1. Announce your arrival on Instagram with an establishing shot in Heisler Park.
It's basically a lush, iconic waterfront park in Laguna Beach where lots of locals hang out. It's situated on the cliffs overlooking a long stretch of coastline — meaning you get sweet panoramic views. And there lots of entrances to the beach below along the way.
There are a bunch of oldschool beach cottages right in the middle of Crystal Cove State Park that have been around since the 1930s and 40s. Since then, they've been renovated, but the original historic, low-maintenance beach vibe charm is definitely still there. Reserve a night here, but be warned: Spots go quickly, so it's best to book way in advance.
6. Watch and 'gram the sunset at Huntington Beach Pier.
This is an iconic spot in Huntington Beach. And for good reason: Just LOOK how the sun shines through the pier! Done and done.
7. Go surfing — or, you know, just oogle at the hot surfers — around Huntington Beach Pier.
8. Take yourself to the land of Arrested Development on the ferry to Balboa Island.
9. Be an honorary Bluth and eat a frozen banana from Dad's on Balboa Island.
THERE'S ALWAYS MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND.
10. Marvel at the OC's incredible tide pool situation.
The OC is famous for its tide pools, especially the ones in Laguna Beach. In fact, there is even a show completely devoted to tide pools. Bonus points if you stick your finger in a sea anemone while you're wandering (don't worry, it's safe and it won't hurt).
11. Wonder where the fresh mimosas at Las Brisas have been all your life.
Seriously though, WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN?! Las Brisas is a very well-known OC establishment, known for their fresh and upscale Mexican food — especially their Monday-through-Saturday breakfast buffet, and Sunday brunch. There's always an omelet man, and you can also get dishes like Mexican lasagna and Crepes de Laguna (filled with scallops and served with scrambled eggs).
Situated on the rooftop of La Casa del Camino hotel in Laguna Beach, Rooftop Lounge is a place to see and ... see other people. Also, they have a great happy hour (half off mojitos and all beer, wine and well drinks from 3 to 5), and fresh eats, like crab and shrimp ceviche, and Hawaiian ahi poke.
Right across the street from the Pageant and the Festival of Art is the Sawdust Festival, a local art festival that was originally started by Laguna hippies in 1965. Held every summer since then, the festival is not as fancy as its neighbor: It hosts local Etsy-ish vendors, who sell their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more. The best part: They cover the entire festival ground with sawdust, which really adds to the hippied-out ~vibe~ of the place.
20. Drink a terrible hangover's worth of whiskey and see a live show at Marine Room Tavern.
The thing about Marine Room Tavern in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach is that you can't NOT drink a lot there. It's an incredibly dive-y whiskey bar slash live music venue that gets into your bones and makes you want to have a good time no matter what. The well-known rock musician Ty Segall, who grew up in Laguna, has played there in the past — which gives the place major street cred.
21. Rent a car and cruise down Pacific Coast Highway (a.k.a. Route 1) while blasting your best California-themed playlist.
22. Take a deep breath of clean, salty, Pacific air and feel happy that you are in such a beautiful, rejuvenating place.