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Laguna Beach is a beautiful coastal city in Orange County, California, that has a long history of celebrating the LGBTQ community and is known for its many art galleries, beaches, and beautiful natural habitats. It is an eclectic, diverse community that loves nature, the arts, and that celebrates the wide variety of diverse residents and neighborhoods that make it wonderful.
A Look at Laguna Beach History
Laguna Beach was initially part of a land grant from Mexico in 1837, and was initially named Lagona, which is a variation of the Spanish word meaning “lagoon“ because of the two lagoons at the entrance to Laguna Canyon. In 1904 it was renamed Laguna Beach. Known for its gorgeous cliffs, canyons, and coves it quickly developed as a coastal resort, and is still a city that draws millions of visitors each year. It is also known for its vibrant arts scene including many art festivals which are held throughout the year. It is also a city of stunning natural beauty including several wilderness parks and nature preserves, in addition to its beautiful beaches.
A Few Fun Facts About Laguna Beach
Find more fun facts about Laguna Beach here.
The LGBTQ Community in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach has long had a thriving LGBTQ community that is supported by a variety of community resources. Some of those community resources include:
The LGBTQ Center of Orange County was established in 1971, and has been serving the LGBTQ communities in Laguna Beach and greater Orange County since that time. The mission of the center is to “[A]dvocate on behalf of the Orange County Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer/Questioning communities and provide services that ensure its well-being and positive identity.” The center accomplishes this mission through a blend of advocacy, education, social programs, and other resources offered to support the LGBTQ community, and its friends and allies.
Laguna Beach Pride 365 is a year-round organization that promotes and celebrates the diversity of Laguna Beach and the LGBTQ community. The organization offers a variety of resources to the LGBTQ community and promotes events year-round, including beach bonfire socials, bicycle rides, comedy nights, drag shows, and many more.
Laguna Beach Weather
If you love sunshine, Laguna Beach is the place for you. With its mild Mediterranean climate, Laguna Beach offers abundant amounts of sunshine all year long, and temperatures that are almost always pleasant. The average daily high temperature ranges from 68 °F (20 °C) in January to 80 °F (27 °C) in August. Annual average rainfall is relatively low at 13.56 inches.
Popular Laguna Beach Events
The annual Laguna Beach Pride 365 festival typically takes place during the first weekend of June. Those who attend can expect festive entertainment, delicious food and beverage offerings, specialty vendors and a variety of LGBTQ Pride organizations to learn about and be a part of. Many Laguna Beach venues participate in the weekend, which includes the very popular gay beach destination, "West Street Beach" party.
A Look at the Best Neighborhoods in Laguna Beach
While some larger cities have a variety of different “neighborhoods” that are considered more friendly or more densely populated by the LGBTQ community, Laguna Beach is unique in that the entire area, the whole community, is one big LBTQ friendly neighborhood! All that’s left for you to do is to decide what type of home you want and the price range you need. From cozy, historic beach cottages to luxury beachfront homes, there are a variety of choices to fit every personality and lifestyle. Homes in Laguna Beach aren’t cheap – in fact the median sale price is in the millions - but for those who can afford to purchase in this beautiful area, a knowledgeable and experienced realtor will be able to help you find the perfect place.
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Arts and Entertainment
The Laguna Playhouse is the oldest continually operating playhouse on the West Coast. This popular theater in the heart of Laguna Beach stages big-name plays and musicals, as well as comedy shows, children’s productions & more.
Laguna Beach is known for being an artsy community, The Sawdust is one of its biggest art festivals. Held annually from late June through August, the festival features everything from handicrafts to find art. Its exhibitors are required to be Laguna Beach residents, and it draws a crowd of about 200,000 people annually. You won’t want to miss the chance to check it out for yourself!
Parks and Recreation
For those who love untamed natural beauty, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is must see. This 7,000-acre wilderness area in the San Joaquin Hills surrounding Laguna Beach, California abounds with nature’s splendor. Visitors can enjoy coastal canyons, ridgeline views and the only natural lakes in Orange County.
Widely known as Orange County’s best gay beach, West Street is a place to meet friends, and enjoy the surf and sun. There are volleyball courts at both ends of the beach, and at the north end is Aliso Point which includes some unique rock formations and beautiful tide pools when the tide is out.
Laguna Beach Nightlife
The Seahorse was the first gay bar in Laguna Beach, growing out of a hardware store, Pearl Street General, that was first established in 1926. For many years, it served as a secret watering hole for the local gay community. Today, it is a historic part of a city that openly celebrates diversity and inclusion. Truly, it is a bar for everyone, and a must-see piece of history.
The Stateroom Bar is known for its handcrafted artisanal cocktails, many of which are named after other Laguna Beach hotspots, both those presently open, and those of years past. Stateroom is a complement to a well-known local eatery, Driftwood Kitchen. Enjoy a good meal, a good drink, and a beautiful view, all at once!
Although perhaps best known for its Sunday reggae nights, Mozambique is a rooftop restaurant and bar that offers excellent food and drinks, lively music, and a beautiful view.