An artsy city with a coastline dedicated to traveling families, Laguna Beach has resorts right on the water, baby swings with a view and culture galore. Stay classy at a seaside art gallery or get super sandy with your little munchkin, all within a few steps of your hotel.
Atmosphere: Home to the Sawdust Art Festival, Laguna Beach is an artist’s haven and a beachgoer’s paradise. All types of people are drawn to the beach here, and the area feels eclectic with its mix of chain restaurants and distinctive boutiques.
Parking and Entrance: If you don’t have the luxury of parking at your hotel, it can be a struggle to find a spot close to the main beach. There are some city and some private lots throughout the downtown area, and meters are available for shorter visits. You may have to walk up or down a slight hill to get to the sand.
Nice Walks and Views: An accessible wooden boardwalk goes onto part of the beach. For a more interesting walk along hotels and private residences, bring the baby carrier and walk along the sand. There are also many trails in Laguna Beach with panoramic ocean views; however, they do require a climb.
Activities for Toddlers: The well-maintained playground has small slides and grass nearby. Your toddler (and your pet) might like Anything Canine, a dog boutique right by the beach entrance on Coast Highway. (357 S. Coast Hwy.)
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are at the north and south ends of the beach. South bathrooms are conveniently right next to play area.
Perks for Parents: Volleyball and basketball courts.
Where to Stay with Kids: You can’t beat the location of Pacific Edge Hotel. It’s right on the sand, has two heated pools, free beach gear and free play yards so you don’t have to pack your own. (647 S. Coast Hwy.)
Baby-friendly Restaurants: While we know all kids love Johnny Rockets (188 S. Coast Hwy.), you might want something a little more original. For a quick and hearty sandwich go to Gallo’s Italian Subs, a hole-in-the-wall deli that doesn’t skimp on meat. (202 Park Ave.)
What Else to Do: The Sawdust Art Festival runs all summer and features local art, handmade crafts and more. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rehabilitates seals and sea lions and is open to the public.
Photo by Nicolas Karim