Inspired By Lovely Laguna

(1 review)
0.00 Grams
Current Stock:

One of the most common images of a Southern California beach is of a great expanse of golden sand sloping down to meet the ocean’s curling waves. Laguna Beach is a little bit different. Nestled between the San Joaquin Hills and the Pacific Ocean - just 77 kilometres from Los Angeles - its coastline of some 11 kilometres is scalloped into a series of individual coves backed by steep sandstone bluffs. As a result the town boasts more than a dozen beaches, each with a different personality and boasting panoramic views. Atop the coastal bluffs, quaint cottages sit amidst subtropical gardens; inland, hills rise up over 300 metres to a scenic promontory known locally as the “Roof of the World”, an area given over to luxuriant foliage and million-dollar mansions. Its unique natural beauty takes an immediate hold and its easy to understand why this special piece of Californian coastline has become the haunt of America’s new breed of artists.

What golf is to Palm Springs and gambling is to Las Vegas, art is to Laguna Beach. Artists began arriving in the sleepy community over a century ago, attracted by its natural beauty, year-round, picture-postcard weather, and the appeal of a lifestyle alternative to urban living, which in America is coming under deep scrutiny. Today Laguna Beach is home to more than 90 galleries and studios exhibiting the work of prominent and emerging American artists, and it’s a great place to explore on foot. Our first stop on a day of touring was Laguna’s Main Beach - the town’s “Window to the Sea” and a Mecca for local sun worshippers. It’s a favourite spot for surfers and is a scuba diver’s dream with a variety of sheltered dive sites to choose from including Shaws, Divers and Woods Coves.

All of the town’s beaches are fiercely protected and are part of either Ecological Reserves or Marine Life Refuges; even motorboats and jet skis are prohibited from being within 200 yards of the shore, a blessing for marine, wild and bird life as well as local residents. As we discovered, Laguna Beach’s town centre is easy to explore on foot. Its tree-shaded streets are lined with elegant boutiques and restaurants, providing a striking contrast to the South Coast Highway. Even the area’s accommodations reflect the community’s low-key atmosphere. Most are boutique hotels and B & Bs, and there are only a handful of full-service properties in the town, with one being the luxurious Surf and Sand Resort which enjoys a stunning position right on the beachfront.

As you traverse Laguna Beach’s gentile streets, it’s easy to see what really makes the town stand out from its rivals along the southern coastline. The town prides itself on limiting commercialism and has fought hard to retain its village atmosphere; there are no shopping malls, theme parks, tee shirt shops or ice cream stalls. Local regulations even forbid flashing neon signs and buildings over three stories tall. But art remains the most dominant theme, and as we approached the Laguna Art Museum a friendly local artist told us about the art walk, a popular local tradition which takes place on the first Thursday of each month. Part of the walk experience is seeing demonstrations and enjoying lectures, which is a great way to show off local talent to visitors. The Museum itself is also worth a look. The oldest cultural institution in Orange County, it features American art with a strong focus on California and its artists.

The art scene takes on major prominence each summer, however, when Laguna Canyon Road becomes home to the Festival of the Arts (between July and August) which showcases 150 of California’s most accomplished artists, and the Sawdust Festival (between June and September). As we ventured along the path from Main Beach north towards Heisler Park, brightly coloured flowers added flashes of purple, yellow and blood red to what was shaping up to be a stunning sunset over the ocean. We were discussing inspiration, which for some local artists, the subjects include inspirational moments, women, surfers, animals, nature and sunsets. And as an orange sun began to slide into the purple ocean below admired by thousands of eyes, it was easy to see why Laguna Beach, is an artist’s dream. It has one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast, it’s abundant with nature, and it is blessed with awesome sunsets like the one we were witnessing.

Joanna Hall


  • 5
    I'm From SoCal And Love It

    Posted by Rob The Doc on 7th Jan 2019

    Loved your article on my home town Ultimate Travel.....I am from Laguna but living in Australia now, and you captured the essence of the beachside community perfectly. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!