Wow! This is all we’ve got to say when the time comes to talk about Laguna! Growing up in a windy city where museums and galleries were around every corner it is simply refreshing to see an abundance of galleries in this part of SoCal.
The number of publically available galleries is pretty low in LA and OC area, thus going to private galleries can be just as enlightening as you’d say a trip to a museum with outdated artwork. The town’s store fronts are safely harbored within the the walls of the Laguna Canyon and unravel on the way to the Pacific Coast highway. The city literally opens up towards the ocean like a book.
Parking at Laguna Beach
Easily navigable city can be crossed on foot in any direction, so parking ‘far’ shouldn’t be an issue, since there’s very little free parking within the “down town” vicinity. In fact there is no well defined downtown area accept that it seems that all the roads lead to the Main beach. This little town truly makes you feel as if you were in a Hollywood movie.
Feel free to take advantage of the shuttles running up and down the PCH at no charge to the visitors.
Simply skip all the beaches on your way form Los Angeles and start checking out ones following Laguna while you’re cruising down on PCH – from San Clemente all the way to Cardiff. Each one of these beaches offers a unique and very pleasant experience for visitors. You might want to bring your own lunch, since many do not have any restaurants in the vicinity.
Btw. if you are low on time we wouldn’t recommend visiting Laguna Beach art museum. The gallery is absolutely overrated and doesn’t worth your time, not counting the money spent on a ticket… Instead, explore all the private galleries with modern pieces by the local artists. It is absolutely refreshing to see the creative California minds!
Laguna Beach with kids
On a positive note I’d like to add – the entire town is very much family oriented and the business owners will absolutely accommodate parents with little children. We visited every gallery with our son and always had a sincerely pleasant experience. Of course Dr. Seuss gallery was our son’s favorite.
He also enjoyed sneaking around the alleys of the ginger bread houses. So reminiscent of Carmel by the sea in the north. Our son enjoyed the Heisler park probably the most and of course the massive playground at the beach. To top it all off we finalize our mini expeditions to Laguna Beach while exploring tide-pools right next to Main Beach.
If you have a chance, try to find the gallery with whales and dolphins – our son was mesmerized by all the animals we’ve seen at the ocenariums to be presented in a still-life sculptures. Whichever gallery you’ll visiting you’ll definitely have a great experience. To add one more – the National Geographic photography gallery was also especially impressive.
Laguna Beach playground
What we really like about southern California beaches are the countless playgrounds right on the beach. Immediately you’ll feel a tranquil community oriented private beach vibe. In a nut shell if you’ve seen too many Hollywood movies the beaches within Los Angeles vicinity wont impress you as much as the stretch from Laguna Beach to the Torrey Pines State Beach in La Jolla.
Sculptures around the city
Another pleasant surprise that awaits you are the most random sculptures sprinkled around the town (very reminiscent of Walnut Creek in the SF Eastbay).
In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
as Promethan Sunsets
Blossom, Blaze and secede
From splendor to Mystery
In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
as booming surf speaks its
Mystical passage across
The Undreamed depthsQuote by Raymond Persinger
Bonus: A very cool gallery that you and your kids might enjoy is the Vladimir Kush’s gallery. The artist seem to magically juxtapose various floral and fauna elements onto most unexpected objects – what an absolute marvel.
Extraordinary motives and conceptually challenging sculptures and prints are truly magnetizing.
Check out the life-size bug shaped metal armor or the elephants with a euphonium instead of the head.
Eiler Larsen a Danish vagabond who earned fame as “The Greeter” of Laguna Beach perfectly exemplifies the free spirited origin of Laguna Beach community. For years he was hanging out by the entrance to the town off of Pacific Coast Highway waving at the oncoming visitors. Now a days you can find his statues all over the town.
Perhaps a bit odd but sweet story reflects the welcoming ambiance of this artistic Southern California town. Known all over the world for its turquoise lagoons the town has some of the most scenic seascapes to choose from for a day at the beach with your family.
After spending a pleasant morning playing ball on the green carpeted slopes at the Heisler park (rivaled by the Love’s point park up by Monterey bay) with your kids we’d recommend heading to numerous city cafes inside the canyon off HWY 133. Alternatively check out local super markets – Whole food or Pavilions if you’d prefer to pick some munches to go. It’s good to note that an Urth Caffé Laguna Beach is located right across from the Heisler park over the PCH.
Often times we swing by the Laguna beach with our son after hiking on the beach at the Crystal Cove state park up the Pacific Coast Highway. There’s a playground located right on the beach, ideal for families with toddlers. The place is a bit touristy than other locals socal beaches, but still absolutely perfect for a day at the beach.
Check out the tide pools, local art galleries and restaurants for a memorable California vacation with kids.