This Laguna Beach travel information was compiled by Marvin Davis (@farmtotable on Twitter) and kindly provided to us for use on this blog. Please, feel free to let us know if something should be added to this listing.
We are often asked about fun things to do in the areas we serve. Sometimes, we’re even asked where is a great place to stay. For that reason, we thought it might be nice to post some ideas for people. Here, we provide some interesting Laguna Beach travel info. August is an especially great time to visit the Laguna Beach area, and it is a one-stop shop for outdoor adventures. We highly recommend this area as a base camp for your Southern California adventures!
Info Sheet – South Orange Coast Base Camp at Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Crystal Cove State Park (http://crystalcovestatepark.com/) makes a great base camp for just about any adventure (Kayak/SUP/MTB riding/Road Bike riding/Hiking/Swimming/Scuba/Surfing/Snorkeling). The South Orange Coast from Newport to Dana Point has sufficient topography to make launching & landing kayaks/SUP’s in most weather conditions a breeze. Exploring this beautiful area will reveal many small coves, hidden beaches, and beautiful vistas.
Be sure to treat yourself to the Shake Shack located along HWY-1 at least once.
If you are unfamiliar with this venue and just want to get a feel for Crystal Cove, stop by the Beachcomber Cafe (http://thebeachcombercafe.com/_crystalcove/index.aspx) located right on the beach. Great beach vibe with breakfast, lunch, dinner, served inside or on the deck and a separate bar outside.
While staying in one of the vintage Crystal Cove Cottages, just get yuppie grub from Trader Joes ((949) 494-7404) at the nearby Crystal Cove Promenade (8086 E Pacific Coast Hwy 92657) shopping center or take out from local restaurants. One of our favorite takeouts is whole roasted chicken and a Caesar salad from Banderas ((949) 673-3524; http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/bandera/ ) at 3201 E Pacific Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar 92625.
Unique accommodations range from tent/RV camping at the Crystal Cove State Park’s new Moro Campground, to hiking in to an Environmental Site, to rustic beach Cottages located right on the sand. The Moro Campground tent sites are located closest to the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and cost a whopping $50/night, but could just be one of the finest adventure base camps ever.
Environmental Sites (Hike may not be suitable with heavy gear/boats.)
Link to site: http://www.crystalcovestatepark.com/camping.htm
Reservations by ReserveAmerica:http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/Crystal_Cove_Sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=CA&parkId=120022
Link to site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5WhiHC71Jc
Reservations by ReserveAmerica: http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/Crystal_Cove_Sp_Moro_Campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=CA&parkId=123400
Link to site: http://www.crystalcovebeachcottages.com/html/index.php
Reservations by ReserveAmerica: http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/Crystal_Cove_Beach_Cottages/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=CA&parkId=120742
Prices range from ~$40/night for a secure dorm room to ~$200/night for a complete house. Reservations are available 7 months in advance but cancellations often come up, especially the week before.
I like the beach cottages 16, 19A, 32, & 37 because of the short portage to launch. My wife’s favorite is 33 located along the bluff. The dorm units do not work for couples. Cottage 2 has some restaurant noise. ADA units 1, 18 , 38D require handicap placard. The only unit I cannot recommend is 19B as it is located below 19A and can be painfully bad with noisy kids living right above you, jumping off the beds, running across the floor, etc.
The Carriage House in Laguna Beach is a relatively affordable private accommodation with kitchen.
Another great base camp option is the cottages at nearby Newport Dunes RV Park.
The 1 bedroom w/lofts and Beachfront 1 bedroom w/lofts are very nice. Pricey during the summer, but the off season rates have been running ~$150/night for a nicely furnished cottage. Launch from beach a stones throw from cottage for a peaceful flat water meander of the Newport Back Bay, or head on out through the channel to see what adventures await. Located along some good road bike routes and there are a few nice little MTB routes and hiking trails nearby, including the Back Bay Loop (http://www.irlandmarks.org/assets/pdfs/BackBayLoopMap.pdf) that you can access directly from the RV Park.
Laguna Beach Weather
Use the following link to check out what to expect from the weather during your stay: http://www.weather.com/weather/monthly/92651
Laguna Beach Events
Local events include Pageant of the Masters (A unique must see experience where the art comes to you life size (http://www.foapom.com/), Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Festival, Art Museum, Live music (Ever heard Sachmo Covers? That sound exactly like Louise Armstrong?) in a multitude of indoor and outdoor venues, great little shops, museums, art galleries, with free trolley service around town and to the beach. Check out the Laguna Beach Calendar of Events for more options for your stay.
Laguna Beach Calendar of Events: http://www.lagunabeach.com/calendarofevents/
MTB Riding: There is some great year round (closed after winter rains) MTB riding in Crystal Cove State Park and you could always hook up the with the RADS and Brian Lopes if you are looking for a more extreme Pro level adventure.
No known pump tracks or DJ/Freeride sites, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere.
Check out the MTB Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6v5FLPQcUo
Note the ridge line trails are completely devoid of Poison Oak.
MTB Rentals (Stumpys, Mojos, Blurs, Oh My!):
Nice road bike rides North/South along HWY-1 and as far East as you want.
Road Bike Rentals:
Don’t have your road bike with you but still want to go out and enjoy cycling the South Orange Coast? Contact Joe (949) 374-6079 at Synaptic Cycles for a great rental price on a super smooth Calfee or Cervelo delivered right to your door!
Kayaking/Stand Up Paddleboarding:
Newport Bay also makes a good launch site.
Dana Harbor is a very nice launch site.
Kayak/SUP Rentals from Southwind Rental Base (949) 261-0200
SCUBA is a great option with much sea life and interesting topography and artifacts, include including an old anchor and a WWII vintage F4 Corsair (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=23871) located just offshore from Crystal Cove.
Surf Report (949) 494-6573
Watch for submerged rocks.
Avalon on Catalina Island makes an excellent day trip from the ferry terminals in nearby Newport Beach (Catalina Flyer http://www.catalinainfo.com/) or Dana Harbor (Catalina Express http://www.catalinaexpress.com/index.php). Tip: Catalina Express currently has a promo for free round trip travel on your birthday.
How to get around:
Train Service: Regular AMTRAK Train service aboard the Pacific Surfliner is available from nearby Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, or limited service from San Clemente.
Call (800) USA-RAIL for reservations and monitor http://twitter.com/PACSurfliners for latest updates.
OCTA #1 municipal bus travels HWY-1 from Long Beach to Dana Point (and occasionally San Clemente) with stops near Crystal Cove State Park. http://www.octa.net/bus-routes-and-schedules.aspx