When I get the rare weekend at home you bet I am at the beach! There are so many beautiful beaches along the southern California coast, but my favorites are in Laguna. While not every beach is great for swimming, each cove is unique and photo-worthy. If you’re a beginning photographer like myself, it’s hard to mess up a beach shot in Laguna because the landscape is naturally beautiful!
Whether you are a tourist or a local I hope you use this guide to discover all of the best beaches in Laguna in just one weekend. With the right directions and and early start you can easily visit every beach I mention in 48 hours.
I discover new spots by following local photographers on Instagram and asking them where they go. Try following @LiveLagunaBeach and Chris Mullins they are always posting pictures of both popular and lesser known spots. If you have a drone then Water Project‘s coastal feed will inspire you!
If you have any questions about getting to these locations please comment below. Don’t forget to check the Laguna Beach Tourism site for tide reports and weather conditions before visiting beaches like Thousand Steps or Victoria.
In no particular order here are my favorite beaches in Laguna that I think you should visit:
Absolutely love this beach and the house that sits on cliff overlooking the waves! Park on PCH before you hit Sea Bluff Lane and there’s a public staircase in the neighborhood. As soon as you reach the sand you will see the jumping spot in front of you and the house on the left. During high tide you have to scale some rocks to reach the small beach and cave shown in the picture, but weekdays are typically calm.
This is more of a local spot and it’s my favorite to photograph.
Victoria Beach blew up because of social media in recent months. Guaranteed you’ve seen the tower or pool on Instagram before. The drone shots of this beach are amazing, you can see the waves crashing over the man-made pool at high tide. Unless you go in the winter or on a cloudy day there will be at least one engagement photoshoot taking place.
This beach is accessible off PCH, I usually park on Victoria Drive or Sunset Terrace and access the staircase off Victoria Drive beside the blue house. This actually might be the only way to access the south side of the beach. Even if there isn’t room directly next to the tour you can still get a nice view from other spots.
While this beach is beautiful and spacious, it is not one I visit frequently simply because it’s exhausting getting to it. It’s called “Thousand Steps” for a reason, although there aren’t actually a thousand stairs there are over 200 and it’s a pain in the butt (literally) getting up and down. I think it’s the most dangerous beach on this list just because if something happens it’s difficult to get from the beach back to the street. It’s also pretty rocky so be careful if you visit during times when the tide is crazy.
The main draw of visiting this beach in particular is the cave at the south end. I have yet to go through it and reach the pools on the other side. Timing is key if you are trying to do this because the lifeguards will stop you from entering the cave if they have flags up and the tide is too high. It’s best to go during low tide, possibly on a weekday with less people around. I’m not sure if the pools are private property or not, I’ve seen several reviews claiming the owners of the houses in that area do report people. It’s more of a safety issue just because people try to get over there without doing research first or knowing the ocean. Definitely do your research first before you attempt it!
I love this beach because it’s the easiest to get to. Every now and then I’ll catch a pod of dolphins swimming by. Shaw’s Cove is in north Laguna, I usually turn off PCH onto Fairview and park along Cliff Drive. If you decide you want to explore different coves it’s an easy walk over to Fisherman’s. At high tide (pictured below) there isn’t a ton of room on the beach, but when it’s lower there is enough space it doesn’t feel too crowded.
This beach is located directly in front of the Montage Resort. The Montage is the nicest resort in the area. There are plenty of instaworthy spots like the pool that overlook the ocean. As you walk along the pathway there are several staircases leading down to the beach. To the far right of the resort you will see a long staircase leading down to Treasure Island Beach.
Parking is tough and this beach can be busy during the summer with tourists and hotel visitors. I went on an overcast day so not as many people were out, but that’s not usual in SoCal! You can try and park on PCH and walk down or pay for parking at the Montage.
Hope you feel inspired to take a trip to Laguna. There are even more beaches that are equally as beautiful, but these are my favorites. Get out and explore the area and find your own!