Posted in My Travels

Laguna Beach Day 5

Hey Everyone!

Ahh Day 5!

We had planned day five as our first full day of doing nothing.  No driving. No sightseeing.  Just beach bumming all day long and eating! It was my husband’s birthday, and we let him choose the itinerary.  We definitely needed to have a beach day together.  

I woke up the earliest; set all the birthday decorations up as quietly as possible.  Which means, I fumbled everywhere but was quiet enough that no one heard me.  🙂 I’m clumsy.  Then I snuck out of the room to the balcony to let everyone wake up on their own. The morning started off grey, though we were assured by the front desk crew from the night before that the sun would make its way through by mid-morning.  I heard my husband wake up then the two chickens followed.  They were rambunctious, shouting birthday salutations. They were so excited to see the decorations; it was a sweet way to make our favorite man in our lives feel special, and a great start to our day together.

We grabbed breakfast at the Orange Inn next door to eat on the deck outside of our hotel building. Our hotel had a super cute area set up with decking and flowers/succulents with glass fire tables and big comfy seats. This was a great way to start the day! hahah

As we were eating the sun came out!  Ahh, the glorious Southern California sun.  It is cheerful, bright and HOT!  Woah, Mamma, it’s hot! And I loved it! Definitely have to say that I could move to So Cal, if I was a millionaire that is, and be extremely happy with the weather.  Everywhere we went the locals would share how it didn’t rain much or how it was always sunny.  I felt like they were all trying to send me a message of not leaving.  :)~    But alas, my kids are too little. I am way too poor, and I will just have to deal with the Atlantic Ocean maybe two months out of twelve. hahah

We spent all day at the beach.  The kids really enjoyed the active surf there. Or I should say getting thrashed by the waves. Some waves rolled in at 15 feet!  Super awesome. We had access to boogie boards from the hotel, which we figured would make it a little bit easier to maneuver the waves, but not really.  Everyone had more fun jumping the waves, getting carried to the sand, than anything else.   We got lounge chairs on the furthest point to the right of the hotel, which was perfect.  A nice family sat near us, who were very friendly and we shared a lot of stories.  Our room was so close that we didn’t need a cooler, just ran up for a new drink whenever we needed one. Which gave us a moment to cool off too.

It was a perfect day.  🙂

After being at the beach for five hours, we hit up the hot tub and pool area for an hour or so before our dinner reservations.  This pool space isn’t that great, I mean, you are on the beach literally from the other side of the wall so the pool doesn’t have to be all that great!  Though the hot tub was HUGE! The kids ended up having a great time swimming as they were the only ones for most of our time there.  I had fun too.  That hot tub was so hot, that I think it melted the salt off my skin way easier.

I am not sure what anyone else’s experience is with the Pacific Ocean swimming, but I have only swam in it twice in my life… Costa Rica and this trip.  In Costa Rica, I didn’t think the water felt different.  It was refreshing, yet warm.  Just perfect.  Not that it isn’t in California, it’s that just walking through Venice Beach a few days earlier (we had walked along the shore and let the kids splash around), the salt from the water was visible and a nuisance on my skin.  Also here in Laguna, I felt that the water was overall saltier than normal.  Like it left a film of salt on your skin that you could feel, grainy, that had to be scrubbed off.  Anyone else?

We got ready for my husband’s birthday dinner out!  I had made reservations for the Driftwood Kitchen months in advance.  The restaurant was beautiful.  A nautical theme as you walk in, which gives way to a bar that overlooks the dining room.  The dining room is a beautiful glassed in deck along the ocean.  The location was perfect, too; two minutes from our hotel room door!  We started off with drinks and roasted Brussels Sprouts.  Yes, that is my favorite food. Yes, I know it was his birthday not mine, but he ate most of them!  Then he got the lobster spaghetti a la carbonara.  I ordered the grilled chicken.  Our oldest the butternut squash gnocchi and our youngest the chicken and fries.  Then we surprised him with cake.  Everything was very good.  We had a great night on the closed in deck with the sunset.  My husband was very happy with everything, all day.  That is all I could ever ask for.

Oh, one thing.. We had sat next to a table of older folks, who were like ten years older than us or so. No kids, just four sun burned adults. They were tipsy, loud, but super funny about it.  They were singing some 80s songs throughout the night, between themselves and what not, not for the restaurant or anything. BUT, because I am way too friendly, I talked to them on our way out.  We had a great time talking then I made a reference to the singing.  Well, then I made a request randomly for Toto’s Africa, and one of the guys actually sang it for me!! And he was great!  So awesome.  I never laughed so hard with a stranger.

Overall, I would say this was a fantastic day with beaching, good food and laughter. Our kids had a great time talking about all their favorite parts of our trip so far…but the best was yet to come!

Day 6 is up next..our drive from Laguna Beach to Anaheim, with two truly amazing stops along the way!


Posted in My Travels

California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See – 2018 – Laguna Beach Edition

Hello all,

Here we are on the second installment of ‘California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See’– 2018 .  This is the Laguna Beach Edition.  It sounds so formal, but we all know I am so far from formal.

During this part of our trip we will be spending 2 nights in Laguna Beach, one of which is my husband’s birthday.  What I’d ideally like to do is to make this as much of a beach visit than anything.  Especially after running around in LA for a few days.  Plus, I need to work on a tan because by August I will probably be a smooth cool tint of white linen.  (Yup, I may be the only Sicilian woman who never tans!)

img_2650Laguna Beach is a seven mile stretch of beach between LA and San Diego, and is a huge hot spot for vacationers. Which means there are a ton of things to see and do (and eat) with lots of people around, but what do we go see and do!?  When you look at a map of Laguna, the beaches all collide into one another and look simple enough to walk to but I just uploaded the Laguna Beach app and now I am not so sure.  hahah.  But we will give it a whirl!!

The app is actually really good; it is the Visit Laguna Beach app. You can search hotels, restaurants, shops, as well as find the current weather, maps, surf and tide reports, parking information and an events calendar.  And real estate, for those of us who plan to not come back home.  (I know, my good friends keep hearing me joking about this, though I have never been to So Cal my gut tells me I will not want to come home. haha)

So far, we booked the Pacific Edge hotel, which is on the south end of the beach.  We reserved a room in the reef tower (facing the ocean!!), which looks like a dream. The amenities, and the area of the hotel, look pretty great, and we read that the waves can be heard in every room all day.. which turns me on. Haha. Falling asleep to the ocean is just what I want, folks.

Here is a list of places we discussed seeing in Laguna.  So many of you guys commented and messaged me on FB with recommendations for LA (and San Diego!), I hope to hear some for Laguna Beach, too!


California Hot Spots that Valeria Must See

Laguna Beach Edition


Art Colony/Walk the TownAs I am learning, the art scene in Laguna is its primary draw, and well, it sort of reminds me of my favorite local beach art colony here in Gloucester at Rocky Neck.  And while we are at it we will take a stroll through the town to check out their shops, local restaurants and stuff.


Heisler Park- When I looked up this place my chin literally dropped. The views are tremendous, and it looks like a perfect place to take a sunset walk.  It is an oceanfront park set up along the cliffs with walking trails, gardens, and a marine refuge with tide pools.



Crystal Cove Beach Tide Pools– Researching Laguna is fun, tide pools around seem to be a running theme, and Crystal Cove is supposed to have the best ones.  Feel like we would really enjoy trekking around on some rocks checking out the oceanic wildlife in the pools.


Royal Hawaiian Tiki Bar–  The Royal Hawaiian is a tropical bar with super fun looking tiki cocktails, good menu, and we love that type of atmosphere, so I figured we would take a closer look.  It is a street over from Heisler Park, where I figure would be a great location to take a night stroll along the water.


Thousand StepsI keep coming across this as a must see place, and watched so many youtube videos on how to get there, because there is a catch!  First, this beach is gorgeous, and is the largest in Laguna. Second, there is a large cave at the south end of the beach that can be entered when the tide is out, and basically only then, because then the entrance is exposed but you have to make it back before high tide, or well, you are SOOL.

img_2668Laguna Trolley– Laguna Beach offers a free trolley service, and I love trolleys, so I HAVE TO RIDE ONE!  They actually may come in more handy than I am joking about, because they have two lines of service that hit near or on most of the spots we are looking to go. Also, that app I mentioned earlier, they have a trolley tracker in it so you can see where the trolleys are going.


Driftwood Kitchen– This restaurant is set up along the water, and the views look amazing.  So does the food.  It gets really great reviews, and the photos I have been seeing online are surreal.  


Pirate Tower/Victoria Beach– Happened upon this blog while researching Pirate Tower. Gah, it’s just amazing.  The photographer takes us on a trip to find Pirate Tower on Victoria Beach…and it’s just dreamy.  Thinking my family would love to take a trip over to see the tower, and maybe just explore the beach, I know I would!   


Let me know if you have any recommendations for Laguna.

Next up… La Jolla/San Diego!!!