We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

La Jolla or Laguna?

Which La Jolla hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Oregon City, Oregon
posts: 33
reviews: 3
La Jolla or Laguna?

Trying to plan our vacation. We are going to spend a couple days at Disneyland and then spend a few days at the beach. I am torn between either Laguna Beach or La Jolla. I know La Jolla would be a further drive, and we are doing the Capt Dave's Safari in Dana Point, so it would make more sense to be in Laguna - just something appeals to me about La Jolla when I look at pics. Is there really a big difference that would make driving back and forth worth it or should we just stay in Laguna? Thanks!

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 46,604
reviews: 61
1. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

I'd just stay in Laguna or one of the other nearby beach towns.

Come down to San Diego and its La Jolla neighborhood on another trip!

Oregon City, Oregon
posts: 33
reviews: 3
2. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

That's kinda what I'm thinking. With everything we'd like to do in San Diego, it could be a separate trip! Which town of these is the safest/cleanest (or the most like La Jolla): Laguna Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point? Thanks for your help!

Edited: 2:26 pm, February 28, 2012
Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 24,196
reviews: 13
3. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

There is one more option, San Clemente...

But they all have different feels and vibes...

As one who grew up in La Jolla (and my parents still live there), I think I can give some fair differences... As for Newport Beach, it is very varied, but the "beach/water area" is the main focus... More Businesses and boats (by FAR) than La Jolla.

Same with Dana Point.

Laguna Beach is more commercial and has a less percentage of housing than La Jolla.

To me, the closest to La Jolla is San Clemente, low key Beach vibe with nice Housing and a Downtown that has a varied amount of places to eat and shop. San Clemente is just south of Dana Point, so easy access to Dana Point.


Once again, just my personal opinion...

La Jolla, California
Destination Expert
for La Jolla
posts: 2,348
reviews: 58
4. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

Save La Jolla for your next trip so you can spend more time here.

So. Cal
posts: 1,162
reviews: 18
5. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

***Which town of these is the safest/cleanest (or the most like La Jolla): Laguna Beach, Newport Beach or Dana Point?***

We have 3 areas in California that are described as "The Riviera"

They are:

La Jolla

Laguna Beach

Santa Barbara

Newport Beach, Dana Point and Laguna Beach are very safe and clean, with Laguna Beach being the most similar to La Jolla.

La Jolla, California
posts: 658
reviews: 18
6. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

lovetotravel1 -

I live in La Jolla and was just in Laguna yesterday, so your timing in perfect. I'd say the two places are similar, but it seems like La Jolla has more emphasis on outdoor activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, etc. Also La Jolla has a seal colony, sea lions, and scads of pelicans. Laguna is more about art galleries and is, in general, more commercial. Both places are good for walking on the beach, surfing, and interesting dining. I think La Jolla is more kid-friendly.

When I think of Newport Beach I think of highrise office towers and glitzy malls. Nothing like La Jolla. Dana Point is mostly about boats.

Also, be aware that during Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach is chockablock with tourists and bus tours.

The drive time between Laguna and La Jolla is about an hour, less from Dana Point to La Jolla.

Elizabeth Hansen


posts: 28,742
reviews: 767
7. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

Both places are beautiful! Laguna Beach has several nice art galleries, great restaurants and some very nice resorts. The Montage is our favorite place to stay in LB. :).

So. Cal
posts: 1,162
reviews: 18
8. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

Actually Dana Point is more than boats. If you want outdoor activities you'll find it there.


jet skiing

electric boats

stand up paddle surfing

tide pools

Doheny State Beach where you can rent bikes and surreys and ride along the beach

hike at Dana Point Headlands

Not to mention the Ocean Institute

and you'll never need a car after you park!


Newport Beach, CA
posts: 1,931
reviews: 23
9. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

LMAO! To the person that said that said, Laguna has "several nice art galleries" that's sort of like saying that Nebraska has 'a little bit of corn'.

Personally, I think that the Montage is overpriced and over rated. I'd rather stay at the Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla.

Syragirl, how much is the Montage paying you to 'pimp' their site? Enought to make up for that tawdry website that you promoted here for years?

LovetoTravel: you can consider me biased if you like as I live in Newport Beach and, somewhere on this site I've written a review of why I live here.

Relative to other locations: In N.B. you can kyack the Back Bay, the largest remaining estuary in SoCal, jet ski, stand up paddle boarding , parasailing, tide pools, possibly the most beautiful outdoor shopping mall in the US (Fashion Island), The Catalina Flyer (ferry to Catalina Island) the Balboa Ferry (the 2nd oldest continually operating ferry in the US.,) and, of course, the Harbor Cruise which takes you on about an hour rrde for viewpoints of the former homes of people like John Wayne, Candice Bergen, Roy Rogers and Dale Evens and Nicholas Cage.

Plenty of bike and surry rentals in Newport Beach----the 'boardwalk' goes up to the center of Huntington Beach (About 7 miles, along the ocean).

Hike and mountain Bike at Crystal Cove State Bach or dive/snorkel in the marine park right off the beach at Crystal Cove. (A dolphin birthing ground in the sprng, BTW).

Crrystal Cove is the largest undevloped stretch of beach between Santa Barbara and Mexico.

Here a couple of websites that may help you decide between Laguna and Newport;





www.shop fashion island.com






As for Laguna Beach vs. La Jolla, personally, I don't find them anything alike. To me, Laguna is more of a 'beach town' and La Jolla is more of a sophisticated location. Laguna has a lot of art galleries and, if you are in town on the first Thursday of the month and you like art, you should enjoy the First Thirsday Art Walk, which is when the galleries stay open late with free refreshments and a shuttle bus to take you around to the various areas of Laguna where galleries are located. In the past, I've likened it to a big 'block party' and I've always found it fun.

Personally, of all the cities mentioned here I think that Newport and La Jolla are the most similar.

From La Jolla to Dana Point it's an easy drive. Just head north on the I-5 and look for the 'Beach Cities' exit. Take that and it drops you off on PCH. Go right a PCH and, I believe, the first stoplight and turn left and that will take you into Dana Point Harbor. (Thhere's plenty of signage and you shouldn't have any problem finding the harbor.)

La Jolla, to me is more of a 'Cosmopolitan' location where you have both the ocean and business offices and IMO, better restaurants than in Laguna Beach. Personally, I'd stay at the Grande Colonial Hotel over any hotel in Laguna. La Jolla also has the Museum fo Contemporary Art - San Diego which has a number of interesting exhibits each year and is a beautiful building in its' own right. . if you go there be sure to see the back side of the structure with its' beautiful views of the ocean and part of its' permanent collection outside, where it is ment to be and it is ment to 'age' with the weather.

I have a trip scheduled to La Jolla in a couple of weeks and I'm anxiously looking forward to it.

Just my opinion but, if you are gong to spend more than a couple of days at ' the beach' with the exception of Dolphin Safari, either Laguna or La Jolla, are great picks. OK, I know I didn't answer your question here but I thin both areas are great locations and you will have a great time no matter where you decide to stay.

Newport Beach, CA
posts: 1,931
reviews: 23
10. Re: La Jolla or Laguna?

Sorry, the link for Fashion Isand, if you're interested, is: www.shopfashioniland.com.