Orange County is an expansive part of Southern California. While it might not be as well-known on a national and global scale as its neighbors Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County is still a unique place with a diverse community, a growing food scene, and a surprisingly rich history. It’s easy to see why so many people lay their roots down in the OC.
One of the most popular neighborhoods in Orange County is Laguna Beach. It has the characteristic sun, sand, and surf that you would expect from the rest of the county, but Laguna Beach was also initially founded as an artist colony. That sentiment spreads throughout the city and gives it much of its local flavor and appeal.
If that sounds like a lifestyle that you desire, read on to learn more about living in Laguna Beach.
Much like the rest of Orange County, the Laguna Beach cost of living is significant. The city of just over 23,000 residents is largely affluent, with a median household income of over $121,000. The total area of the city is just under 10 square miles, including land and sea. That translates to a fairly sparse city compared to more dense neighborhoods in Orange County.
The high median income naturally contributes to a higher home value and richer real estate market. Most of the suburban city is comprised of single-family homes and condos, with a smaller offering of apartments for renters. The median home value in Laguna Beach sits just over $1.7 million, while the average monthly rent is more than $2,200. This is higher than the national values, but it is fairly consistent with the rest of Orange County.
Navigating any real estate market comes with challenges, and even more so in cities with a higher cost of living, like Laguna Beach. Thankfully, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties agents in our Laguna Beach office offer years of experience, expertise, and knowledge to address any issues and guide you through the entire home-buying process. From making bids to closing on a property, our team can provide you with the help that you need to find your dream home.
As a fairly family-friendly city, Laguna Beach features a good selection of public and private schools for all grades. All of these schools are highly acclaimed and offer excellent academics and extracurricular programs.
The public school system in the city is served by the Laguna Beach Unified School District. The two public elementary schools in the district are El Morro Elementary School and Top of the World Elementary School. The LBUSD also oversees one middle school, Thurston Middle School, as well as one high school, Laguna Beach High School. The city only has one private elementary school, St. Catherine of Siena Parish School, which is managed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
Laguna Beach is also home to one higher education program. The Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is a private art college that was founded in 1961. With a relatively small enrollment of about 450 students, LCAD offers bachelor of arts degrees in:
The college also offers master of arts degrees in painting and drawing.
While proximity to freeways makes it easy to visit nearby cities and neighborhoods, Laguna Beach offers plenty of amenities and activities to satisfy residents and keep them relatively close all year round. The food scene continues to grow, and new businesses constantly pop up throughout Laguna Beach, promising new shopping experiences for even the most discerning tastes. Learn more about what Laguna Beach has to offer below.
The Laguna Art Museum is an excellent showcase of art exclusively created by California residents, ranging across all styles and art periods starting from the 19th century. The museum is also one of the oldest of its kind in California. It was founded in 1918 by the artists who would eventually discover the town as a whole and turn it into an active community.
The museum features an expansive permanent collection of over 3,500 pieces in a variety of mediums that represent the rich life and history of California. The museum also has a rotating selection of guest and special loan exhibitions that are replaced every three to four months. To increase interactivity, visitors can partake in docent-guided tours and various educational programs to bring in art appreciators of all ages. To top it off, the campus sits on Pacific Coast Highway and overlooks the ocean for some incredibly scenic views.
If you need even more creativity in your life, Laguna Beach is just the right place for you. Remember, this city was founded as an artist colony, and the sensibilities of that continue in nearly every square inch of Laguna Beach. The city features more than 100 artist studios and galleries that show off the works of local artists. Numerous committees manage the creation and placement of art installations in public spots throughout the city, from street-corner sculptures to colorful banners hanging from lampposts. It’s hard not to find some good local art wherever you go in Laguna Beach.
Laguna Beach is also famous for its many art festivals, which offer unique celebrations of local artists using various mediums.
Of course, as with any city in Orange County (and Southern California in general), the beaches are a characteristic part of Laguna Beach. The city features seven miles of coastline and, as the only marine reserve in the Southern California region, Laguna Beach’s shores boast clear, pristine waters with abundant marine life and clean sand. That makes for great opportunities for all your favorite beach activities, including surfing, snorkeling, and swimming. Laguna Beach is also well-known for its tide pools, which get you up close and personal with marine life and the city’s conservation efforts. Just remember that you can’t take anything from the pools (aside from plenty of photos).
The city has over 30 beaches and coves, so it’s easy to find your own personal spot of sand to cozy up to. It also boasts more beachfront lodging than any other city in California, making it easy and convenient for staycations or accommodations for visitors.
While it is a beach town, Laguna Beach still offers an expansive wilderness comprised of rolling hills and lush forests. That all allows for some incredible hikes and wilderness adventures, often with your favorite canine friend. Some of the best hiking spots include:
Make sure you stay hydrated, check the weather, and bring a hiking buddy if you can.
Laguna Beach offers some of the most diverse shopping experiences anywhere. You can shop for one-of-a-kind goods from boutique shops, find unique pieces from local artists, or round out your wardrobe with the perfect piece of handmade clothing. Laguna Beach has nearly 100 boutique stores throughout, from the village downtown to the southern tip of Pacific Coast Highway. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or are just simply looking for a gift, you can easily find oils, salts, surf gear, jewelry, and more.
Laguna Beach has a growing dining scene that is only getting bigger and better. From easy, beachside fare to romantic, candlelit dinners and everything in-between, the city has cuisine that can suit every occasion and every taste. The seven miles of coastline alone offer over 100 restaurants, diners, and eateries. Most of these venues are independently owned, which contributes to the quality of ingredients and service.
Laguna Beach features two wineries, McClain Cellars and Laguna Canyon Winery, as well as two breweries, the OC Craft and the Laguna Beach Beer Company. Add to that an active nightlife full of incredible bars and clubs, and you have an awesome selection of libations to enjoy.
Laguna Beach rides a unique line between surfer town and bohemian oasis, but it is a city that truly offers an incredible place to call home, whether you are starting a family or just starting a new life of your own. If you need any help finding the home of your dreams, consult our team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties to get started today.