Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach real estate is some of the most sought after in Orange County. Properties range from beachfront homes to larger properties tucked in the hillside – both offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The area is known for an artistic atmosphere and the architecture varies from small bungalows to large, modern estate homes.

The city of Laguna Beach is located on the southern coast of Orange County and the area has been known as an artist’s colony for almost 100 years. This combined with miles of sandy beaches and a wide variety of outdoor activities give the city a personality different from the other beach cities of the OC.

Laguna has also been a California getaway spot for the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Rudolph Valentino, Heather Locklear and Bette Midler who all enjoy spending holiday time there. Not to mention the popular MTV show, Laguna Beach which put this area on the map for a crowd that differed considerably from the artists that settled there.

The residents of this beach city are known for their involvement in the community, and the local government works hard to preserve a small village appeal and the quaint boutiques that line the streets of the Village area. The community also has a vested interest in protecting the beaches, parks and plentiful marine life native to the area.

Since it was first inhabited by the Azteca tribe, Laguna Beach has been shaped by its inhabitants and their community. Some of the first non-native settlers were Mormon and came to the area in 1876. Deciding they liked it, they stayed and the city was officially founded in 1887. At the end of the 19th century the beautiful beaches and rolling hills had become a popular vacation destination and were often visited by celebrities for seaside rest and relaxation.

By the turn of the century Laguna was making a name for itself as an artists mecca and a tourist destination, due in large part to the natural beauty of the area, and in 1917 the city was declared an artists colony. Later in 1927, Laguna Beach was the first city in south Orange County to be incorporated.

As the artist community flourished, so did the land. Physical separation from the rest of the county created a tight knit community of active members. So in 1953 when there was talk of development in the rolling hillsides, the people took action to stop it. The Laguna Beach Greenbelt Plan was created in the late 60’s to preserve the natural beauty of the area that had inspired artists and visitors alike. Local government and private citizens purchased as much of the land as possible to keep it natural and limit development options.

Their plan worked, which is why today Laguna still possesses a great deal of the character the community has always worked so hard to preserve.

Festival of the Arts – Pageant of the Masters
The festival began after the 1932 Olympics in LA when local artists in Laguna put together a summer art festival. Today the festival runs from the beginning of July through the end of August every day from 10 am to 11:30 pm.

Sawdust Art Festival
In keeping with the tradition of a local artist community, the Sawdust Festival is a place which allows the locals to show off and sell their wares. This festival runs from the end of June through the end of August.

Art-A-Fair
Different from the other art festivals of Laguna, Art-A-Fair is an international fair, showcasing work from both local and global artists. Another summer event, this festival runs from the end of June through August.

Laguna Beach Art Galleries First Thursday Art Walk
The first Thursday of every month Laguna celebrates its artists and galleries with an art walk. Galleries stay open late to serve wine and appetizers to browsing art aficionados.

Laguna Art Museum
Founded in 1918 by a small group of painters who settled in Laguna as a place to display the work of local artists. The community spirit of the museum lives on today as it continues to support local artwork. Open M-Sun 11-5 and until 9 on Art Walk Thursdays.

Laguna Beach Playhouse
The playhouse began in 1920, started by a group of local drama devotees who wanted a community theater in the area. What began as a group of actors in a living room is now a Laguna Beach tradition.

Hortense Miller Garden
Established in 1959, the Hortense Miller Garden demonstrates and celebrates the wide variety of plant life that can grow in the coastal zones of Southern California. Tours are given Tues – Sat 9:45-noon, they are free and take about 2 hours.

Laguna Canyon Winery
The grapes are grown in Napa Valley and Sonoma then transported to the winery in Laguna Canyon where they are crushed, pressed, fermented, aged and then bottled. They are open to the public from Tues-Sun 11-6 for tasting and food.