You won’t have to spend this Saturday morning running errands—you’re on vacation. Instead, spend the morning window-shopping for items you didn’t realize you needed until you saw them.
Part of the appeal of shopping in Laguna Beach is the many independent boutiques and stores selling the works of local designers and craftspeople, and which line the streets of the town’s compact shopping districts. As you wander among its stores, you’ll soon understand why Laguna Beach topped the list at #1 for Yelp’s Top 20 Cities to Shop Local in the U.S. in 2018.
Among the prime shopping areas you’ll want to stroll are Ocean and Forest avenues. On the former, Areo
and Brass Tack
are inviting stores filled with unique home items. At the Hobie Surf Shop
on Forest, you can pick out a new board or some California surfer-inspired designs to wear. Black Bough
, also on Forest, features a carefully curated and eclectic selection of items, from handcrafted soaps to handmade candle holders. Much of their inventory is produced by individual artisans in limited runs, so the items for sale are constantly changing.
Before heading to Dana Point, stop by the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market
, held every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon. While many locals come here to peruse the produce, the market also sells empanadas, sandwiches, and other light bites; you can also stock up on artisanal honey and jams as gifts or to fill your pantry back home.
A few minutes’ drive south will bring you to Dana Point for the second half of your Orange County getaway. Check into either the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa or the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
The 378 rooms at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa
, fresh from a resort-wide renovation, are a decidedly chic take on the Southern California beach lifestyle. Hardwood floors, palettes in tans and grays, and ocean views give guestrooms the feel of cool beach bungalows. Two pools, an enormous spa, and the OverVue lounge, with views of the coastline, round out the resort’s offerings. Outer Reef is the resort’s newest addition, scheduled to open this year. The restaurant will be helmed by John Tesar, a four-time James Beard nominee who has also appeared on two seasons of Top Chef
Just a short ways up the coast, on the other side of the Dana Point headlands, the 396 rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
also have a palette inspired by sand and sea. To make your stay even more memorable, you may want to opt for a room on the Club Level, where you’ll enjoy the use of an exclusive lounge and the services of a dedicated concierge staff. Among the highlights of the hotel’s offerings that all guests can enjoy are a long list of eco-adventures, a luxurious spa with 12 treatment rooms, and a collection of restaurants with menus designed by leading chefs. Don’t miss outdoor lounge at 180blũ–an inviting place to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the views of Salt Creek Beach.
If you want to get in a workout, the fitness center here has views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Or spend the afternoon enjoying some downtime at your resort, perhaps poolside with a good book or on the beach. The resort’s beach butlers will provide you with all the essentials—chairs, towels, sunscreen, and more.
And take a stroll around the yacht-filled Dana Point Harbor—even if you chose not to sail to the city on this trip, you can admire some of the roughly 2,500 pleasure craft here. The harbor also has a selection of boutiques selling jewelry, fashion, and art. Afterwards, head to a local favorite for dinner. Coastal Kitchen
sits just a few blocks inland from the harbor and serves some of the best and freshest seafood available. The pan-roasted salmon or halibut, crab cakes, and cioppino, a stew rich with shellfish, can be enjoyed with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails or a California wine from the restaurant’s long list.