California Road Trips: Laguna Beach to San Clemente

One of the most beautiful areas of Southern California coastline stretches along Highway 1 between Laguna Beach to San Clemente. Miles of palm lined sandy beaches, blue skies & sunshine and plenty of outdoor activities attracts locals and visitors from around the world.

The flip-flop bohemian vibe is addictive and we were ready to grab a surf board and catch a wave, sign up for a beach yoga class and a sunset stroll.

Sharing our favorite places to stay, dine & go. For more inspiration, check out our photos on our Instagram account, click here!

NOTE: Check back often as we add more of our favorite things to do in this area….


Located in the Dana Point area, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is a five-star luxury resort that sits on a 150 ft bluff overlooking one of the most beautiful coastlines of Southern California.

Rooms & Suites: The soothing décor throughout the rooms and suites are inspired by water – you can see a palette of the sea in the colors, textures and artwork. Each room is inspired by the coast and offers large living areas, outdoor spaces and stunning Pacific views.

We relaxed on our balcony and watched the surfers, then strolled along the meandering ocean paths leading to Salt Creek Beach, and fell asleep to the sounds of waves crashing along the shore.

Pools & Beach: Guests can swim in the pool or take a golf cart to the beach and frolic in the ocean water. If you prefer, it’s only a 5-10 min walk to the beach.

Dining: RAYA – Oceanfront dining at its finest. Renowned chef Richard Sandoval’s Pan-Latin coastal cuisine is made with sustainable seafood, Dana Point produce and organic meats. TIP! Book a reservation to see the sunset and request a table by the window for sweeping ocean views.

Before dinner, start with a handcrafted cocktail on the terrace!

Art Collections: Local artists are featured in the hallways. The artwork and installations are inspired by the Southern California lifestyle. Don’t Miss! The resort’s display of artistic surfboards. While looking at artwork throughout the hotel, be sure to stop and smell the flowers in the lobby – exquisite bouquets.

Services: The concierge and team are ready 24/7 to serve guests and provide insights to local events. Inquire about the expert-led eco-adventures where you can go whale watching.

The Inn at Laguna Beach is a 3-star boutique hotel located further north right off Highway 1, in the heart of Laguna Beach. Be sure and request a room or suite with an oceanfront view – your balcony will be directly over the beach. Service is fantastic and guests feel right at home.

Don’t Miss! Happy Hour reception with complimentary wine at the hotel’s Pacific Rooftop Bar.

Outdoor Pool & Jacuzzi & Beach Equipment – Guests can relax poolside and have views of the ocean too. The hotel offers beach amenities for guests to use – towels, chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and beach toys.

Guests can walk to town for shopping, art galleries and nightlife, or play volleyball at Heisler Park next to the hotel. In the evening, guests can enjoy fresh-baked cookies and milk in the lobby at 6:00 pm, and coffee each morning from 6:00 am – 10:00 am.

Rooms & Suites: The beach inspired decor added to the vintage California style of our suite.

Complimentary bathrobes are provided for the duration of guest’s stay, along with other amenities such as a mini-fridge, and binoculars for whale watching.

This hotel is pet-friendly too!


Pageant of the Masters: Watch art come to life in Laguna Beach at the Pageant of the Masters. This is a unique theatrical performance re-creating famous works of art. This event takes place annually during the summer months – check with the hotel concierge for dates.

Take a Surfing Lesson – Rent a surfboard and sign up for a lesson! This area offers some of the best surfing waves in California.

Rent a Bicycle – Go on a bike ride along the beach promenade.

Art Gallery Hop – there are several art galleries in the area, especially in the Laguna Beach area, along Forest Ave and the main street. Jump on the Laguna Beach Trolley to see the sites along the way.

Visit the San Juan Capistrano Mission – Founded 200 years ago, this historic landmark is the 7th of 21 California missions throughout the state. Enjoy the gardens, chapel and porticos.

Bask in the Sun and do Nothing! Bring a beach towel and cooler with refreshing drinks, a good book, and sunscreen – spend an hour or the afternoon on the beach.

Play Volleyball with the Locals – Join in a game of volleyball on the beach with the locals.

Acknowledgments: Global Adventuress thanks those mentioned in this article for hosting us during our stay.