The road trip possibilities were one huge draw to moving to California. We’ve already (hastily) covered the PCH, drove to Julian for hiking and apple pie, done a handful of trips to L.A. and on Saturday finally made the short 1.5-hour drive up the coast to Laguna Beach.
We had visited the artist town on the beach back in 2010 as part of that fateful San Diego visit that encouraged us to move West, and it’s kind of insane that it took us this long to go back considering its proximity. Just 80ish miles up Highway 1, and you’ll find the glossy and well-manicured city of galleries, extensive hiking trails and our favorite Heisler Park that wraps around the coast. You may even come across Laguna Beach High School, like we did, and break into that Hillary Duff song. Yes, Laguna can feel touristy, but it’s just so darn pretty that I almost don’t care.
This time around, we also made pit-stops in Costa Mesa (for donuts) and Newport Beach (for the beach), and even though San Diego has a very similar landscape, this part of Orange County feels more like a vacation spot, and I was quite literally basking in the sunshine after feeling all cold and covered up in the East Coast the previous week.
Here are a few snaps from the day:
Sidecar Doughnuts, located in a Costa Mesa strip mall, are the best donuts I’ve ever had in my life. I hate to betray San Diego-based Donut Bar, but Sidecar’s ingredients are just so top-notch and their famous huckleberry doughnut is as awesome as everyone claims.
Sitting and doing nothing on a secluded patch of sand on Newport Beach was one of the day’s highlights. OK, so dogs are technically not allowed off leash, but it was all but deserted, and we knew Teddy wouldn’t run off. That said, he was pretty much a nightmare, eating seaweed and not listening to us when we reprimanded him. The only reason he was docile in the bottom two photos is because we started ignoring him. He’s mostly great but has one of these hellish spells every so often. He’s still a puppy, so I can’t blame him. But that seaweed, ugh! It brings out the worst in him.
Not the best Mexican food I’ve had, but Taco Loco in Laguna Beach was a good option close by for the grubby, cheesy fare we so badly craved. What is it about hot weather and Mexican food? There are few greater pairings in life.
The boardwalk in Laguna’s center leads to Heisler Park, a lush, green, flower-filled paved path along the coast. We found a nice grassy knoll to watch what turned out to be one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen.
I know he’s cute and all, but Teddy was equally horrific during our sunset viewing. He. Would. Not. Sit. Still. It had been a while since I got some fun pictures with him, so at least we managed to squeeze those in, and he did finally chill out as the sun had a few seconds left. That one always gets away with murder thanks to his good looks.
During a week dedicated to giving thanks, sunsets like these are something I’m absolutely and eternally grateful for.