Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary, Laguna Beach Style

One of the things I enjoy most in life—besides coffee, peanut butter, yoga, movies, and dancing—is travel. And, I’m extra lucky I met someone who values it the same way, too.

Sam and I consider ourselves very fortunate that we live in a place like California. We’re 35 minutes (without traffic) from the beach, and an hour-and-a-half from the mountains and desert. We could see all 3 terrains in just a day, if we wanted.

That’s why when our first wedding anniversary came close, we knew we wanted to celebrate with travel. Nothing far or too extravagant. No flights or layovers. Just a simple road trip to cheers to our first year (in total, eight years) together.

We agreed that Laguna Beach would be it.

Have you ever been? I had been before – once with my Mom during one of her visits to CA, and a second time with Sam.

It’s just an hour south of LA. A breezy drive along the PCH. An escape so tropical and serene you’d think you were on an island.

That’s why we love it.

Anyway, Sam and I were on the same page when it came to what we wanted to do that weekend.

It was simple.

Beach, eat, walk, sleep. Repeat.

And, that’s just what we did.

Here’s a little look back. Feel free to grab some ideas before your visit to Laguna! (I always love looking up fun things to do when I’m traveling, so if this helps you, then 🙂 )

FRIDAY we got into Laguna around 4:30pm for our check-in. I have to admit, the traffic getting from LA to Laguna, even when leaving around 2/2:30 was… shitty. It took us a little over two hours to get down there, compared to just the one we expected.

But, we were in vacation-mode, so no worries there! Plus, they gave us a bottle of red wine upon checking in which was so thoughtful.

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After checking in, we walked our pretty little feet straight to the beach from our super close hotel room at the Pacific Edge Hotel. We didn’t stay in an oceanfront room, but we might as well have because we were about a 20-second walk from our front door to the water. Prime location!

The sun/setting around 6pm was magical. We sat on some of hotel’s reserved lounge chairs and just people-watched and soaked in the air. Views to our left and right were perfection. Cliffs, sun-soaked waves, people laughing, joggers, couples playing games in the sand… am I in a movie? 😀

It felt great just to sit, especially after a long work week.

When our tummies started to grumble, we got ready for dinner and a walk downtown, just about a 10-minute stroll.

P.S. Pacific Edge Hotel was prime for walking – close to everything you need (restaurants, Ralphs, cafes, the beach, shops… you name it.) We didn’t drive once.

Downtown, we grabbed a bite to eat at Hennessy’s Tavern while watching the NBA finals. We clinked Moscow Mules and enjoyed some yummy sandwiches (BLTA for me).

After strolling around town and walking back to our hotel, we kicked it for the night… with a pint of Tillamook peanut butter ice cream. Typical…

SATURDAY started very ambitiously. I’ve been waking up early (even on the weekends, these days) so when I was up and ready to go, I walked over to the complimentary, off-site gym for a workout to kick-start my day at Art of Fitness.

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I did a combo of things – the elliptical, free weights, bosu ball, mat pilates, and strength bands.

It felt great to get a short walk and workout in, all before 8:30am.

Next, Sam and I grabbed breakfast right next-door at place called The Orange Inn. We settled on breakfast burritos that were the size of our heads. Legit.

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I got the house one (which had avocado, beans, cheese, and egg) and Sam got a chorizo variation.

We took them back to the front porch area of our room to eat under the morning sun.

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So good. SO filling.

After that, we made our way to the beach for the day. I mean, that’s REALLY why made the trip anyway. We’re both obsessed with the beach.

The hotel handles everything from your chairs (lounge or sit-up ones), towels, and umbrellas, so really all you have to do is show up. 😉

We found a great spot on the beach and laid down for a bit… had to let those food babies die down, haha!

The rest of the morning/afternoon was spent reading, tanning, walking the coast, listening to music and talking.

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We couldn’t even think about lunch after that kind of breakfast, so we skipped it.

Sam may have played bartender for the day by making us some Moscow Mules in the room and bringing them beachside. 🙂

Good guy, right there.

Once we had had enough sun (what’s that like?), we got ready for our evening. We headed downtown again to check out more cute shops before our dinner reservation. The shops in Laguna are CUTE. I mean, how could they not be?

I ended up getting myself a cute beach hat (I’ve been wanting one), a new pair of shades (living in CA, you need a pair everyday to wear), and these super cool vanilla sugar cubes for tea/coffee (fancy).

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It seemed like the whole town was out and about Saturday night as we walked around, squeezing between strangers strolling to and from the town center.

We ended up back at our hotel and popped some champagne to celebrate our anniversary!

Before we knew it, it was dinnertime. We made our to Driftwood Kitchen, which is actually one of Pacific Edge Hotel’s restaurants (the other being the more casual, The Deck).

Talk about dinner with a view – wow! We picked the best time. 7:45pm.

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You are literally feet from the shore. Can’t get much closer than that. And the restaurant’s style was so lovely—very beachy with soft hues and high ceilings.

We were pumped to enjoy our anniversary dinner… little did we know how stuffed we would be at the end.

Fun fact: Our waitress was the same girl we chatted with at the beach earlier that day. We said to her, “Wait, we recognize you!” And she said, “Oh yeah, earlier today we chatted! That was me just swimming on my lunch break earlier,” to which we responded, “THAT is sweet.”

Anyway, she was amazing and made our night so special. She grabbed us for sunset pics when the timing was just right and even brought over champagne with blueberries.

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For dinner, we started with soup (lobster bisque for Sam and sweet corn bisque for me), then we had a burrata and grilled bread appetizer, and THEN we had our entrees (I know, a lot of food)—I had their butternut squash gnocchi with pancetta, and Sam had the lobster spaghetti. Oh yeah, and then we had a cocktail each, too.

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When I say we were stuffed at the end, I mean we were STUFFED to the very MAX. Like, we were concerned with ourselves, haha. Anyway, it was delicious and worth it. But note to self, your stomach is smaller than you think.

After that, we were pretty much useless for the night and any plans of going out on the town again were NOT happening, haha. But that was fine with us, because remember our plan was: Beach, eat, walk, sleep. Repeat.

SUNDAY morning was another beautiful one. The weather all weekend was so ideal—high 70s/80, breezy and blue skies.

Once we were up, we walked the opposite direction on the PCH for coffee at Laguna Coffee Co. I had a cappuccino and Sam got a mocha iced coffee, which was very mocha-y. 😉

We sat outside on their little patio area and settled into another day at Laguna. Afterwards, we walked across the street to watch all the surfers getting in their morning sessions.

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For breakfast, we ended up back at The Orange Inn for smoothies since we were kind of still full from the previous night’s dinner (crazy, right?!). I got their original smoothie which had blueberries, strawberries and dates in it.

Sunday called for another beach day, so we grabbed our magazines and sunblock and walked our toes to the sand.

Can I just say, it feels so good to just do nothing sometimes. Working full-time, which can sometimes include nights and weekends, having a completely free weekend is the BEST…. Man, it’s great. I highly suggest it.

Our hotel was great, even after check-out, they said we could stay for the day… so, of course we did!

Around 1pm, we were finally in touch with what it felt like to be hungry again (haha), so we walked to Taco Loco for… tacos, duh. This place was great! I had one of their blackened chicken tacos, and one of their blackened tofu/mushroom ones (you know me, always trying the veggie options), both LOADED with guacamole. Delish!

We strolled back to our lounge chairs and hung out a bit more before slowly calling it a wrap.

We were bummed to leave Laguna, because it really is so relaxing and breathtakingly beautiful. But, knowing it’s just an hour away keeps me smiling. We can really go back any time.

Like I said, travel brings me so much joy. There’s just so much to see and experience, and I think I’ll always be curious to explore new areas. I look forward to more beach days with Sam where we can sit, look around, and appreciate all that we have in our lives.

I feel so fortunate in so many ways.

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Have you gone on any weekend getaways worth mentioning? Please share!

Have a lovely weekend,
Ari

Categories Travel

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