12 Awesome Laguna Beach Activities You Can Do for Free

Laguna Beach Lifeguard Tower

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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Top of the World Laguna Beach

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 hikes in Laguna that will give you an excellent panoramic view over the Laguna Beach coastline and Saddleback Mountain.

You can easily drive to Top of the World without hiking, but for extra credit, you can follow one of these routes 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: 12 of the Best Easy Hikes in Orange County

Laguna Beach trolley

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!

Read more: How to Experience the Best of Orange County on a Budget

Shopping downtown Laguna Beach, California

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

Main Beach Laguna Beach

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!

Read more: Where to Find the Best Beaches in Laguna Beach

Tide pools in Laguna Beach

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.

Laguna Beach Pirate Tower on Victoria Beach

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

Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, California

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

Treasure Island Sea Cave 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.

Outdoor Yoga class in Laguna Beach

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!

Read more: The Best Outdoor Yoga Classes in Orange County

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?

Shop my favorite beach essentials!


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42 thoughts on “12 Awesome Laguna Beach Activities You Can Do for Free”

  • Great post and so informative! I love the idea about the Yoga, I may check out a class this weekend! Do you know if the Top of the World trails are currently open after the fires?

    • I LOVE the 10am Saturday class in Treasure Island Park with Laura Love. She is really good! As of today the trails and park are open! There are a few trails well below Top of the World that are closed, but the majority are open.

  • The pirate tower looks insanely cool! I would love to visit Laguna Beach someday just to find that tower!!!


  • Wow, it’s amazing that there are so many things to do on a beach, I would be interested to take the yoga classes. There are monuments, shops, arts, parks, and so many things to see and do! Thanks for the list and I am looking forward to my next vacation there.! @ knycx.journeying

    • Laguna is a very small beach town compared to others in Southern California, but there really are so many things to do! Enjoy your next trip!

  • I live in LA and I LOVE Laguna too! I’ve done almost everything on your list–have you been to 1000 steps beach? Another favorite there!

    • Surprisingly I have NOT been to 1000 steps yet, the last one I need to visit! I have heard great things about it though, so I will definitely have a beach day there sometime soon.

    • Hi Lee, you would not believe how many other OC locals tell me the same thing about the places I write about! What I love about Laguna is that it’s just one of those towns where you could spend a whole day there and stick to a budget if you really wanted to. I could be entertained all day just walking through the parks, checking out the art, and the beach. Have fun and thanks for reading!

  • Omg, California looks so beautiful! I hope I can go one day, Laguna beach looks so pretty! These are such great things to do, and it is so much better that they’re free haha! That Sea cave looks right up my street haha! Great post lovely x

    • Hi Chloe! Aww thanks so much for your comment! I hope you make it to California one day, and if you do just let me know if you need any recommendations! Of course I definitely recommend Laguna, it really is so gorgeous!

  • So glad I found your blog through FB. I’m headed to CA in August and I need some budget activities. I’ll definitely read some more articles to get extra tips!!

    • That’s awesome! If you are headed to the LA area definitely check out my posts for Venice Beach and Santa Monica! Have so much fun!

  • I was super hesitant to visit Laguna Beach for a long time fearing that it would be much too “posh” of an area. I was so wrong. California is a far more expensive state than a lot of the others but it really is one to see. I love that you were able to showcase some ways to make it more affordable and therefore more accessible to a lot of people!

    • That’s so funny you say that and I am sure many people think the same thing. Laguna can seem a little more “posh” than some other areas, but it’s still a totally laid back, easy going, relaxing, beautiful place to visit! You are right, there is SO MUCH to see in this state it’s just never ending! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • I haven’t been, but I love California beaches and am trying to visit them all! I had no idea there was an art scene in Laguna Beach though and also the pirate tower looks so cool, so those are definitely at the top.

    • Laguna is totally artsy! There is an art college there, which has a huge influence in the city and you will always find some type of art event happening there. That’s awesome that you are trying to visit all of the California beaches! I hope you get to visit Laguna Beach soon!

    • They sure do! It’s so great that it is free! You will love the view from the Top of the World, I hope you get to check it out in the future! Thanks for commenting!

  • Uh, as if winter in the PNW didn’t make me homesick enough, these pics sure made me miss home and the sunshine.

  • I have been to Laguna but I have not explored the proper way. One of the things I want to do is drive along the coast and stop in as many beaches and coves as possible. I know Laguna has tons of stunning coastal spots. And, I want to go back to the art festivals. Those are great!

    • Yes, that sounds perfect! Laguna has like 30 little coves and beaches to explore so it would be a good idea to plan a weekend trip to see as much as you can!

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