I must say, one of my favorite domestic vacation spots is hands down Laguna Beach, CA. Granted...I could be a little biased considering we lived there before we were married so it holds a lot of sentimental value, but, it's seriously one of the most beautiful places in Southern CA. And up until the last 10 years or so it was also sort of a hidden gem. I mean, don't get me wrong there were definitely tourists there, but it was no where near as busy as it has been in the last few years.
That was one of the best parts about living there - at least 6 months of the year it was pretty much locals only - which made it so easy to fall into a laid back beach bum lifestyle. We'd spend the mornings on the beach with the dog and evenings out on our patio or strolling through town stopping for a bite to eat or ice cream cone. The simple things in life right?!
In fact, we lived there pre-Housewives of Orange County - so for any of you who watch that show (and lets be real here...who doesn't love RHOC?!) many of the places they frequent were either not there or no where near as busy as they are now. Which is why when we travel back we always try to mix a few weeknights into our stay to beat the crowds at our favorite restaurants, rooftop bars and beaches.
On our recent trip we stayed at La Casa del Camino, which actually was the first boutique hotel we ever stayed at (and likely the stem of my boutique hotel addiction). It was so long ago that I think we paid less than $100 a night as it was before this hotel was really discovered in my opinion. Since then they've added a rooftop bar (which is ahhhhmazing), full service restaurant, and designer rooms- all of which makes them a popular spot for filming shows and hosting events which means it's no longer $100 a night BUT it's actually still pretty reasonable and totally worth the additional cost.
The service at the property is on point, and their staff is typically young, beautiful & friendly - every time we stay they make us feel right at home often welcoming us with a bottle of champs and treats (which I love). Their location is towards the end of town, which I actually prefer, because the beaches at this end of town are a little less busy and at night you can sleep with the windows open to the sound of the crashing waves. They also offer complimentary continental breakfast, parking, beach bags, beach chairs & bottled water for your day trips. Plus their concierge will happily suggest great places to eat, things to do and must see itineraries. To say the least...we were not ready to leave at the end of our stay!
The weather, in true CA fashion, was absolutely perfect for nearly our entire stay and I was so happy to finally get to wear this color block dress by Mara Hoffman. So much so that I wore it three different times during our stay. Definitely a great piece to travel with that easily transitions day, to night and even as a beach cover up.
This little private courtyard was one of my favorite spots during the stay, in the mornings we enjoyed our coffee catching up on work and in the evenings it's perfect for a pre-dinner glass of wine (and photos...obviously).
Each time we go back a little part of me asks "why did we leave" - but I have to say, when we return home to Maine I am quickly reminded why we call it home. Which I think is the perfect travel/home balance, (hopefully) you should never be ready to leave vacation but always happy to return home.
And speaking of travel...we've got some fun trips coming up with a little staycation later this week and then next week we're off to Charleston to explore a new city, which I have been dying to visit for years. Make sure to follow along!
xo - margaret