Sun, Surf and Sand 5

Laguna Beach is the Perfect Getaway for Families

When on vacation in Laguna Beach, California, you could check out the numerous art galleries in the quaint downtown. You could shop till you drop in funky, upscale-meets-bohemian boutiques. You could try your hand at surfing in the gentle, albeit cold, waves. Or you could sit on your balcony at the Surf and Sand Resort and enjoy the vast ocean 50 feet in front of you while reading, napping or just chilling out. The smell of the salt water, sound of the waves and panoramic view of the endless blue horizon never gets old. But if you have kids in tow, they might force you to leave the room. Good thing Laguna Beach has many kid-friendly activities designed to wear them out so you can get back to that balcony view.

The Surf and Sand Resort is one of the few hotels in Laguna with beachfront property sitting directly on 500 feet of perfect sandcastle-building sand. Grab a lounge chair and watch from under the shade of the umbrella as the kids enjoy the sun and sand Southern California is known for. With its ocean view, comfy cabanas and poolside bar service, the hotel pool is also a popular draw for families.

If you can tear yourself away from the ease of the resort, walk 15 minutes to Main Beach in Downtown Laguna Beach where tide pools, volleyball courts and a strolling boardwalk can keep the kids entertained for the afternoon. Surfing is not allowed at this part of the beach but boogie boarding and body surfing are always popular. At the north end of the beach, tide pools fill with fascinating creatures ripe for exploration.

Right across the South Coast Highway from the Main Beach is Downtown Laguna Beach where you can cool off with a treat at Dolce Gelato or the kids can fill a basket with salt water taffy at Candy Baron.

Even the faniciest restaurants have a casual atmosphere and most go the extra mile for picky eaters. For a healthy lunch try Nirvana Grille, where the kid’s menu offers items like sustainable, gluten-free fish sticks and antibiotic and hormone-free chicken fingers. For a not-as-healthy-but-fun option, try a retro Americana meal at Ruby’s Diner. The burgers, chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese are always a favorite as are the classic cars on display in the front.

The town’s mix of environmental and art appreciation allows for a host of fun and educational activities. Observe rescued sea lions and seals at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, take a mini workshop that mixes art with education at the Laguna Outreach for Community Arts or watch a kid-friendly play at the Laguna Playhouse.

For a more adventurous afternoon, head to nearby Fisherman’s Cove. With some of the calmest waters in Laguna, it is an ideal starting point for a two-hour kayak tour. Families can explore the kelp forest, view marine life in the crystal clear waters and, if they are lucky, spot sea lions, dolphins and even whales.

After a long day of fun in the sun, the S’mores and Snores treatment back at the hotel is a relaxing way to wind down the day. Kids are treated to handmade s’mores that they can make themselves in the fire pits on the lobby floor. Upon returning to the room, a pop-up tent is set up so they can “go camping” while you enjoy some quiet time back on the balcony.

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