Last weekend my boyfriend, Red, left me and the city to visit his family in Austin, TX, so I decided to take my own little trip. I finally had the car to myself and I had been thinking about visiting a couple of friends in Orange County for a while. I figured it may be my only chance since Red has to work every single weekend. I left Saturday afternoon and spent the night, which left most of Sunday to explore until I had to leave to pick up Red at LAX that evening.
As a twenty-something, I discovered Laguna Beach is a great town to visit if you are traveling on a strict budget and love the outdoors. If you need to spend a night or two, you will find great deals and places to stay through Airbnb. If you really love the outdoors, camping at Crystal Cove State Park – Moro Campground is a great option. I also recommend checking Hotwire. You never know when those pricey hotels will offer some killer deals. Once you have figured out where you’re staying, you can look forward to spending practically nothing activities.
So what is there to do in Laguna Beach on a strict budget? Well there are various types of beaches, several hiking trails, beautiful homes to gawk at, and all you need to eat are frozen bananas.
You can spend half a day or an entire day along the coast checking out various beaches. My friends and I spent Sunday afternoon wandering around downtown Laguna Beach after our morning hike. Eventually we made our way to Main Beach to stick our toes in the ocean and cool off. Main Beach was very busy with people surfing, bodyboarding, playing volleyball, sunbathing and children taking a water break on the jungle gym. It really depends on what you are looking for and what your mood is, because you can find large sandy beaches, smaller cove beaches, or beaches with tide pools. You can find your perfect beach here.
Hiking can also be a whole day activity or you can just spend a couple of hours working up a sweat before heading back to your favorite beach. Laguna Beach has some great trails located at Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park, Crystal Cove State Park, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. My friends took me to Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park to hike Car Wreck Trail, which is about three and a half miles. The three of us started at the top and made our way down a pretty steep and rocky path until we reached a forested area and a rusty old car that clearly took a nose dive off the cliff decades ago. I was told some teenagers at the time thought it would be funny to push it off the cliff! Now hikers come to check it out all year round. Once we passed the car, we walked through tall grass until we reached a steady incline on a wide flat path back up to the top.
If you appreciate beautiful million dollar homes and found yourself drooling over the frozen bananas while watching Arrested Development, then you must make a stop at Balboa Island. You won’t find the Bluth banana shaped stand, but you will find a couple shops offering frozen bananas – Sugar N’ Spice and Dad’s Original Frozen Banana. I had to try one, so I ordered one dipped in chocolate with chocolate sprinkles. I enjoyed it as my friends and I walked along the waterfront gawking at the lovely houses. I dunno about you, but I love walking or cruising around fancy neighborhoods and finding inspiration for my someday dream home. Every house had a cozy looking patio or deck with comfortable couches and chairs. I could easily imagine myself relaxing on the couch soaking up the sun with a mojito in hand. I didn’t want to leave. After our visit, I did some further research and learned that all of the original properties were sold for $250 and now they are worth millions!
If you find yourself passing through or you have been thinking about making a trip to Laguna Beach, then think no further. Your delicious frozen banana and perfect beach are waiting for you.