Pacific. Today, the gazebo is a popular location for weddings and makes an amazing spot for Instagram worthy photos!

After exploring the rest of the park, Las Brisas, is within walking distance of the park and has a colorful menu full of flavorful appetizers including delicious guacamole and ceviche! Paired with a delicious margarita, the patio of the restaurant is the perfect spot to watch a gorgeous sunset that sets over the ocean and coves nestled amongst the cliffs.

Address: 375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. (There is metered parking available when you enter the park, but you can also park further up on Cliff Drive)

2.Main Beach

When people think of Southern California beaches and boardwalks, more than likely a beach like Main Beach will pop into mind. Aptly named Main Beach, this often crowded beach is located nearby downtown Laguna and offering a variety of activities. Even if you prefer a more secluded beach area, I recommend giving Main Beach a chance! From ongoing basketball and volleyball games, to unique art installations and ice cream shops, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. Main Beach has a distinct, high-energy vibe that attracts people of all kinds and is a classic stop to add to every Laguna beach trip!

Address: 107 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (Metered street parking and parking garages are available nearby the beach)

3.Victoria Beach

Laguna’s hidden gem, Victoria beach is tucked away and secluded, nestled between luxurious beach homes and picturesque cliffs. Although not the most accessible beach, many make the trek to explore the famous Pirate Tower, a 60ft. tower built in 1926 designed to mimic a European castle. It is adjacent to the Norman House, originally built in 1926 for California State Senator William Edward Brown. The residence is now privately-owned and reminds beach goers of fairytales, serving as the perfect back drop for a day at this dreamy beach!

Address: 2700 Victoria Drive, Laguna Beach. (Since Victoria Beach is on a residential street, it may be hard to find parking on the street itself. You can park on the nearby Coast Highway and then walk back to Victoria Drive. Just make sure you don’t miss the beach - keep left at the fork.)

4. Middle Man Cove

Middle Man Cove  is located between Goff Cove Beach and Treasure Island Beach below the Montage Resort . This beach  is one of the most beautiful beaches in Laguna Beach! This Northern part of Montage Beach  has a secluded cove that’s perfect for watching the sunset and makes you feel like you’re in another world.)

Address: 7 Montage Way, Laguna Beach. (There’s a parking garage and metered parking available on the street and across Montage)

5.Treasure Island

Aptly named, Treasure Island makes you feel like you’ve stepped onto an exotic, tropical island, full of white sand, swaying palm trees, and breathtaking views of the bluffs! Not only does it transport you into a tropical daydream, but it’s also a great spot to chase sunsets! 

 Treasure Island is also home to Montage Beach Resort (if you haven’t read my post on Montage Beach Resort and my first summer in Laguna, you can read it here)! The water is crystal clear; perfect for taking pictures, swimming, and exploring tidal pools. It is easily accessible through the picture-perfect grounds of the resort. It’s the perfect relaxing beach to explore and stroll along the cliffs while waiting for golden hour.

Address: 7 Montage Way, Laguna Beach. (There’s a parking garage and metered parking available on the street and across Montage)

6.Aliso Beach

This beach is ideal for families because of its accessibility, and not to mention it’s an amazing spot to hang out ocean side all day! Perfect for s’mores, cookouts, and campfire sing-a-longs, Aliso is the only beach in the Laguna area that has seven firepits up for grabs! The firepits are first come, first serve, so be sure to stake your claim as early as possible. Some families will even get to the beach as early as 6am just to claim a firepit! When you’re done roasting marshmallows over the fire, you can enjoy watching or partake in the beach’s other popular activity: skimboarding! Aliso beach even plays host to the annual worldwide skimboarding competition and is the perfect place for catching some waves.

Address: Aliso Beach Park 31131 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. (There’s a metered parking lot directly in front of the beach which is perfect for easy access!)

7.Camel Point & West Beach

If you need an escape from tourists and crowds, I recommend Camel Point & West Beach. This secluded beauty is easily accessible and is the perfect spot to spend a quiet afternoon lounging in the sun. However, if you’re feeling more active, there are also volleyball courts and plenty of tide pools to explore! 

This beach also boasts plenty of Instagram worthy locations, including a unique rock formation perfect for a backdrop!

 

Address: Camel Point Drive, Laguna Beach. (Look for a coastal access sign on the Pacific Coast Highway in between Aliso Creek Beach and Table Rock Beach. You can park along the Pacific Coast Highway!)

8. Table Rock Beach

Our Wedding on October 12, 2008

This beach has a very special place in my heart because it’s where my husband and I got married in 2008! One of the most romantic beaches in the area, it is perfectly secluded, surrounded by dramatic bluffs, and embodies the ultimate Laguna Beach paradise! After descending a long, wooden staircase, you’re met with breathtaking views of pristine water, sand, and the picturesque view of surrounding cliffs! It’s the perfect, romantic spot to lounge in the sun with someone you love.

 

Address: 31681 Sea Bluff Lane, Laguna Beach (There is parking along the Coast Highway or on Eagle Rock Way)

9.Thousand Steps Beach

If you’re looking for a good leg workout, head to Thousand Steps Beach for it’s 223 step staircase! Not only is this beach home to a killer beach workout, but it’s also Laguna’s longest beach, meaning it likely won’t be overcrowded. Your workout is rewarded with pristine white sand, plenty of space to spread out, and multiple caves and rock tunnels perfect for exploring!

 

Address: 31972 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (Parking is available on the Coast Highway or along the neighboring residential streets)

10.Salt Creek Beach

Only a few miles from my home, I frequently make visits to this beach and love to set up picnics in the Salt Creek Park area! The park has picnic tables and barbecues, so it’s the perfect spot to come for a beach side lunch or dinner! The beachfront is also directly in front of the famous Ritz Carlton and the beach itself is wide, beautiful, and is one of the top surfing spots in Ocean County! Even if you’re not much of a surfer, it’s fun to swim, body surf, lounge in the sun, and has plenty of tidal pools to explore!

An advantage of Salt Creek Beach is that it is one of the few places in Laguna Beach that is dog friendly. At Dana Point you will find dog friendly restaurants, stores, and activities. You’ll have the opportunity to kayak with your furry friend or walk with them in Heritage Park. If you plan on staying awhile, there are even dog friendly hotels!

Address: 33333 Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (There’s a parking garage across from the Ritz Carlton where you can access the beach)

I could easily go on about how many other amazing beaches Orange County has to offer, but these ten are easily my favorite and worth the trip! When exploring these nine beaches, there’s also a chance that you’ll run into my husband and I soaking in the sun, taking in the breathtaking views, or grabbing an Instagram photo!

If surf and sand aren’t for you, you can get in a workout on one of the local hiking trails and get an amazing beach view from up above, maybe take in one of our county’s many incredible art installations at the park where you will find sculptures, murals, and more! Some of the art is temporary, so you never know what you might discover. You can also pop into town to do a bit of shopping at one of the amazing boutiques! If you’re looking for more non-beach related activities around Laguna Beach, you can read about my favorite things to do, sights to see, and places to eat here!

Laguna Beach has so much to offer, and I highly recommend putting it onto your travel list! You’ll enjoy every second

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