Diving & Snorkeling
With its coves, reefs and rocky outcroppings, Laguna is one of the best SoCal beaches for diving and snorkeling. One of the most famous spots is Divers Cove just below Heisler Park. It’s part of the Glenn E Vedder Ecological Reserve, an underwater park stretching to the northern border of Main Beach. Also popular is Shaw’s Cove. Check weather and surf conditions with the city's marine safety forecast line (949-494-6573) beforehand, as drownings have happened. The visitors bureau has tide charts.
Because of Laguna’s coves, the surfing here isn’t as stellar as it is further north. If you must, try the beaches at Thalia St, Brooks St or St Ann’s Dr (but beware of rocks).
Take a guided kayaking tour of the craggy coves of Laguna’s coast with La Vida Laguna and you might just see a colony of sea lions. Make reservations at least a day in advance.
Cycling & Mountain Biking
Laguna Beach isn’t the greatest for road biking. Drivers along the always-busy Pacific Coast Hwy are distracted by the view, so you must pay attention if you head out on that road. Up in the hills, you can have a blast mountain biking. Crystal Cove State Park and Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park are rated highly by locals.
Surrounded by a green belt – a rarity in SoCal – Laguna has great nature trails for hikes. If you love panoramic views, take the short, scenic drive to Alta Laguna Park, a locals-only park, up-canyon from town. There, the moderate Park Avenue Nature Trail, a 1.25-mile one-way hike, takes you through fields of spring wildflowers. Open to hikers and mountain bikers, the 2.5-mile West Ridge Trail follows the ridgeline of the hills above Laguna. Both trails are in-and-out trips, not loops. To reach the trailheads, take Park Ave from town to its end at Alta Laguna Blvd then turn left to the park, which has restrooms and a drinking fountain.