To me, vacation is all about doing something that is the perfect combination of fun, exploration, and rejuvenation. I don't want to go somewhere and come back needing a vacation from my vacation. I want to eat the foods that make me feel good while still indulging. I want to have a drink or two without letting a hangover stop me from feeling energized and excited to explore. There's nothing worse than feeling sick and exhausted from a vacation where you overdo it. That's why I made this *healthy* girl guide to Laguna Beach. When I say healthy, I don't mean all kale salads, smoothies, and intense exercise. This is what I consider to be the perfect balance for ME - what makes me feel healthy, energized, and at peace in my body and mind as I explore new places.
So when it came to me and Tyler's anniversary trip this year, I wanted to squeeze all of this into our short stay in Laguna. Laguna Beach is about an hour drive from San Diego, but no matter how far you are from it, it's worth the trip.
Laguna has some of the most spectacular beaches I've ever seen. Even though I love San Diego, I left OC feeling like I could move there in a heartbeat - and if you know me, you know I have never said that about anywhere else since moving to SD.
The two beaches we went to were:
Treasure Island Beach (super touristy, right behind the iconic Montage Hotel, but still so beautiful and a great first stop). The water is crystal clear and the parking is so easy - there's a lot behind the Montage located at 30801 s coast hwy!
1000 steps beach
Don't be discouraged by the name! It's not *actually* 1,000 steps. Yes, there are a lot of steps but if you bring your water, take it slow, or use it as your workout for the day, the seclusion of this beach is SO worth it. This was a personal fave for me because I don't love crowded beaches with lots of children. I know one day those will most likely be the only beaches I can go to with a family, so I love using our freedom to explore the private, hard-to-reach places.
One thing I was super sad about was that this beach typically has a cave you can walk through to get to a natural saltwater pool (how cool is that?!).
THIS is what we were going to see --->
But on the day we went, the current was so strong and the tide was too high to walk through the cave and see it. I can attest to that - these beaches are not for the faint of heart. The waves were bigger and stronger than anything I've ever swam in. At one point I was completely taken down under the water and thought I was going to die (Tyler said I was being dramatic but I stand by it being one of my scarier experiences in the ocean). This beach is perfect for adventure lovers and people who can SWIM.
Parking: put the beach in your GPS and park on the North side of Coast HWY. There was plenty of street parking available!
P.S. - there are little corners in the back of this beach with huge palm trees and shade for the perfect photo lighting. Lean your phone against a tree, turn on lens buddy, and snap some cute pics!
El Moro Canyon Trail
On our first day there, we started with a hike called El Moro Canyon Trail. Unfortunately, we arrived in Laguna at 11am and it was HOT. We hiked 3 miles straight uphill but the downhill views were SO WORTH it. You can see the entire laguna coastline and to be honest, we felt amazing for the rest of the day after that. I highly recommend getting there earlier than we did to avoid the desert-like heat and sun. Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and a hat!
Tips: use the AllTrails app to get the address of the start of the hike! There's another trail with the same exact name that is NOT it (we learned the hard way).
If you know me, you know I'm a huge foodie who has done extensive research in nutrition and natural healing to help me heal from some gut issues that plagued me for years. The restaurants listed below are the perfect combination of healthy + indulgent, perfect for anyone who is plant-based, gluten-free, or a lil sensitive.
We walked to this coffee shop from our hotel early in the morning and got our faveeee (iced honey cinnamon lattes with oatmilk - iykyk). We got the Caprese bagel (egg, avo, mozzarella, and pesto). I had been eating mostly plant-based, so the cheese and egg definitely did something to my tummy but it was so worth it and I would 100% do it again)
The *vibe* is immaculate. This is a cute little plant-based cafe where you can eat breakfast or lunch. My personal fave is the fiesta bowl!
The portobello burger at this place is absolutely to die for. I would go back just for that. It's a cute vegetarian cafe with fresh baked goods and a full menu!
Malibu Farms Lido is a farm-to-table organic restaurant with a MASSIVE menu. It was about 25 minutes north of laguna but WELL worth the drive. They have options for everyone - from a cauliflower steak to a real juicy steak. The cocktails are aesthetic and cute AF. It's outdoor/indoor style seating by the marina. But don't let the casual vibe fool you, you can rack up a bill here $$$. Also a perfect spot for brunch.
If you go to Laguna and check these places out, I want to hear all about it!