I fell in love with Laguna Beach from the moment I arrived in the OC. It’s a cute little town with gorgeous beaches, beautiful parks, tons of cute little boutique stores, and lots and lots of things to do.
And a lot of the activities in Laguna Beach are FREE.
That makes it really easy to plan a day trip to Laguna Beach while sticking to a budget. I always try to find cheap or free things to do, and I have compiled a list of Laguna Beach activities that you can do for free. Some of them are even on my Southern California Bucket List!
12 Awesome Laguna Beach Activities You Can Do for Free
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1. Hike to the “Top of the World”
One of my favorite things to do in Laguna Beach is to hike up to the “Top of the World”. This is one of the most popular areas in Laguna that will give you an excellent panoramic view. You can easily drive to Alta Laguna Park aka “Top of the World” without hiking, but for extra credit, you can follow this route for a rewarding hike to the top.
I also enjoy mountain biking in Aliso and Wood Canyons, which has several trails and routes that lead up to Top of the World Park. The ride up is hard, but the view is so worth it.
Read more: 11 of the Best Easy Hikes in Orange County
2. Sightsee from the Trolley
What a better way to see Laguna Beach than on a free trolley ride?! I have used the trolley to go all the way through Laguna from north to south, and this is a super-easy way to get around.
If you spend enough time in Laguna you will realize that the parking situation is not that great. Most of the parking spots near popular areas have metered street parking. If you want to move around Laguna and stop at a few places, you should definitely hop on the trolley instead of going around and around looking for parking spots.
The trolleys are totally free and take you all the way up and down the Pacific Coast Highway as well as through some of the neighborhoods and Top of the World Park. You can find more information here.
Insider Tip: Park a few blocks from the beach in the residential area where there are no meters. Walk a couple of blocks to catch the trolley. Free parking and free transportation!
Read more: Where to Park in Laguna Beach
3. Stroll Through Heisler Park
One of the best things to do in Laguna Beach is to visit Heisler Park. This park has beautiful views of the ocean, perfect landscaping, unique plants, and public art to admire.
There are plenty of beaches to explore just below the park, just take any stairs down to get there! I just love spending a few hours here walking around with the dog and enjoying the scenery. It’s so relaxing!
Heisler Park is a great place to have a family picnic (there are a few grill areas, just get there early!), sunbathe with a good book, walk the dog, take a yoga class, and watch some amazing California sunsets!
Date Idea: Pack a picnic and head here to enjoy a romantic sunset with your partner!
4. Window Shop
Downtown Laguna Beach has tons of cool little boutique stores to roam through! I swear every time I go through the city I see a store I haven’t seen before.
Even though I don’t go shopping too often, it’s still nice to walk around and take a look at all the cool stuff. There’s no harm in doing a little window shopping, right?! You might find something extra special and unique that is worth every penny.
5. Self-Guided Public Art Tour
See how many of these public art sculptures you can find in one day! This will definitely keep you busy for hours, plus it is a great way to sightsee. It seems as if every time I am in Laguna I happen to see a piece of art that I haven’t noticed before, so keep your eyes open!
The art scene in Laguna Beach is massive, so if you are into art there are a bunch of places you can go! Galleries, classes, museums, art walks, theaters, you name it; you can probably find it in Laguna.
Hint- A lot of these art sculptures can be found in Heisler Park.
Read more: Visiting the Sawdust Art Festival
6. Hang Out at Main Beach
Main Beach is right in the heart of Laguna, and the first thing you see when you drive in from Laguna Canyon Road. It is walking distance to downtown, plenty of shops, restaurants, Heisler Park, the festival and arts district, and to many other beaches.
It’s a fun place to hang out for the day to people watch, play basketball, volleyball, walk the dog, go for a swim, or just simply sunbathe. It’s the busiest beach of all, so be prepared for a lot of activity!
7. Explore the Tide Pools
Another one of those fun things to do in Laguna is to see how many unique little sea creatures you can find in the tide pools!
There are a few beaches in Laguna that offer a chance to view the tide pools, just make sure you are going during low tide. Also, know that you should never remove anything from the pools!
The beaches below Heisler Park have tide pools, as well as Treasure Island Beach and Victoria Beach. You can find more information about tide pooling in Laguna Beach here.
8. Find the Pirate Tower on Victoria Beach
When I first moved to Orange County I kept reading about this magical “pirate tower” that I thought was on some “secret beach”. It sounded like a cool little adventure, so one day I decided to drag my husband along to help me find this secret beach, and voila, there it was, right on Victoria Beach!
I realized that the reason it might be considered “secret” by some people is due to the public entrance being hidden within a residential area on a side street. Most tourists probably don’t even know about this beach since it’s sort of off the beaten path.
It’s an awesome place to hang out for the day and get some great photos!
Read more: How to Find the Laguna Beach Pirate Tower
9. Have a Beach Day
Out of all the Laguna Beach activities you have planned, a beach day better be on your list! Any trip to Laguna Beach would be incomplete without being able to spend a day at one of the gorgeous beaches!
With so many options to choose from, the only hard part about this is trying to decide which beach to go to!
The weather in Laguna Beach is typically a beautiful 75 and sunny, so you have a chance to enjoy the beaches all year long. One of my favorite times of year to go to the beach is actually in the winter when the sun is not as strong, it’s less crowded, and dogs are allowed on the beach.
Read more: 8 of the Best Beaches in Laguna Beach
10. Get a photo of the Sea Cave at Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is another one of my favorite spots in Laguna! The scenery around the area is gorgeous and very well maintained. The Montage Resort is directly above this beach, so this area is in pristine condition and well maintained.
Another plus is that this beach is normally not as crowded as Main Beach, so if you want to get away from the activity and have a little more peace and quiet, this is a great spot. Summertime can be a little crowded, but that is to be expected at most beaches in California.
11. Take a Yoga Class in the Park
Earlier this year I became addicted to taking yoga classes in Laguna. I never enjoyed yoga before, but once I found the right place and the right teacher I was hooked.
There are a few different donation-based yoga classes in Laguna Beach, and I definitely recommend trying them all! The classes are offered for free, however, donations are appreciated.
All 3 of these are in a park above the ocean, so just imagine practicing yoga, listening to the waves crashing, and feeling the ocean breeze. It is an amazing experience!
- Karma Yoga in the Park– Daily at 10am below the Montage Resort (above Treasure Island Beach)
- Yoga in the Park with Carl Brown– Daily (except Friday and Sunday) at 8am below the Montage Resort (above Treasure Island Beach)
- Yoga at the Whale– Daily at 915am in Heisler Park
12. Visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center
Visit the sea lions up close and personal at Laguna’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center! This center works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release these cuties, and you might learn a few things during your visit!
Entrance is free, but donations are welcome. Anything that you buy at the gift store also goes towards donations!
Hours: Daily from 10am to 4pm
Even if you are in Laguna Beach for a short trip, you could potentially fit all of these things into two full days if you wanted to. Or pick out your favorite Laguna Beach activities from this list and make it a day trip!
Read more: 10 Budget Things to Do in Laguna Beach
Is there anything else you would like to know about Laguna Beach? Have you been to Laguna Beach and have a great idea to recommend?
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