Destination California: Laguna Beach and Newport Beach

Destination California

 If you feel like you are missing out on an island adventure this summer, then this “Destination California segment is for you.

Wendy Burch says you don’t have to travel an ocean away to visit places like Treasure Island and Crystal Cove. All you need to do is navigate your way to Newport Beach or schedule a layover in Laguna Beach. 

Wendy and her son Brady began their adventures in Laguna Beach. With 7 miles of coastline and 30 coves and beaches, you are bound to discover your own personal paradise.

To learn the secrets of this magical stretch of the Southern California coastline, Wendy turned to a local who runs La Vida Laguna Tour Company.

“We are fortunate as a tour company because everything we do has a degree of physical distancing. You just can’t get close to someone biking, surfboarding or kayaking,” Doug Oyen said.

Wendy and Brady spent the afternoon kayaking with Doug. In Laguna, kayaks launch right off the beach and straight into the ocean, which provided its own wave of excitement. Once out in the water, the Burches caught a glimpse of a pair of spotted grey seals hanging out in some kelp. It certainly helps going with a guide who knows all of the hidden coves and treasures along this stretch of coastline.

“Our hope is when our guests leave they feel like they were a local for a couple of hours,” Doug said.

If you want to spot more sea life, Wendy suggests you find your way to Treasure Island. It’s located just below the Montage Resort. Parking is easy, the beach is handicapped accessible, and once you are there, you will feel you are a world away.

If you happen to find yourself at Treasure Island during low tide, be sure to say hi to one of the volunteers from the Laguna Ocean Foundation. They are experts in marine biology and will help point out all sorts of sea creatures hanging out in hundreds of tide pools.

While in Laguna, don’t miss out on the main attractions around Main Beach, especially the historic lifeguard tower. Take the time to stroll around town, where you will find more than 100 independent boutiques, galleries and surf shops ready to welcome customers back.

When it comes to food, we suggest you head straight to the shack. The original Crystal Cove Shake Shack has been on Pacific Coast Highway since 1946.  They are best known for their date shake, but for our money, you just can’t find a better burger by the beach.

Next, Wendy and Brady made their way to Newport Beach.

While yachts and luxury cars are common sightings, so are whales, waves and pristine patches of sand. This summer especially, ocean front opulence is taking a back seat to a more open road adventure—which is exactly what the Burches found at Newport Dunes.

The resort is nestled along the back bay, right next to Newport Harbor. It’s a place where you can park your RV or rent a cozy cabin.

“This place is a gold mine for family friendly fun. We offer a kind of laid-back lux,” said Jan Yerzik, marketing director for Newport Dunes.

Next stop: The Balboa Peninsula, a scenic 3-mile stretch with the harbor on one side and a broad, sandy beach on the other.

“If you are on a budget, you have kids and you don’t want to take your kids to the airport and fly somewhere this summer, Newport Beach is a great place to come down to,” said Trevor Irving, co-owner of Balboa Fun Tours and Rentals.

There are lots of ways to get around town, but the Burches decided to Segway. Segways are also the only thing on wheels you can take out on the pier. The two-wheeled, self-balancing devices are so easy, even a 5-year-old can do it (although, Wendy did have to keep telling Brady to slow down).

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