California: Laguna Beach – Go for the Art and Stay for the Beach.
Is a sophisticated beach town with secret coves, swaying palm trees, trendy restaurants, and awesome art festivals the place for a family getaway? Why not? Here’s the scoop.
In Laguna Beach families with all ages are welcome. Strollers, bike paths,secret beaches, tide pools, beach volley ball, surf boards, ice cream shops, and art galleries are part of the collage that is Laguna. But in the summer the focus is on art and the beach. Laguna has always been connected to art and artists making it youthful and a comfortable, happening place. Wind chimes sing and graceful bougainvilleas frame courtyards; weathered seaside cottages bask under the sun and eateries offer fusion food California style. At first glance it gives the impression of a movie set prepared for a romantic “chick” flick. Enter the arts action.
Each summer three important festivals attract art lovers to Laguna. They include Art-A- Fair, Festival of the Arts, and the Sawdust Festival. All three are located on the Laguna Canyon Road and are within walking distance of each other. Bonus points:
As an extra benefit, an open-air trolley provides free transportation between the three and connects with other areas around Laguna Beach, including stops along Coast Highway.The Festival of Arts.
This festival of fine arts showcases more than 140 award-winning, juried Laguna Beach artists. It’s a venue in which to browse original art, sip wine, and listen to jazz. Docents lead guided tours daily at 2:00 and 4:00. Children ages 12 or younger receive free admittance to the festival. Bonus points:
Throughout the festival workshops and creative activities are available for young children. Wait for it!
The festival now has a cell phone based audio tour. Visitors simply dial a designated local phone number and enter the booth number of the artist to hear details about the artist, the art or the technique. (650 Laguna Canyon Road. (949) 494-1145 or www.lagunafestivalofarts.org
) See an art “happening” at night.
Within the Festival of Arts “The Pageant of the Masters” stretches the imagination of the audience with innovative flare. Each evening artists and actors bring works of art to life on stage as “living pictures” complete with professional orchestra, original score, and live narration. Tickets for the performance remain separate from the main festival. (Toll-free 1-800-487-3378 or www.pageanttickets.com
)The Sawdust Art Festival.
Shaded by tall trees and caressed by sea breezes, this delightful festival of crafts takes its name from the sawdust on the floor which adds a slightly quirky element to the atmosphere. Browse the booths for 3D art, unique jewelry, hand-blown glass, paper arts, pottery, paintings, weavings, and more. Live entertainment and food booths add to the festive atmosphere. Children five years of age or younger are admitted free and tickets for children six through 12 are $3.25 each. Bonus points:
Children’s workshops and interactive activities are offered during the daytime. It is possible for a youngster to learn how to shape a ceramic pot on a wheel or imagine with paint and brush. (935 Laguna Canyon Road. 949 494-3030 or www.sawdustartfestival.org
More than 100 artists and craftspeople present their works at Art-A-Fair each summer including both well-known names and yet-to-be-discovered artists. Some artists use their booth space to create art or practice their craft making the experience exceptional for festival goers while face painting, strolling singers and popular bands add the overall atmosphere. One time admission price includes admittance for the balance of the festival. Children 12 years of age or younger are admitted free with paying adult. Here’s the deal:
Pageant of the Masters ticket holders are admitted free on date of performance. Entry is always FREE for Laguna Beach residents with valid ID. Bonus points:
A variety of themed workshops are offered on a daily basis, many of which are well-suited for children as well as adults. (777 Laguna Canyon Road. (949) 494-4514 or www.art-a-fair.com
) Here’s the deal.
Laguna Beach offers a Summer Arts Festival Pass which provides unlimited admission all summer long to the three festivals for $21.50. Each passport includes one-time free parking in the Act V parking lot on Laguna Canyon Road and FREE shuttle service. Family beach time is easy.
Laguna Beach has more than seven miles of coast line with many quiet coves, sandy beaches, tide pools, and surfing spots. For families Aliso Creek County Beach is a good choice because it is large beach lifeguards with a fishing pier, restrooms, snack bar, and spots for picnics. Another option, further south towards Dana Point, is Salt Creek Beach Park with restrooms, showers, volleyball and a large, grassy park area for sand-free picnics. Checkout the sea view.
At Heisler Park on Cliff Drive there is a pathway along the top of the bluff that offers a marvelous view to the west overlooking the coves. The park has restrooms, lawn bowling, picnic tables and sea breezes. Location on the planet.
Laguna Beach is located on The Pacific Coast midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. The surrounding area includes Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel to the east and Dana Point to the south. Make it happen.
Laguna Beach Visitors Center 381 Forest Avenue Laguna Beach CA 92651. (949) 497-9229 or www.lagunabeachinfo.comContent researched and posted by FTF staff; images provided by Art-A-Fair, Sawdust Art Festival & Laguna Beach CVB. Copyright 2012.