Laguna Beach is a Pacific Coast resort town and artist community located in southern Orange County, California. This affluent city sits along 7 miles of coastline with sandy beaches, rocky coves, deep canyon ravines and towering hillsides. Experience this hip beach town and art center from a luxurious vacation villa with ocean-views at The Retreat in Laguna.
The name ‘Laguna’ comes from a Ute-Azteca Indian word for lakes: ‘Lagonas’ in reference to two lakes found near the head of Laguna Canyon. When the Spanish arrived, they called the region “La Cañada de Las Lagunas” which translates to “The Canyon of Lakes” and the region was formally incorporated as Laguna Beach in 1927. The city remained relatively isolated from inland Orange County as the topography of the San Joaquin Hills acted as a natural barrier until the early 1900s when the end of a lawsuit allowed the creation of a road through Laguna Canyon to Irvine. To this day, there are still few roads leading into Laguna Beach: Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs north to Newport Beach and South to Dana Point, State Route 133 (Laguna Canyon Road) transverses the hills inland towards Irvine.
With the opening of Laguna Canyon Road, the five families struggling to homestead along Laguna Beach found an additional source of income by renting sections of the beach to farmers from the inland areas like Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana and Riverside, eager to beat the summer heat. Tents lined the beaches and the first hotel when up at Arch Beach. Year by year, the seaside resort town grew and that was the beginning of the Laguna Beach tourist industry which is still so essential to the local economy today.
In 1913 a few local artists banded together to rent and refurbish an old wooden building, which by 1918 they used to open their first exhibition. By the 1920s, landscape artists were coming from all over to capture its beauty while laying the foundations for its renowned art community. The town continues to support and promote the arts all year round. In the summer, Laguna Beach draws several million visitors with picturesque scenery and several art festivals, such as the famous Pageant of the Masters, Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art Festival. And at The Retreat in Laguna, we’ve paired up with local artists to install artwork in each of our vacation rentals.
In 2004, Laguna Beach bursts onto the national scene when MTV created a reality TV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. The show aired for three seasons following the lives of several high school residents. It was success catapulted a number of its central figures into stardom and sparked the still popular spin-off, The Hills.
Despite population growth and commercialism, this city retains is “village” like atmosphere with a strong focus on preservation and environmentalism. As a result, Laguna Beach is one of the most prestigious and diversified regions of Orange County with a variety of vacation rentals, hotels, beach cottages and grand estates in gated communities situated to take advantage of the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.