“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” Alex Haley’s words are so true. Grandparents generally have such an important impact on their grandchildren. One of the best bonding experiences can happen when these two generations join together to take a trip. An extra perk is that as Grandma and Grandpa savor this time with their grandkids on a vacation, the children’s parents get a much-appreciated break as well. Laguna Beach in California is a perfect spot for these two very different age groups to merge. There are activities and experiences that grandparents of every age can enjoy with their grandchildren.
Location and City Information
Laguna Beach is in Orange County in Southern California, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. It is bordered on the southwest by the Pacific Ocean. Laguna is a unique beach community and artist colony. It boasts seven miles of city beach right in the center of town. The closest major airport is Santa Ana John Wayne Airport. It is roughly ten miles away. The Ontario International Airport is a little over 36 miles from Laguna, and L.A. International is just over 44 miles away. The average temperature in the summer is 75 and it’s only about seven degrees cooler during the remainder of the year. Perfect.
The Pacific Edge Hotel on Laguna Beach would be a good choice for a trip with grandparents and grandchildren. Of its 130 rooms, 49 are oceanfront. The cheapest time to go is during the off-season, not in the summer. Children and adults alike will bask in the views of the Pacific from the balcony. On a clear day, you can see Catalina Island. There are two-bedroom suites available. The rooms are simple, but clean, and have coffee pots, ironing boards, free Wi-Fi connection, and so on. The kids will enjoy the two swimming pools, the arcade, and the game room. The larger rooms come equipped with a refrigerator and stove, so making your own meals in the room is an option. There is a grocery store a block away. There are no restaurants on the premises, but food venues are close. As a guest, you’ll receive a 10% card that can be used in some of the restaurants and shops in town. The best part is that you can park the car and walk everywhere.
Right next to the Pacific Edge Hotel is the Beach House Restaurant, and it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have sunset specials if you’re looking to cut corners on price. Many grandparents like to dine early anyway. You won’t find many fast food choices in Laguna Beach, but there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken a stone’s throw from the Pacific Edge Hotel. Take the short walk into town for various meal options. One of my favorite spots is the French restaurant, C’est La Vie. You can order your meals inside, or outside with an ocean view. It’s tough to pass up all the French pastries on the way into the restaurant, however! There are many spots in Laguna where grandparents can share meals with their grandchildren while taking in the soothing ocean views.
A positive point about this vacation is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Sure, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios are short drives away, yet children and adults alike can be entertained right on the beach. You can also rent bicycles or kayaks if you desire. The Pacific Edge provides complimentary lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels. Just take some sand shovels and buckets and you’ll be ready to create a sandcastle together. It is a beautiful walk north along the beach up to Heisler Park. The bluff-top walkways make it easy for all ages to navigate. Once you reach Heisler, you can enjoy a picnic lunch on the tables that are provided. You might spot some dolphins frolicking along the way, and there are usually pelicans perched on what has come to be known as “pelican rock”.
The Laguna Beach Playhouse believes that children should experience theater. They have four different plays during the children’s season. These adaptations of popular books and stories are geared toward elementary and middle-school aged children. Take a ten minute drive to Dana Point and you can go on a 2 to 3 hour cruise, Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari and Whale Watching. It is $55 for adults, $35 for ages 3-12, and no charge for age two and under. You might see dolphins right at the boat’s bow. Migrating gray whales can be observed from December through April and the blue whales from May to November. Those are just the highlights of the many sea creatures you’ll encounter. Laguna Beach is a “Marine Protected Area”. You can visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to get an up-close look at marine mammals that are being rehabilitated. Once they are okay, they are released back into their natural habitat.
Sprinkle some stardust over the lives of your grandchildren. Enjoy nature at its best in Laguna Beach.