(credit: shutterstock)

(credit: shutterstock)


Finding fun family activities in Orange County can be challenging at times. Theme parks, for instance, are expensive and attract large crowds on holidays and weekends. If you live in and around Laguna Beach, however, the city offers several family-friendly events and activities requiring just a few dollars to park the car. From art appreciation to exploring the wonders of nature, Laguna Beach has something for the entire family. During July and August, the city even offers free daily trolley service.
(Credit: lagunabeachcity.net)

(Credit: lagunabeachcity.net)


Treasure Island Park
Wesley and Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-3311
www.lagunabeachcity.net

Located on the grounds of the Montage Laguna Beach, the park overlooks Treasure Island Beach, which is known for its beauty and cleanliness. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy swimming and tide pooling, but Laguna Beach reminds all visitors not to disturb the marine life. Treasure Island Park also has plenty of benches provided by the Montage, making it a great place to watch the ocean or enjoy a good book. Metered parking is available, as is a nearby parking garage.

(credit: Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk)

(credit: Laguna Beach First Thursdays Art Walk)


First Thursdays Art Walk
Laguna Beach, CA 92652
www.firstthursdaysartwalk.com

Held on the first Thursday of every month, this educational event is a great way to introduce the kids to fine art. Galleries throughout the Laguna Beach area participate on the designated Thursday from 6-9 p.m. They also sponsor free trolley service operating 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. St. Francis by the Sea Catholic Church, which has the distinction of being the second smallest church in the world, also is part of the art walk.

(credit: Laguna Canyon)

(credit: Laguna Canyon)


Nix Nature Center
18751 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 923-2235
www.visitlagunabeach.com

Nix Nature Center serves as the headquarters for Laguna Coast’s Wilderness Park, which offers forty miles of trails and incredible scenic views. The outdoor enthusiasts in the family can hike, run, bicycle or ride on horseback; the scenery also is perfect for budding photographers and artists. Guided hikes also are available. Nix Nature Center features interpretive exhibits plus free educational programs and viewing portals.

Related: Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County

(credit: Pacific Marine Mammal Center)


Pacific Marine Mammal Center
20612 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-3050
www.pacificmmc.org

Did you enjoy the “Dolphin Tale” movies? Like the characters in the film, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) rehabilitates injured and dehydrated animals before releasing them back into the ocean. Predating the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the center started out as the volunteer-based Friends of the Sea Lion group in 1971. More than 40 years later, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center offers programs for children and adults. “Mommy and Me,” for instance, lets toddlers and their moms learn more about marine life through songs and stories.

(credit: Zach T./Yelp)

(credit: Zach T./Yelp)


Laguna Beach Dog Park
20672 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92652
www.lagunabeachdogpark.com

Located on two acres between Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the Aliso/Wood Canyons Regional Wilderness Park, this park is designed for furry, four-legged family members. Supported by the non-profit Friends of Laguna Beach Dog Park, the completely enclosed park features water fountains, benches and shade trees, plus plenty of room to run and play. Laguna Beach also set up a small dog area within the park, making it a safe place for all canines.

Related: Best Indoor Playgrounds in Orange County

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Steven Bryan calls Irvine, California his home. A freelance writer for more than 20 years, he has interviewed a wide range of notable celebrities, including a variety of up-and-coming musicians and artists as well. Passionate about movies and comic books, he also makes an annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic-Con.