This summer I’m going on a series of midweek day trips to places in Southern California that I’ve always wanted to visit “someday when I get a chance”. I live in Orange County, CA, which is perfectly positioned as a launch pad for the San Diego and Los Angeles areas, coastal mountains, and magnificent beaches.
Twisty Laguna Canyon Road is a refreshing change from the I-5 juggernaut and soon winds through lush fields and the Willow Canyon Laguna Coast Park, where day hikers and bikers are enjoying the summer palette of floral aromas and colors along shaded paths. July is a magic time in the park.
Laguna Koi Ponds pops up as an unexpected treat just outside of town. There are over 35,000
gallons of display ponds here, holding dozens of species of koi. Another 500 square foot water garden display features an assortment of water lilies and bog plants. This quick stop turns out to be a very refreshing and informative stop, indeed. Serendipity at work.
The Sawdust Festival has been presenting top-notch artisans creating a stunning array of artistic
works for nearly 50 years. The artists’ spaces line meandering walkways under giant eucalyptus
trees on a hillside within walking distance of the village of Laguna Beach. This year’s kaleidoscopic
collection includes the work of 200 artisans, working in all traditional media, plus a few less-traditional explorers. Beautiful beach scenes using surfboards as the canvas, 3-D pictures that need
glasses to “pop”, scrimshaw, butterflies and mobiles are all attracting their own enthusiastic followers. Of special interest to RoadTrip America followers is a framed American flag, made of
reassembled red, white and blue ceramic shards, with fifty small souvenir state trinkets, all properly placed on the flag.
The ocean-hugging drive north, on Pacific Coast Highway, exposes a kind of Jekyll and Hyde aspect to the area. All within 20 miles, the artsy enclave of Laguna Beach morphs into the communities of Newport Coast, Corona del Mar, and Newport Beach. Then come the endless beaches and renowned waves of Huntington Beach, “Surf City USA”. The gated gazillion dollar homes with their views of the known world, give way to a vibrant beach culture of surfboard shops, street performers and fast food restaurants. Exotic car dealerships and yacht clubs have given way to scooter rental storefronts.
Southern California in the summer! Celebrate!