Photograph courtesy montagelagunabeach.com
Sun, sand, and surf come with the territory in Laguna, but so do more than 60 miles of trails that are etched into the stunning coastal canyons and ridges of the San Joaquin Hills. After you’ve tramped along the sage-covered slopes and through sycamore woodlands in Crystal Cove State Park, make a beeline through downtown’s cluster of art galleries and surf shops to the Zinc Cafe & Market for some caffeine while lingering over french toast or a frittata. Keep walking and you’ll find The Stand, a vegan institution where tamales sell out by noon and the sprout-and-avocado sandwiches pair perfectly with the date shake. If you booked, oh, a year ahead, you can kick it in your beach cottage at Crystal Cove. Getting a bluff-top room at The Montage? Pricier, but a hell of a lot easier. Sunny and elegant without being fussy, it’s one of those hotels that others aspire to be.