Aliso Beach County Park

Laguna Beach

South of downtown Laguna Beach, the locals’ favorite Aliso Beach County Park is popular with surfers, boogie boarders and skimboarders. With picnic tables, fire pits and a play area, it’s also good for families. Pay-and-display parking costs $1 per hour. Or drive south and park on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) for free.

Along the way, dozens of public beaches sprawl along just a few miles of coastline. Keep a sharp eye out for ‘beach access’ signs off PCH.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Laguna Beach attractions

1. West Street Beach

0.42 MILES

South of central Laguna, this beach has long been a hangout for Laguna's (and the OC's) LGBT community (with an emphasis on the G). The eye candy can be…

2. Thousand Steps Beach

1.03 MILES

Jealously guarded by locals, Thousand Steps Beach is about 1 mile south of Aliso Beach, hidden off Hwy 1 just south of Mission Hospital. At the south end…

3. Main Beach

2.88 MILES

Near downtown’s village, Main Beach has volleyball and basketball courts, a playground and restrooms. It's the first beach you see as you come down Laguna…

4. Salt Creek Beach

2.97 MILES

Just south of the Laguna Beach boundary, this 18-acre county-run park is popular with surfers, sunbathers, bodysurfers and tide poolers. Families make the…

5. Laguna Art Museum

3.07 MILES

This breezy museum has changing exhibitions featuring contemporary California artists, and a permanent collection heavy on California landscapes, vintage…

6. Heisler Park

3.17 MILES

The grassy, bluff-top Heisler Park offers vistas of craggy coves and deep-blue sea. Bring your camera – with its palm trees and bougainvillea-dotted…

7. Picnic Beach

3.28 MILES

Just north of Main Beach, Picnic Beach is too rocky to surf but has excellent tide pooling.

8. Ocean Institute

4.31 MILES

This child-friendly educational center encompasses four separate ocean-centric ‘adventures.’ It is mostly reserved for school groups on weekdays, so it's…