A Perfect Day at Pearl

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What’s a Laguna Beach resident’s hardest task?

Choosing which beach to go to!

While this might be a bad joke, it is kind of true. With countless coves to choose from, it's no small feat to find the best beach for an ideal day spent outdoors. As a proud Laguna Beach bum, to write about my perfect day at the beach is an honor. The feelings that follow a day spent outside are indescribable. Even just a few hours outdoors can reset your entire body, mind, and spirit. Yet, we often get caught up in excuses -- blaming time, bad-planning, or something outside of our control as to why we can’t enjoy a day at the beach. This is why I’m going to outline a perfect day for you, so that your only task is to show up and enjoy yourself.

First and foremost, to have a perfect beach day it’s important to arrive prepared. My mantra is that a prepared beach-goer is a happy beach-goer, so here are some of my go-to essentials...

A large reusable water bottle -- not only is it important to stay hydrated, but it’s our duty not to use single-use plastics that might end up in the water and harm precious marine life.

A beach towel -- obvious, but often forgotten! I normally bring two — one towel to lay on and the other to dry off with.

Snacks -- preferably hydrating snacks since you’ll be in the sun all day.

Sunblock -- not to be too preachy, but here in Laguna we care about the protection of our beaches (this is how they stay so pristine!), so when choosing which sunblock to purchase make sure it’s reef friendly and made with non-toxic organic ingredients, so that it’s safe for you and the ocean.

Entertainment -- a book, deck of cards, or soccer ball will keep the fun going all day long.

Now that your arsenal of items are packed, it’s time to enjoy the beach!

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Begin the day at the lookout above Main Beach. Just surveying the long stretch of Main Beach is enough to make my heart (and hopefully yours) swell with gratitude. I walk everywhere in Laguna, which is why I begin my day at Main Beach before strolling to my personal favorite, Pearl Street Beach. Geographically situated in the middle of Laguna, Pearl’s central location offers countless options.

It will take about 30 minutes to reach Pearl’s cove, but it’s a flat walk that I highly recommend for anyone wanting to check out multiple beaches and get some exercise. Along the way, be sure to take deep breaths, check out the waves, and feel the sand crinkle in between your toes.

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You’ll know you’ve arrived at Pearl Beach because of its distinguished (and now famous -- thanks social media!) Arch Rock. Arrive early in the day and snag the best spot to set up your beach station. Spend the next few hours swimming in the waves, playing games in the sand, or just reading and relaxing.

Taking time to enjoy nature is necessary in our hectic world. So put your phone on airplane mode and let your mind wander -- Pearl’s rocky landscape is a true portal into your wildest imagination.

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Depending on the tide and time of day, you may be able to actually go under Arch Rock and over to the next cove. When low tide hits, be sure to walk beyond the Arch, onto the tide-pools, located in between Pearl and Woods Cove Beach. These pools are ever-changing and you never know what you may find stuck in the little divots! To plan your exploring accordingly access a handy daily tide chart online.

If you get hungry midday and your snacks aren’t holding you over, there are countless restaurant options just a short walk away. Head over to Active Culture for your health fix, or stay on the beach and dine at The Deck on Laguna.

Sunset marks the end to a wonderful day... but be sure to stay on the beach even after the sun goes down as this is when the best colors come out. If you're not ready to leave quite yet, my favorite bar in Laguna, Seahorse (a speakeasy that feels like home) happens to be right across the street. If you’re feeling exceptionally voracious from all that serious chill time, Ristorante Rumari offers authentic Italian dishes and a cozy vibe. However this adventure unfolds, you’ll head home in the evening with a happy heart, and a rejuvenated sense for the true beauty that is Laguna Beach.

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Gemma Totten is a world traveler, but first and foremost, a Laguna local. Catch up with her on her dream (and beach)-worthy Instagram at @gemmatotten.

Photos by: Grant Puckett.