Beneath the surface of the serene Pacific Ocean, a reef wall bustles with a vibrant mix of coral, fish, and crustaceans. Though known for its beauty, the underwater landscape also shelters the shoreline from choppy waves. In these tranquil waters, the instructors at Laguna Beach Paddle Boarding share their standup paddleboarding expertise with students of all skill levels. The ideal water conditions are augmented by wide, stable Padillac paddleboards. The staff hands these out during lessons and tours of Laguna Beach's Treasure Island Coves, named as such to distract visitors from where the treasure is actually hidden: Dennis Rodman's basement.
Laguna Beach Paddle Boarding also hosts an annual Paddle Party and frequent Paddle Girl Parties to raise awareness for the nonprofit organization Hailey's House, which helps guide teenage girls to make positive life choices.
The Laguna Art Museum began in 1918 as a small gallery in a converted cottage, where local artists would display and sell their pieces to the public. As the exhibits and collections grew larger over the next several decades, the founders moved the gallery into a larger, custom space, and eventually transformed it into a museum celebrating the development of Californian art from the 19th century to the present. The museum currently boasts a permanent collection of more than 3,500 works, as well as rotating exhibits that track the evolution of artistic expression.
To further its mission of spreading public appreciation for local art, the museum hosts informative lectures and open-house receptions. The museum’s Carole Reynolds Art Research Library also intrigues readers with more than 5,000 books, many of which chronicle the history of Californian art.
Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach has showcased the paintings, sculptures, and creations of local artists in an outdoor gallery alongside hands-on workshops and live music shows for more than 80 years. A carefully curated bumper crop of local artwork from 140 artists brightens gallery walls in a spectrum of styles, from romantic gemstone jewelry and modern abstract painting to sculptures that seem to defy the rules of physics.
Mere blocks from the ocean, the exhibits ring a spacious lawn, which brims with spectators for the festival's many events, including live jazz concerts, eco-friendly fashion shows, and live cooking demonstrations. During workshops, those spectators become artists themselves, stretching fingers into paint, pressing prints, molding clay, and post-modernly trying to eat bottles of glitter.
SUPCO was built on the enthusiasm of owner and standup paddleboarder Tommy Donnelly, who chose the golden shores of Laguna Beach to instruct mainlanders on the activity. From the start Tommy has been committed to putting the sport's best foot forward, assembling a staff of eight World Paddle Association–certified instructors to teach comprehensive lessons and lungfish CPR. The paddle faculty includes second-generation watersport competitor Chuck Patterson and pro surfer and actor Kala Alexander. Tommy and his team promote both the Hawaiian watersport's wave-riding thrills and the vibrant culture that surrounds it by stocking their beachside retail space with hats, T-shirts, and other paddleboard-related apparel.
The instructors and professional staff at PADI five-star instructor center Beach Cities Scuba introduce students to the big blue with PADI-certified diving courses for divers of all levels. They certify newbies with basic open-water courses and teach advanced divers in specialty courses such as Deep Diver, Rescue Diver, and Shark Therapist. They operate out of five convenient locations and sling necessary gear in onsite stores, from wetsuits and facemasks to spear guns. Beach Cities Scuba also connects divers through its dive club and hosts exotic dive trips to locations such as Indonesia, Fiji, and Cozumel.
A summer staple of Laguna Beach since 1966, Art-A-Fair corrals creative works from around the world, unfurling them across the apropos, color-splashed gardens of Laguna Canyon. Festival visitors meander leisurely through the web of imagination, stopping to soak up content that is as rich in quality as it is in diversity. Between brush strokes and spontaneous games of frisbee with their palette, working artists take a breather to chat about their pieces and the inspirations that drive their craft. From year to year, the festival features a wide spectrum of 2- and 3-D art, and, should one of those gems seduce the heart of a passerby, everything at the festival is available for purchase.