Weekend in Laguna Beach

This California town is built for quiet, romantic getaways. Here's where to stay and what to do

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  • Order a ginger-mint margarita or cantaloupe martini at Sapphire Laguna then stroll the sand.

    Drinks at at Sapphire Laguna in Lagna Beach California

    Gina Sabatella

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Laguna Beach locator

  • Laguna Beach locator


Laguna Beach is 50 miles south of Los Angeles and 75 miles north of San Diego; John Wayne-Orange County Airport is 15 miles away. For more area info, contact the Laguna Beach visitors bureau (800/877-1115).


Casa Laguna Inn & Spa Historical inn with suites and rooms, most with fireplaces. To make it extra romantic: The Togetherness spa treatment (from $250) includes side-by-side massages, a soak in the ocean-view garden tub, and a bottle of bubbly with souvenir flutes. INFO: Rooms from $250, including breakfast, wine, and cheese; 800/233-0449.

Montage Laguna Beach Five-star digs in Craftsman-style buildings with stunning ocean views. To make it extra romantic: The Montage excels at sparking romance. Food of Love (from $150 per person) is a four-course candlelit dinner staged in a poolside cabana, and there are couples' plein air painting sessions (from $200 per person). But we like the Sunrise Surfing for two (from $200), which comes with a private beach butler and the option of matching surfboards or bodyboards that you can keep. INFO: Rooms from $695; 888/715-6700.

Surf & Sand Resort On the water and close to downtown shops and restaurants. Splashes restaurant ($$$$; 1555 S. Coast Hwy.; 949/376-2779) is a local favorite in winter for enjoying storm surf. To make it extra romantic: Splurge on having the room decorated with rose petals and white tea lights (from $150). INFO: Rooms from $275; 888/869-7569.


Sapphire Laguna Delicious homemade-chorizo huevos rancheros and eclectic dishes like kalua pulled-pork quesadilla; brunch Sat-Sun. INFO: $$$; 1200 S. Coast Hwy.; 949/715-9888.

Studio California-French cuisine showcasing seasonal ingredients. INFO: $$$$; closed Mon; in Montage Laguna Beach resort, 30801 S. Coast Hwy.; 949/715-6420.

Zinc Cafe & Market Tasty pastries and generous portions of breakfast and lunch offerings. INFO: $; 350 Ocean Ave.; 949/494-6302.


Laguna Art Museum If the dozens of local art galleries overwhelm you, spend an afternoon at this museum. Its focus on California art is a good primer for further discovery. INFO: $10; 307 Cliff Dr.; 949/494-8971.

Laguna Village Beach- and art-themed kiosks. INFO: On S. Coast Hwy. near Legion St.

Pure Light Make candles (from $14) any day, or sign up for a workshop (from $10) and create holiday cards or ornaments. INFO: 821 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949/376-7200.

Sawdust Art Festival Art galore, from handmade ornaments to handblown glass. INFO: Nov 17-18 and 23-25, Dec 1-2 and 8-9; $5.75; 935 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949/494-3030.

See sea lions Despite its name, Seal Rock (free; Crescent Bay Beach, N. Coast Hwy. at Cliff Dr.) is the place to observe Laguna Beach's sea lion colony; they're here year-round. Or you can go to Pacific Marine Mammal Center (free but donations welcome; 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949/494-3050), where injured and ill sea lions are rehabilitated. Proceeds from the gift shop help care for the mammals.

Treasure Island Crescent-shaped beach with fishing and tidepools. INFO: Free; down a ramp at the southwest edge of Montage Laguna Beach resort.

Victoria Beach Beautiful pocket beach near Casa Laguna Inn & Spa. INFO: Free; down the narrow staircase (watch for other beachgoers) off Victoria Dr. at Sunset Terrace St.


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