12 of the Best Free Things to Do in Laguna Beach

Best Free Things to Do in Laguna Beach

If you haven’t noticed already from my Instagram, I love Laguna Beach! I’ve been living in California for almost three years, and this is by far my favorite spot. It’s a cute little beach town that has gorgeous beaches, unique greenery, tons of boutique stores, and lots of things to do.

During my adventures, I always try to find cheap or free things to do so I have compiled a list of 12 of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach.

These things are an absolute must for anyone visiting Laguna Beach!

12 of the Best Free Things to Do in Laguna Beach

View from Top of the World

  1. Hike to the “Top of the World”

One of the most popular areas will give you an excellent panoramic view over Laguna Beach. 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. The ride up is hard, but the view is so worth it.

Read more: What to Wear Mountain Biking: The Essential Checklist and 9 Things to Pack for a Mountain Bike Ride

Ride the Trolley, one of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach

  1. Ride 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 by far the best way to get around.

If you spend enough time in Laguna Beach you will realize that the parking situation is not that great. Most of the parking spaces near the popular areas have metered street parking, and it’s not that easy to get a spot. If you want to move around to stop at a few different 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. You can find more information here.

Cheapskate Idea: 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!

Heisler Park, one of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach

  1. Stroll Heisler Park

One of my favorite places in Laguna Beach is Heisler Park. This park has beautiful views of the ocean, perfect landscaping, unique plants, and public art to admire. Plus there are plenty of beaches to explore just below the park, just take any stairs to get there! I just love spending a few hours here walking around with the dog and enjoying the scenery. It’s so relaxing!

Cheapskate Idea: Pack a picnic and head here to enjoy a romantic sunset with your partner!

Window Shopping in Laguna Beach

  1. Window Shop

Downtown Laguna Beach has tons of cool little boutique stores! Even though I don’t shop too often it’s still nice to walk around, plus there is no harm in doing a little window shopping! You might find something extra special and unique that is worth every penny.

Public Art on display in Laguna Beach

  1. 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 Beach I happen to see a piece of art that I haven’t noticed before, so keep your eyes open!

Hint– some of these can be found in Heisler Park.

Cheapskate Idea: Don’t forget to use my free parking and transportation tips from idea number 2!

Main Beach in Laguna Beach, California

  1. Hit Main Beach

Main Beach is in the middle of everything. 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, play with the kids, or just simply sunbathe. It’s the busiest beach of all, so be prepared for a lot of activity!

Tide pools in Laguna Beach, California

  1. Explore the Tide Pools

There are many beaches in Laguna that offer a chance to view some tide pools. Just remember 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 here.

Pirate tower on Victoria Beach Laguna Beach, California

  1. Find the Pirate Tower

When I first moved to this area I kept reading about this “pirate tower” that I thought was on some “secret beach”. So one day I 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.

Find out how to get to the Laguna Beach Pirate Tower here.

Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, California

  1. Beach Day

Any visit to Laguna Beach should include a day at the beach! With so many options to choose from the only hard part about this is trying to decide which one to go to!

The weather is always beautiful, 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 all day.

Some of my favorite beaches are:

  • Crescent Bay
  • Main Beach
  • Rockpile Beach
  • Treasure Island Beach
  • Victoria Beach

Sea Cave in Laguna Beach, California

  1. 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, which leads me to believe they want to make sure this area is in pristine condition for the resort guests.

Another plus is that this beach is (usually) 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 might be a good spot.

Check out my Instagram for even more Laguna Beach photos!

Yoga in the Park- one of the best free things to do in Laguna Beach

  1. Take a Yoga Class

Earlier this year I became addicted to taking yoga classes in Laguna Beach. 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 all of them! 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!

  1. 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.

Hours: Daily from 10am to 4pm

12 of the Best Free Things to Do in Laguna Beach

Even if you are in Laguna for a short trip, you could potentially fit all of these things into two full days if you wanted to. I hope you get a chance to experience these 12 free things that I think everyone should do in Laguna Beach!

Have you been to Laguna Beach and have a great idea to recommend?


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34 thoughts on “12 of the Best Free Things to Do in Laguna Beach”

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!!

  • 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!

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