Discover the many unique points of interest within minutes of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel – which perfectly reflects its cherished Laguna Beach and Orange County surroundings. Explore a new world, or just leave your old one behind. With its sun and sand, Hollywood glamour and laid-back lifestyle, California is among the most popular and diverse destinations for an array of activities. Allow our resort to provide the perfect list of what to do on your trip – accessible to all that Southern California offers.
Shop for one-of-a-kind artwork by more than 150 of The O.C.'s finest artists in a beautiful open air gallery setting. Enjoy free art workshops, artists demonstrations, art tours, special events, fine food and much more. There's something for everyone. And, every night during the summer season at 8:30 p.m. the Festival of Arts presents its world famous Pageant of the Masters, featuring re-creations of classical and contemporary artworks with live models accompanied by a full orchestra and live narration. Website
Sawdust Art Festival
Two hundred Laguna Beach artists create a one-of-a-kind artists' village in Laguna Canyon each summer. Shop for original artist-made art glass, ceramics, fine jewelry, paintings, and more. Artist demonstrations including glass blowing, printmaking and ceramics. Art classes for all ages. Plus three stages of music and three cafes. Website
The Art-A-Fair Festival is celebrating its 42nd season this year! Located in Laguna Canyon between the Sawdust Festival and Festival of Arts in a beautiful, shady garden setting, the Art-A-Fair features more than 125 artists, plus live entertainment, fine food by Tivoli Too!, demonstrations and workshops. This year’s theme is Venetian Carnival. The Art-A-Fair is the only one of Laguna’s three summer shows with exhibitors from outside the immediate area. Artists apply annually and are accepted through a jury system, which contributes to the high quality of art and master crafts among participants. Website
MUESUEMS AND INSTITUTES
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Birthplace of Orange County, was founded more than two hundred years ago. Today it is a monument to California's multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Indians, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion. Sites of interest include the Serra Chapel, Padres Quarters, Industrial Area, Soldiers Barracks, Cemetery and The Great Stone Church. 10 minutes / Website
The Ocean Institute is an ocean education organization located in the Dana Point Harbor. Founded as the Orange County Marine Institute in 1977, it offers ocean science and maritime history programs. Visitors can see marine animals and ocean-themed exhibits. Additionally, the R/V Sea Explorer, a 70-foot marine science research vessel, is moored at the Institute. 5 minutes / Website
The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace
The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace is a privately supported, non-profit institution dedicated to educating the public about the life and times of the 37th President and encouraging interest in history, government and public affairs. The nine acre Library & Birthplace is a three-dimensional walk-through memoir featuring a 52,000 square foot museum, 22 high-tech galleries, movie and interactive video theaters, the spectacular First Lady's Garden, the President's faithfully restored 1910's birthplace, and the flower-ringed memorial sites of President and Mrs. Nixon. 60 minutes / Website
Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
The Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is an international surfing museum that salutes surfing around the world, its pioneers, its culture and its evolution. The museum includes more than 100 years of surfing history in displays, artifacts and information. 30 minutes / Website
Laguna Art Museum
Laguna Art Museum focuses on the cultural heritage of California and on the unique history and accomplishments of Laguna Beach. The Museum's collection consists of more than 3,500 works from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Significant examples from all periods of California art are represented. 15 minutes / Website
The Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum is an internationally-celebrated institution of art and culture dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of fine arts from around the world. To achieve its mission to “enrich lives through the world’s finest arts and cultures,” the Bowers Museum offers exhibitions, lectures, art classes, travel programs, children’s art and music education programs, and other community events. The museum's guiding philosophy is to help people learn about other cultures through their arts, and offer a greater understanding of ourselves and appreciation of the world in which we live. 40 minutes / Website
Pageant of the Masters
Pageant of the Masters, presented July through August, is a presentation of "living pictures" — incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. Presented in an outdoor amphitheater, Pageant of the Masters has been recognized as the best presentation of its kind. The theme for this year's Pageant is All the World's a Stage. Website
Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park
Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park offers approximately 4,000 acres of wilderness and natural open space land with hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. The Park is located at the south end of the Laguna Greenbelt. Its canyons harbor a pastoral feel unmatched in Orange County. Favored with petroglyphs etched by native people, Aliso & Wood Canyons are natural wonders.
Lantern Bay Park
Lantern Bay Park is noted for its spectacular view of Dana Point. The Smythe Brothers Amphitheater is located within the park. Picnic tables, basketball courts, physical fitness cluster, turf areas and a playground are also available.
Salt Creek Beach
Salt Creek Beach is a popular surfing beach and is located directly in front of the resort. A small, offshore reef creates some of the best-left swells along the entire shoreline. Guests can enjoy swimming, body boarding, or just relaxing in the sun.
Main Beach, the largest stretch of beach in Laguna, is located in the heart of Laguna Beach. The beach is known for its white lifeguard tower located in the middle of the beach. This beach is mostly sand bottom with shorebreak type surf, making it popular for swimming, body boarding and surfing. Surfing is not permitted during the summer months because the surf can be dangerous with strong rip currents and heavy shore break waves. The beach offers basketball , volleyball and a variety of sand activities. There is also a boardwalk runs the length of the beach.
Doheny State Beach
Doheny State Beach is an excellent location for barbecues and family gatherings. It offers beautiful grassy lawns, tables and grills, as well as volleyball courts and a pristine sandy beach. Doheny offers more than a mile of beach with some of the warmest water and best swimming and surfing in Southern California. A rocky area at the beach's western end is perfect for divers and anglers and during low tide, the tide pools are available for exploring.
San Onofre Beach
San Onofre Beach has several surf breaks on its more than three miles of coast, ranging from the beginner’s gentle breaking waves to one of the premiere surf breaks, Trestles.
Trestles surfing area is known for its consistent waves.
Surf Beach is divided into three breaks spots known as The Point, Old Man’s and Dogpatch (named from north to south). All perform best on a south swell, though the beach takes any surf and slows it down to a very slow pace.
Trails is the most southern of surf spots at San Onofre and includes both rock bottom and sandy breaks.
Aliso Beach offers an area for swimming, surfing and stand up paddle boarding. You can also enjoy fishing or exploring the tidepools. A concession stand offers rentals for fishing, food and beverages and other beach supplies. 31131 South Pacific Coast Highway.
1000 Steps Beach
1000 Steps Beach is located between 9th and 10th streets in South Laguna. The beach features sand volleyball courts and is a great location for body surfing.
Top of the World
Referenced as the "Top of the World," this scenic lookout point offers some of the best views in Laguna Beach.
Located in Laguna Niguel, Badlands Park offers a scenic hiking trail with panoramic views of Dana Point and Laguna Beach. This short 1.5 mile hike is perfect for an afternoon stroll or a sunset hike. It is also popular for dog walkers and romantics because of its short, leisurely distance.
Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center
The Nature Interpretive includes educational, management and operational space designed as a visitor center for the Conservation Area. Public walks are offered at 9 a.m. on the first, second and third Saturdays of every month.
San Clemente Pier
The San Clemente Pier is located past end of Del Mar Street along Avenida Victoria. San Clemente Pier is a great place to dine, walk, watch a sunset, have a drink, or view the stars. Day or night the pier is a great place to go for a walk either along the pier, or on the San Clemente Beach Trail where you can get spectacular views of the pier. Casa Romantica is great place to visit near the pier and has an amazing view of the pier from the hills above.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education and collaboration.
From the charm of Main Street, U.S.A to the whimsy of Mickey's Toontown, explore eight fantastic "lands" of nostalgia, color and delight. Let your imagination run free in a Magic Kingdom where life is a fairy tale and dreams really do come true. 32 miles/40 minutes / Website
Immerse yourself in a magical festival of shows, parades and attractions celebrating California's storied past and exciting future. From the gold rush and Hollywood's golden era to the timeless allure of the beach, discover the vast and diverse Golden State. 40 minutes / Website
SeaWorld is San Diego’s No. 1 tourist attraction and one of the most popular marine parks in the world. Spread out over more than 189 acres on beautiful Mission Bay Park, SeaWorld is known for its spectacular animal shows, interactive attractions, aquariums, rides and dining facilities. 1 hour / Website
San Diego Zoo
Located just north of downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, this 100-acre Zoo is home to over 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies, and a prominent botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants. 1 hour / Website
San Diego Wild Animal Park
Located 35 miles north of downtown San Diego in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, the Wild Animal Park is an expansive wildlife sanctuary that is home to more than 3,500 animals representing more than 400 species. Its renowned botanical collection represents 3,500 species and 1.5 million specimens. 75 minutes / Website
LEGOLAND is a 128-acre theme park located in Carlsbad. Created by the Danish LEGO Company, LEGOLAND California offers interactive attractions, family rides, shows, restaurants, shopping and beautiful landscape features. 40 minutes / Website
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm has a lot to offer: Ghost Town. The one minute, 30 seconds of head-over-heels fun of Boomerang. For the kids, there’s always Camp Snoopy. Take a ride on the Calico Railroad. For water fun, there’s Bigfoot Rapids. And don’t forget–Boysenberry Pie and famous chicken dinner. Come Halloween, Knott’s Berry Farm turns into Knott’s Scary Farm. Where during the day Camp Spooky takes the stage, and ghouls and zombies rule the night. 45 minutes / Website
South Coast Plaza
Renowned as a major global destination, South Coast Plaza is “Where the World Comes to Shop”. Home to more than 250 prominent boutiques and critically-acclaimed restaurants South Coast Plaza is adjacent to the celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Its unparalleled collection of diverse retailers, from international luxury icons like Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, and Gucci to famous American brands like Coach, J. Crew, Michael Kors and Tory Burch, along with its customized concierge services, makes it Southern California’s premier shopping experience.
Located in Newport Beach at Pacific Coast Highway and Newport Center Drive, Fashion Island features more than 200 stores and restaurants in a beautiful outdoor garden setting complete with fountains and Koi ponds. Anchor stores are Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s Women’s Store, Neiman Marcus and Robinsons-May along with specialty shops including Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, St. Croix, NIKE Goddess, Greenhouse Spa, and Sharper Image. 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
Shops at Mission Viejo
The Shops at Mission Viejo are conveniently located in the heart of South Orange County. Located within the Shops are Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, plus more than 130 other fine stores and restaurants including Banana Republic, Forever 21, bebe and Apple. 555 The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
Originally established as an artist colony, the downtown area of Laguna Beach is wonderful to explore on foot. Fine art galleries, street-front cafes and unique shops specializing in California casual wear, jewelry, antiques, home furnishings and craft art line the street along Pacific Coast Highway and at the crossroads of Forest and Park Avenues. Be sure to visit the new “Pottery Place” one-mile south of town and “Gallery Row” located north of the Laguna Art Museum as well as downtown’s “Laguna Village” and “Peppertree Lane.”
Carlsbad Company Stores - The Ultimate Outlet
The best names in designer fashions, home furnishings, footwear, jewelry, toys and accessories all at up to 65% off everyday prices. Experience the ultimate outlet shopping experience with more than eighty stores including Barneys New York, Bose, Coach, Cole-Haan, Dooney & Bourke, Crate & Barrel, Guess, Izod, Jones New York, Kenneth Cole, Polo Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Rockport, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski and Zales. 5600 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad.
Outlets at San Clemente
Outlets at San Clemente is Orange County’s first coastal outlet shopping experience where you can discover treasure after treasure amidst a village of Spanish Colonial-style storefronts that beckon you inside to find the perfect brand and the perfect fit.
Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano
Nestled just a few miles inland from the quaint Southern California town of San Juan Capistrano is the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. The 40-acre facility is the ideal showcase for horse sports. Events range from Olympic caliber show jumping to rodeos. Designed by world renowned course designer Robert Jolicoeur, Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano features a beautifully manicured grass grand prix field. Grandstands and tented seating on the banks surrounding the grand prix field provide up-close views for all. Website
Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park is a thoroughbred racetrack in Arcadia, 60 miles north of the resort. It offers some of the prominent racing events in the United States during the autumn and in winter. Santa Anita's season runs the end of September through early November.
The track is home to numerous prestigious races including both the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. Santa Anita Park was opened on December 25, 1934 and is the oldest racetrack in Southern California. Website
Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar Racetrack is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 miles north of San Diego. The trace is open from mid-July through early September.
Operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogan: "Where The Turf Meets The Surf." It was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, the actor Pat O'Brien, Jimmy Durante, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy.
When Del Mar opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was at the gate to personally greet the fans. On August 12, 1938, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted a $25,000 winner-take-all match race between Charles S. Howard's Seabiscuit and the Binglin Stable's colt, Ligaroti. In an era when horse racing ranked second in popularity with Americans to Major League Baseball, the match race was much written and talked about and was the first nationwide broadcast of a Thoroughbred race by NBC radio. In the race, Seabiscuit was ridden by jockey George Woolf and Ligaroti by Noel Richardson. In front of a record crowd that helped make the fledgling Del Mar race track a success, Seabiscuit won an exciting battle by a nose. Website