The Best Things to Do in Laguna Beach and Dana Point
Collected by stacey Leasca , AFAR Local Expert
People mostly come to Laguna and Dana Point for the beaches but end up staying for a plethora of other activities, from hiking in the surrounding canyons to hopping between the renowned galleries and museums. Visitors can even spend time with injured seals at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, see a show at the historic Laguna Playhouse, or pick up souvenirs at Southern California’s first surf shop, meaning there’s something here for everyone.
24440 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, USA
Captain Dave’s ocean safaris offer visitors a different way to see Laguna. Departing from Dana Point, the cruises take place on a high-tech, high-speed catamaran equipped with underwater viewing pods so guests can see marine life up close....
Cleo Street Beach, California 92651, USA
Located next to Main Beach, the much-quieter Cleo Street Beach is a favorite of scuba divers, who come here to explore the Foss 125 Barge. The wreck, which sank just offshore in 1958, is submerged in a mere 55 feet of water, making it easily...
1600 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Established in 1993, Dawson Cole Fine Art is one of Laguna’s top galleries, with works by such big names as Picasso, Matisse, Chuck Close, Wayne Thiebaud, and more. Here, the focus is on contemporary and modern art, with everything from...
375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Located along the bluffs on Cliff Drive, Heisler Park is a walker’s paradise. Visitors looking to get some exercise can start at the lifeguard tower on Main Street and follow a one-mile loop through the park, passing more than a dozen art...
294 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Though there are plenty of surf shops to be found around Laguna and Dana Point, none is more important to the community than Hobie. Way back in 1950, Hobie Alter started shaping surfboards in his family’s Laguna Beach summer home. In 1954,...
307 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Laguna Beach’s deep connection to the arts goes back to 1918, when 150 local creative residents started the Laguna Beach Art Association (the city’s population was only 300 then). That association went on to launch what’s now the...
329 S Coast Hwy #2111, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Laguna Beach’s reputation as a welcoming community may very well have started with Eiler Larsen. Larsen arrived in Laguna in the 1940s, and though he was a bit of a vagabond—with long hair and a scraggly beard to match—the town...
339 Broadway St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
If you’re hoping to see all of Laguna in a short amount of time, hop on the free trolley, which runs in five neighborhoods during the week and along the Coast Highway on weekends. Hours vary by day and season, but are long enough to make the...
2133 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Orange County’s first urban winery, Laguna Canyon makes award-winning wines right in town with premium grapes from Napa and Sonoma valleys. Guests can swing by the public tasting room for a range of different experiences, from traditional...
18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Located in some of the last remaining coastal canyons in Southern California, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park offers some 40 miles of hiking trails that wind through oak and sycamore woodlands and up onto ridges with sweeping ocean views. The park is...
606 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Just steps from the Pacific Ocean, theater lovers can find the Laguna Playhouse, a historic equity theater known for its year-round season of comedies, dramas, musicals, and more. Founded in 1920, it’s one of the oldest continuously...
1257 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
If anything’s endemic to Orange County it’s surfing—there are 40 miles of coastline here, after all. It’s not hard to find passionate practitioners of the sport, but doing is one thing and teaching is very much another. For...
20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals found in Laguna’s waters. Guests are welcome to swing by the center any day of the week to see the current patients,...
430 Park Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Deemed the second-smallest Catholic church in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1983, St. Francis by the Sea clocks in at just 1,008 square feet, with room for just 42 people at Sunday mass. While it’s certainly diminutive,...
31972 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
Even though it’s more like 218 steps down to this secluded beach, getting here does take a little effort. It’s worth it for the views, though, and to find a nearly empty stretch of sand with one of the best shore breaks in town....
Victoria Beach, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, USA
While Victoria Beach is among Laguna’s most famous stretches of sand, it remains blissfully quiet and uncrowded. Park along the Pacific Coast Highway and follow Victoria Drive until you reach the steps, then head down to the secluded beach,...
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