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Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

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Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?


I am visiting from England in December and staying in Manhattan Beach. I was wondering whether you think it is possible to drive down and experience Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana Point in a day? The main reason for the visit would be to do walk about, a little shopping, have lunch and generally just chill out and people watch.

Any advice greatly appreciated! Thank you x

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1. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

I don't recommend trying to manuever all 3 destinations in just one day. Laguna Beach can be done in a few hours if you are just looking to have some coffee or other beverage and walk along the beach areas. But it's a town that deserves a bit longer than a few hours. Newport and Dana Point are equal as well. If you can spare an extra day, I do recommend doing so. Newport alone between the beach and the Harbor areas can be a minmum 5 hour experience if you include people watching and hanging out like a local. California is a laid back experience, and if you can "lay back" and spare the extra time, it is definately worth it!

West Hollywood...
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2. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

I would drive to Dana Point, enjoy the area and slowly work your way northward (home). All of the above areas are connected together by a coastal road called the Coast Highway (or Pacific Coast Highway). When you get tired, hop on the freeway and drive back to Manhattan Beach. I wouldn't OVERPLAN this part of your holiday. It's more about strolling around these areas, enjoying the views and air and the beach, doing some shopping, having a snack or two...

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3. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

You can do it in one day. Hop Skip's given a good suggestion. I drove this route this past weekend, and, IMO, Dana Point has the least to offer. I mean to say that Laguna and Newport have more history, scenery, charm, etc. (but perhaps you have something in particular in mind for DP).

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4. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

Hello-- I agree with Comedor. Skip Dana Point; it's not as interesting as either of your other choices. Laguna and Newport are actually close together. PCH (the highway another poster mentioned) will take you from Newport to Laguna and you can do both in a day.

Personally, I'd focus on one for swimming and laying on the sand, and that would be Newport for me--it's a large, wide, shallow beach with good waves and lots of lifeguard stands. There are no drop-offs like you'll find at Balboa, and no rip currents, as you'll find north at Huntington. I recommend you park just north of the pier, then walk just south of Newport Pier to the first or second lifeguard stand, because the crowds are lighter here.

You could walk along the boardwalk area just bordering the parking lot to see some shops, but at this point I'd forget about shopping at Newport and head south to Laguna, where you'll find an incredible little beach town just made for shopping and strolling. There are quaint restaurants that overlook the ocean, ice cream shops, and just an amazing ambience that you won't find anywhere else.

I hope this helps! I've been to both many times, and Newport is for swimming and sunning, while Laguna is for strolling, shopping and eating! But honestly, I've never done both in a day. Good luck!

San Clemente...
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5. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

Yes, you can do all three of these beach communities in one day if you are passing through and just having a look. Hop Skip and Jump offers a good program of driving on the 5 Freeway South then exiting at DAna Point;proceeding North on the Coast Highway and having a look at their beautiful Marina with some spectacular views from the Street of the Blue Lantern looking towards San Clemente and San Diego. Richard Henry Dana wrote in his book "Two Years Before the Mast" that the point is the most romantic place along the California Coast. Two of Southern CAlifornia's leading hotels(Ritz Carlton and St Regis) have placed their hotels in Dana Point for the spectacular views and lifestyle.

One of Orange County's most beautiful beachs,SAlt Creek is located just below the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

After DAna Point is Laguna Beach. Some interesting stopping places would be Aliso Beach located just South of the Beautiful Montage Hotel. There are some interesting tide pools located below the hotel. The next stop should be Heisler Park which is located just North of the Main Beach. Have a walk along the bluff and enjoy some incredible views of the Euro style coastline and the rocky coves below. Have a walk through the Laguna Village which has numerous art galleries and some excellent restaurants for lunch.

Between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach is Crystal Cove State Park which was used for the filming of the movie Beaches with Bette Midler. A good place to have lunch is the Beachcomber Cafe which is located right on the beach and is one of the original beach cottages built in 1920 and used in the movie. This is a great California beach experience to have lunch there.

After Crystal Cove is Newport Beach with it's beautiful boat harbor,lovely islands and beach strand. Also, the Newport Center/Fashion Island upscale shopping center is worth a look. It's a beautiful outdoor mall with an excllent view of the Newport Harbor.

You should be able to do this trip in about 6 hours with Lunch after you start in Dana Point. This will give you a brief overview of the lovely Orange County Coast and then you can plan a return trip to one of these communities at a later date.

From Newport Beach head towards the 55 Freeway North which will merge with the 5 Freeway North back to Los Angeles.


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6. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

I agree with everyone, you can do it in a day. I just had vistors in from out of town and we spent the later morning and early afternoon in Newport and the afternoon in Laguna.

Obviously, you won't be able to see "everything," but you don't really need to get a feel of the place. Besides, alot of what the area has to offer is the scenery, which can be seen by driving and walking around, without having to spend hours in one place.

I would focus on:

1. The shops and boardwalk on Balboa Island and the Balboa Pier area (take Balboa Island Ferry from one to the other).

2. The views above Corona Del Mar State Beach.

3. The views along PCH through Crystal Cove.

4. The shops and beach at Main Beach in Laguna

5. The pretty views and beach at the Montage Hotel in South Laguna.

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7. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

Great advice from Ricardo and HopSkimJump.

You wont be disappointed if you follow their advice. It is perfect and I wouldn't add anymore other than possibly have lunch at the Beachcomber while at Crystal Cove.

8. Re: Can Laguna Beach, Newport and Dana point be done in a day?

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