When I decided to move to Orange County, I was excited and nervous. This was going to be my first time living away from the Central Coast town that I was born and raised in, had gone to college in, and had started my career in. I had barely settled and homesickness hadn’t even had a chance to kick in, and my family and some of our close family friends came down to visit – it ended up being one of the best weekends I have ever had…
Our family friends have a house in Three Arch Bay, a private beach community on the southern end of Laguna Beach, that was established in the 1930′s. We started the weekend at the property and headed down to check out the private beach. A few hundred steps later (maybe only a slight exaggeration) we found ourselves on a quaint, private, and uncrowded crescent of sand, sheltered by bluffs on one side and open to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Once I had staked out my spot on the sand, I started checking out my surroundings. There was a handful of other groups at the beach that day – a couple groups of teenagers and skimboarding, some 20-somethings working on their tans, a couple families with young kids playing in the sand and jumping in the shallow whitewater…and a crew setting up what looked to be a stage.
One of the crew members told us that they were setting up for a birthday party that one of the homeowners was having at the beach that evening. Sure enough, as the day went on, the stage was completed, and the party site really started to take shape. Tables and chairs were arranged, tents were erected, decorations were thrown up…so, of course we decided to stick around to see what all the fuss was about!
Guests started showing up around 4, and by 5 or so, sound checks started to sound over the microphones. By this time, there were maybe 50 party guests, the ten of us, and only about 15 other beach-goers. When the music started we all wandered over to hear who was playing. We recognized the classic surf rock immediately once The Beach Boys started crooning and proceeded to play all of their best hits – we had stumbled upon a private Beach Boys concert!
The night eventually wound down and we made our way back up to the beach house. The next morning, we woke up to sunshine and clear blue skies – another perfect beach day! We went into Laguna Beach, where we had lunch at Goko Cafe (great Greek food – very fresh and mostly organic) before visiting the tide-pools at Picnic Beach (also known as Heisler Park Reserve).
As a kid I remember being fascinated by the sea creatures I found in the tide-pools – starfish, sea urchins, tiny fish, and my favorite, hermit crabs. At Picnic Beach that day, there were several families with small children – all of the kids were enjoying exploring the rocks, looking for their favorite tide-pool critter.
Laguna Beach also has a variety of shops – everything from vintage boutiques and candy shops, to jewelry stores and art galleries. It is a great beach town to vacation to and there are tons of beach vacation rental properties to stay in.
What stores and restaurants do you hit up when you are in Laguna Beach! What is your favorite stretch of sand? Leave us a comment!