Whether you are from Southern California or not, pretty much everyone is familiar with Orange County. Thanks in part to a flurry of “reality” TV shows that take place in Orange County, Laguna Beach is perhaps one of the most well known locations. A bustling beach town whose streets are lined with restaurants, art galleys and beach stores, Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) winds through this beautiful and artsy little town. While Laguna Beach is charming, it is also lined with tourists, traffic and expensive prices; nothing is cheap in Laguna.
There is where Dana Point comes in. Located seven miles south of Laguna Beach, and dominated by a gorgeous harbor, this quiet seaside town’s slogan is “Harboring the Good Life” and I have to agree. Home to seven miles of idyllic beaches Dana Point is far less crowded than Laguna. With clear water, great waves, pristine beaches and beautiful little coves makes this a perfect location for surfing, sun bathing, fishing or boating. Dana Point is home to about 40,000 inhabitants, and embodies the chill California vibe. While you do not have the glitz and glamour of Laguna, smiles and friendly waves are in abundance and you will not have to deal with the lack of parking, and the massive crowds that line Laguna Beach like a colony of seals.
Dana Point’s climate is mild, even in the winter months of December and January the average temperature is 65 and swimming and surfing are still possible. Any month of the year is a perfect time to visit Dana Point.
Where to Eat
Breakfast and lunch: Bonjour Café. If you want life changing French Toast I suggest you visit Bonjour Café. Hailed by the locals as one of the best places for breakfast and lunch it is not to be missed.
If you are looking for a perfectly roasted cup of coffee and outside seating look no further than JC Bean, while Starbucks is a street away I suggest you skip out on the chain and give these baristas, or coffee artisans a chance.
For dinner: Jacks. Not only is their food superior, happy hour drinks affordable, but also their atmosphere is upscale without being pretentious. Focused on delivering a quality culinary experience without taking its self too seriously, Jacks is the way to go to avoid the $40 plates you’ll find in almost every restaurant in Laguna Beach.
Whether you want to chill and find some quiet time or grab a board and hit the waves, this great beach town is a destination not to be missed in Southern California!