Bougainvillea-streaked cliffs meet sandy beaches. Art is a part of everyday life at bus stops and playgrounds and shops, and restaurants line tree-shaded streets. Laguna Beach is a boutique-meets-flip-flops town that welcomes families and kids with open arms.
Between Broadway and Ocean Avenue at Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Main Beach is the hub of activity in downtown Laguna Beach and ideal with kids because there are so many things to do here besides swimming. There bathrooms, showers, volleyball and basketball courts and a strolling boardwalk. At the north end of the beach you’ll find tidepools and a walking path that winds around the cliff. Boogie boarding and body surfing are popular here but there is no surfing allowed in the summer. Park on the street or there are several public parking lots within comfortable walking distance. The lot on Glenneyre is covered and has the added benefit of being next to Gelato Paradiso.
Bluebird Park, set in a neighborhood near downtown, is a favorite among parents and kids in the area. It’s fully enclosed so little ones can’t escape and has bathrooms, a drinking fountain and picnic tables. There is a playground for toddlers and another for older kids. The highlight here is the unique playground equipment: slides built-in to the hillside, climbing ropes, a new-age merry-go-round and the absolute bomb for kids – a four story rocketship tower. There are also paths for scootering and a not-to-be-missed photo op with a large mosaic turtle.
The Candy Baron
With barrels and barrels of colorful candy, salt water taffy and old time favorites the Candy Baron is an institution in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach. There is every type of candy that you can imagine and then some. The hard part for kids (and adults) is choosing just a few!
La Vida Laguna Kayaking
There is no better way to appreciate the natural beauty of Laguna Beach then from the ocean. After a short instruction, the two- hour eco- adventure begins as kayakers launch from Fisherman’s Cove in North Laguna. The final destination is Seal Rock where frolicking California sea lions and a variety of shore birds hang out. On the way, you’ll paddle through kelp beds on the lookout for garibaldi fish and the guide will also show you how to “shoot” kelp bulbs, a tour favorite for kids. If you’re lucky you may see dolphins or whales. The nearest bathrooms are at Heisler Park or the La Vida Laguna which is about a 5-10 minute walk from Fisherman’s Cove.
Crystal Cove State Park
Once a thriving private beach community, Crystal Cove State Park is now open to the public and has cottage rentals, bathrooms, two restaurants (Ruby’s Shake Shack and The Beachcomber Cafe), a gift shop and some of the area’s best tidepools. The park has a monthly calendar of events which includes family-friendly guided tidepool and nature walks. A highlight for many visitors is a meal at The Beachcomber Cafe which sits in the sand and has incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Reservations highly recommended. Parking is across the street in a lot with tram service and is $15 for an all-day permit.