Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach holds the distinction of having one of the greatest number of localized beaches of any city on the California coast.  The list includes the northern beaches of Irvine Cove, Crescent Bay, Shaw's Cove, Boat Canyon, Diver's Cove, Picnic Beach and Rockpile. Central Beaches include Main Beach, Sleepy Hollow, St. Ann's Street, Thalia Street, Oak Street, Brook's Street and Mountain Road Beach. Southern Laguna Beach (South Laguna Beach) beaches include  Bluebird Canyon, Pearl Street, Wood's Cove, Moss Point, Rockledge, Victoria Beach and Treasure Island. Guarded by a premier force of lifeguards, Laguna Beaches are operated under the City of Laguna Beach Lifeguard Services.

What's unique about the Laguna Beach beaches are their tourist and hotel friendly locations. With properties constructed on and near the beach before the California Coastal Commission regulations changed the building permit process, you'll see some spectacular hotel and resorts sitting on cliffs above the ocean in South Orange County. That's why tourists love visiting and staying overnight in Laguna Beach. You can park your car and walk down to the on location beach at many hotels, or walk downtown to the great shops, restaurants and art galleries. Of all the Orange County cities that range from San Clemente, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach and Surfside, Laguna Beach offers the most beach hotel rooms directly on the sand without crossing Pacific Coast Highway. Montage, the newest resort property, is spectacular with its views, pools, lawns and beaches that are open to the public. You'll be hard pressed to find a more luxurious resort destination than Laguna Beach.
Laguna got its name long ago from the Ute-Azteca Indian word for lakes, Lagonas. Spaniards who arrived later called it Canada de las Lagunas (Canyon of the Lakes) and in 1904, the area became known as Laguna Beach. 

Around the same time artist Norman St. Clair traveled from Los Angeles to capture the scenery on canvas. His artist friends were so impressed with his paintings and reports of a balmy year-round climate that they joined him. (He and his wife actually lived in Laguna off and on prior to 1912.) The plein-air artists who painted in the style of French impressionists, settled and by the late 1920’s, half of the residents were artists.

Following the artists came the Hollywood film makers who found Laguna to be every bit as appealing on the silver screen as it was painted on canvas. Many of Hollywood’s famous stars like Bette Davis, Mary Pickford, Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Rooney maintained homes in Laguna Beach.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Steinbeck also went to Laguna for inspiration and relaxation, frequenting landmarks like the White House and the Cabrillo Ballroom.
Laguna’s universal allure is best expressed on a famous gate built in 1935 (which still
stands on the corner of Forest and Park Avenues); it reads “This gate hangs well and
hinders none, refresh and rest, then travel on.”
Things to See: 
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES 949-497-0722  Visit public art spots such as the mural on Main Beach at Forest Lane, Support by Louis Longi, 211 N. Coast Hwy., Eucalyptus Bench at 350 North Coast Hwy. and three sculpture by Jerry Rothman in Heisler Park.
ART INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651  949-376-6000
ART WALK of over 40 Laguna Beach galleries is held monthly and meets at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive at N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651  949-497-0722
BETTE DAVIS HOUSE  1991 Ocean Way is an English Tudor home, built in 1929. Bette Davis lived there during the early 1940's.
DOG PARK on Laguna Canyon Road near El Toro Road.
GALLERY ROW   300-500 North Coast Highway.
HEISLER PARK ECOLOGICAL RESERVE opposite Bird Rock at Main Beach north to the Divers Cove offers tide pools, snorkeling and scuba diving.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MURPHY-SMITH BUNGALOW, 278 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA  92651   949-497-4439
HORTENSE MILLER GARDENS,  location: 2.5 acres on upper slope area of North Laguna. 949-497-0716 ext. 6
HOTEL LAGUNA, 425 South Coast Highway, built in 1888, photos of old Laguna.
LAGUNA ART MUSEUM  307 Cliff Drive (at Coast Highway), Laguna Beach, CA 92651 949-494-8971  Internet: 
LAGUNA SOUTH COAST WILDERNESS PARK offers 19,000 acres of open space and marine preserves. Pets are not permitted.  949-497-8324
LAGUNA WILDERNESS PARK HIKE is a guided tour with moderate hiking is available by calling  949-494-9352
PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA  92651  Tickets (800) 487-3378
THOUSAND STEPS beach staircase leads to a spectacular surfing area.

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