LBL’s Guide to 4th of July in Laguna

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If you’re planning on spending your 4th of July in Laguna, you’re in for a real treat. Laguna Beach -- the land of sun and fun -- has not only one epic firework show, but three. The main show is put on by the city of Laguna Beach, and the other two are hosted in our private gated communities Emerald Bay and Three Arch Bay (located in the north and south ends of town respectively). The best thing? Sometimes you can see all three! All firework shows begin at approximately 9pm.

We’ve put together some of our pro tips for your perfect 4th, no matter what vibe you’re searching for. 

WHERE TO WATCH THE SHOW… if you want sand in your toes:

Main Beach --

This is the best beach to go to if you want to be close to the big show and also have access to a park, bathrooms, showers, restaurants, and stores. Main Beach has everything and definitely enough places for everyone to sit comfortably. It’s also super safe because Laguna’s lifeguard headquarters is here. Perfect for a family with little ones.

Heisler Park -- 

There are some great beaches and coves (Fisherman’s, Shaw’s) tucked along Heisler Park and there’s also tons of picnic areas with BBQ grills and tables above the beach if you want to have a full out patriotic BBQ with hot dogs and hamburgers. (FYI: Monument Point area will be closed because this is where they launch fireworks. Starting around 5pm everything from Myrtle Street to the Rockpile Beach stairs at Jasmine Street won’t allow any public access to allow for firework preparation.)

South Laguna -- 

These are probably the hardest beaches to get to if you are driving because there isn’t much parking... but it’s gorgeous if you make the trek down. There are usually a lot of stairs to these beaches (West Street, Thousand Steps), with the exception of Aliso Creek Beach which has ample parking and big fire pits! 

WHERE TO WATCH THE SHOW… if you’re looking to have dinner, drinks, and dance:

The Cliff -- 

If you were any closer you’d actually be on the beach! The Cliff is a fun and mellow place to eat and have a drink, mostly outdoors. There’s usually a live band if you want to get your groove on. Just make sure to be there early if you want a table! 

Las Brisas -- 

Located right next to Heisler Park, Las Brisas has a classy Spanish style outdoor seating area kept warm by a fire pit. With the yummiest margaritas and Mexican cuisine, prepare to spend a bit of money as it’s on the more expensive side. A perfect place to bring a date if you want to really woo them.

Skyloft --

Catty corner to Main Beach, they don’t call this place Skyloft for nothing, it has an amazing view of Laguna and will have a great view of the fireworks if you can find a spot on their top deck. A smokehouse with a fresh seafood twist, try to get a spot on the deck to listen to live music.

Royal Hawaiian --

Okay, technically you can’t see the fireworks from here but this restaurant is amazing and located extremely close to Heisler Park. With its ultra-cool tiki vibe, the Royal Hawaiian serves up a delicious polynesian and coastal menu -- and also plenty of extra large, tropical drinks!

INSIDER TIPS:

  • If you plan on spending the day at the beach, we suggest getting to town early in the morning before all the parking spots are gone. 

  • Hop on one of the city’s free trolleys. They’re fun and easier than trying to find a parking spot right next to the beach. The Coastal Route will run from 9:30-7pm and the Canyon Route will go from 8:30-7pm.

  • Expect there to be heavy traffic, especially in the downtown area and Laguna Canyon Road after the firework show. 

  • Don’t drink and drive! Laguna police are out in full force on the 4th of July, so plan to call an Uber or Lyft.

  • Pack everything you’ll need before you get to the beach so you can just enjoy the day and have fun.

  • If you forget anything there are many grocery stores in town: Whole Foods, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, Pavilions, and Gelson’s.

SOME BASIC BEACH RULES:

  • No alcohol

  • No smoking (Laguna is a smoke free city)

  • No glass

  • No tents or canopies (over 6 x 6 ft)

  • No drones

  • No bbqs 

  • No fireworks

  • No dogs

REMEMBER TO BRING:

  • Beach umbrellas 

  • Coolers for drinks and snacks

  • Lots of sunscreen

  • Hats and towels/blankets to sit on

  • A jacket in case it gets cold at night

  • Water to stay hydrated 

Mari Verdugo is a fourth generation Laguna Beach native, photographer, and writer who loves spending the 4th of July at the beach with her friends. If you can’t find her at the beach, visit her website or at @marielenaphoto.