by Anthony Vaarwerk
Relaxing is easy when sitting on Laguna Beach in sunny California. The picturesque Pacific coastline is one of many features that draws visitors to turquoise waters. However, laying in the soft, warm sand is just the beginning of this Laguna adventure. Whether you are here to soak in the sun, brave some of Southern California’s best waves or delve into the local art scene Laguna Beach is well-deserved holiday waiting to be explored. Experience annual festivals, live music, intriguing restaurants, and all things beach. The best part is, even if you are traveling solo Laguna Beach will welcome you into a family-like atmosphere.
Laguna Beach—From Nothing to Everything
Laguna Beach is the second oldest city in Orange County after Anaheim, California. Settlers arrived after the American Civil War, venturing onto what used to be “the public lands” of Laguna Canyon and Three Arch Bay. By the 1870s, a small community named Arch Beach was founded. Then, by the 1880s a post office and a convenience store were built. The area eventually became known as the “Lagonas” which would only be renamed to Laguna Beach in 1904. Unfortunately, Orange County separated from Los Angles in 1889 leading to a great economic downturn.
The already small community relocated to modern-day Laguna Canyon. In 1900, only five families remained in Laguna Beach. So how did a quaint town turn into the full-blown tourist destination it is today? Those early homesteaders managed to find additional income by renting sections of the beaches to farmers. This business heated up the travel industry and before long houses turned into seaside resorts. The days of struggle were behind Laguna Beach as the art colony began to thrive as well. Some of the region's history is recounted by J. S. Thurston’s Laguna Beach of Early Days (The Press of Murray & Gee, Culver City, California, 1947)—the song of one of the community’s first settlers.
Map of Laguna California