48 Hour Itinerary for Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach is a perfect weekend getaway destination from Los Angeles, San Diego and even San Francisco. This quaint town has a vibrant art scene, incredible food and some of the most gorgeous beaches in Southern California. For my birthday trip this year, my fiancé planned 48 hours for us in Laguna beach. We visited in February, so spending our trip on the beach wasn’t an option. In this post, I share how to make the most of a weekend trip in this Southern California beach town.

I wonder where  LC  grew up…

I wonder where LC grew up…

Friday Night in Laguna Beach

Arrival: We stayed at this adorable cottage on Airbnb. It’s walking distance to the main beach, the town and has free parking. It has a lovely outdoor area with a a water well, kumquat trees and beautiful succulent gardens.

Dinner: Stroll into town and eat at Thai Bros. Thai is one of my favorite foods and this place did not disappoint. We ordered Tom Kha soup, Papaya Salad and Green Curry with rice. They serve Thai beers and wine but do not have a full bar. We tried to order their famous summer rolls but unfortunately they had already ran out. This apparently happens often, so get there on the early side if you don’t want to miss them! I recommend making a reservation in advance.

Drinks: Head to the Marine Room Tavern for a drink and live music. This spot is friendly and casual, has a nice seating area, a pool table and an impressive selection of whiskey.

Eat like a local at this popular Thai spot on Friday night.

Eat like a local at this popular Thai spot on Friday night.

Saturday

Lightly fried deviled eggs with bacon on top. I’m still dreaming about these. Find them at  Nick’s Laguna Beach .

Lightly fried deviled eggs with bacon on top. I’m still dreaming about these. Find them at Nick’s Laguna Beach.

Coffee: Wake up early and head to Laguna Coffee Company for a fresh drip coffee to get your day started. They also have some incredible muffin top pastries to munch on while you wait for your reservation at Nick’s for brunch (see below).

Brunch: What would a Saturday in Laguna be without a boozy brunch? Nick’s is rated one of the best restaurants in Laguna Beach. We didn’t plan far enough in advance to get a dinner reservation but we were able to snag a table at 11 AM. Their breakfast menu is served until 11:30 AM and then they serve lunch/brunch which includes their famous prime rib sandwich. We recommend making a reservation right around 11 AM like we did so that you can enjoy both the breakfast and brunch menu.

Some highlights of our meal were:

  • Bloody Mary with a fried blue cheese stuffed olive

  • Lightly fried deviled eggs with bacon on top.

  • Brûlée Oatmeal with fruit

  • Prime rib sandwich (Order this right at 11:30 when the lunch menu starts.)

The Laguna Beach Lifeguard Tower at Main Beach. Our Saturday was rainy so we only had a short time to walk around and explore the tide pools. If you’re here on a sunny day, spend as much time at the beach as you can!

The Laguna Beach Lifeguard Tower at Main Beach. Our Saturday was rainy so we only had a short time to walk around and explore the tide pools. If you’re here on a sunny day, spend as much time at the beach as you can!

Visit the Beach: Regardless of what season you visit Laguna Beach, spend some time at the gorgeous beaches in this little Southern California town.

If you visit during the summer, grab a swimsuit and spend the day basking in the sun. The best two beaches in Laguna (in my opinion) are Victoria Beach and Main Beach. If you stay right near down, Main Beach and the famous Laguna Lifeguard Tower will be in walking distance of your accommodation. It will be crowded in the summer, but it’s very accessible and you can eat lunch at any of the restaurants in town. If you decide to go to Victoria Beach, here’s our Victoria Beach blog post that describes how to get there since it’s a bit off the beaten path. Victoria Beach has a mysterious old castle-like tower jutting out of a rocky cliff and is a great place for a more local feel and a picnic, since there aren’t any restaurants near this beach.

One of my favorite parts of these beaches are the incredible tide pools. If you walk to the right of Main Beach, you can explore them at low tide.

These tide pools are easily accessible from Main Beach in Laguna.

These tide pools are easily accessible from Main Beach in Laguna.

Art: Laguna has a vibrant art scene that is super walkable. We recommend checking out the following spots:

Laguna Art Museum

Hugo Rivera Gallery

Narrative Gallery

Laguna Art Gallery - Contemporary

One of the tiny galleries in downtown Laguna Beach.

One of the tiny galleries in downtown Laguna Beach.

This “Whaling Wall” mural is located right across the street from Nick’s. It was painted by the American artist,  Robert Wyland .

This “Whaling Wall” mural is located right across the street from Nick’s. It was painted by the American artist, Robert Wyland.

Saturday Night

Dinner: Make a reservation in advance for Las Brisas, an incredible Mexican restaurant right on the water. Don’t miss their margarita, ceviche and any of the seafood dishes.

Dessert: Gelato Paradiso! After dinner at Las Brisas, stroll (or Uber) back to down and make a stop at Gelato Paradiso. You’ll be transported to Rome as you indulge on rich, authentic Italian gelato.

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Nightlife: If you want to stay out after dinner & dessert, stroll around town and you’re sure to find a bar to stop at for a nice drink. Besides Marine Room Tavern that we recommended for Friday night, here are a few other bars in the area.

The Deck

The Saloon

Watermarc

The view to the left of Main Beach. If you head straight down this strip, you’ll hit The Deck Bar & Restaurant.

The view to the left of Main Beach. If you head straight down this strip, you’ll hit The Deck Bar & Restaurant.

Sunday

Sleep it, it’s Sunday!

Breakfast/Brunch: If you’re able to stay on Sunday, start your morning with brunch. Below is a list of great options.

The Stand Natural Foods

Cafe Heidelberg

Banzai Bowls (Acai)

Orange Inn

Andree’s Patisserie

If you have more time and the weather is nice, there are some great hikes/beaches in Laguna to check out. Here are a few options:

1000 Steps

The Water Tank Trail

Crystal Cove State Park & Tide Pools

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We hope this post helps you plan your own trip to Laguna Beach!

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