Laguna Beach

One of staycationscalifornia’s favorite places is Laguna Beach.

Laguna sits between Newport Beach and Dana Point in Orange County , California. This small community with a population of about 25,000 as of 2010 features pristine beaches, shops, galleries,  and coves.

Laguna Street signBoard walk low
There are parts of Laguna Beach’s coastline that rival Hawaii with the palm trees and crystal blue water.  In fact in all of the places I have visited in California,  I think it is the closest thing to Hawaii as far as scenery.

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Ocean Beach


Umbrellas
Staycationscalifornia loves piers. I think that is evident on our many features on piers.

Where else can you stroll  and view the coast while atop the ocean.

It’s a  place you can kick back, people watch, fish, stroll, or just take photos.

Our newest excursion was the Ocean Beach pier in Ocean Beach California. Located about 7 miles northwest of downtown San Diego, The town of Ocean Beach is not only known for its pier but also its wide span of beach that is perfect for surfing, sun bathing, swimming or other beach type activities.
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Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals

A little known area in the Long Beach area is the Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals.  This happens to be one of my favorite places in Southern California.

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Nestled a couple miles from Long Beach, the Naples canals are unlike the  Venice canals in Los Angeles County, mostly because they are wider and deeper.    This means that more small to medium boats can travel in the canals.

Built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay, most of the streets on the island and around the vicinity, have Italian names. The center of Naples features a large fountain appropriately called La Bella, which serves as a popular meeting spot.

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During the holidays the canals are  ablaze with color as the colored lights reflect on the water.  A good portion of the homes decorate and there are pathways and small bridges to stroll along.

Gondolas float by and if you are lucky you can hear the sweet voice of a Gondolier singing Italian songs. All of this adding to an already beautiful place.

There are only a few places in California where you can take a Gondola ride and this one of the few. Check this link: http://www.gondolagetawayinc.com.

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I looked around for any “For Sale” signs and I saw not a one.   I mean, why would you want to leave!

It is so peaceful and tranquil among the canals.   A few residents were sitting on their porch enjoying a cocktail at sunset and I felt like yelling to them on how lucky there are.  I held back, as my jealousy was oozing a little too much.

Nearby on this early December day,  the channels of Alamitos Bay  had  Christmas Tree barges  lined up every  50 feet or so.  This is a great tradition and made the bay look so magical.

Situated near Long Beach, Alamitos Bay is a great place to visit regardless if it is the holidays or summer.  It is a short hop from Long Beach’s popular attractions like the the Queen Mary, the Long Beach Aquarium, and the Pike.

The locals favorite, Second Street near the Coast Highway provides plenty of shopping and restaurants.

You can also rent  boats, fish, swim, kayak, and all sorts of fun stuff.

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The Christmas trees in the day along the Alamitos Bay.

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The city of Long Beach with its modern and historical buildings is only a few minutes away.

Here is a link for things to do in that area including Long Beach: http://www.doitinlongbeach.com/attractions/naples-island.htm

 

All you have to do is get there!!

Parting shots: More Alamitos Bay:

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A Day at the Bay

Sometimes Stacycations just means taking a short drive and just relaxing, people watching, picnic, whatever. On this day we headed out to do some fishing in San Diego.  We found a fishing dock on the bay and sat back and waited for the thousands of fish to hit our bait. Thousands were more like 5, but at least on the San Diego bay you have plenty to watch as you patiently wait for the next nibble or strike.

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Dock-JoJo

A few of our staycation buddies don’t fish so this was the perfect place to sit back, hang, and enjoy the view. We packed a lunch and munchies and just chilled out. Unfortunately chilled out has more than one meaning as it was very cold out on this April day in California.

The cold ocean breeze hit us like a brick  it didn’t help that the sun was trapped behind gray skies. The sun  finally showed her face around 3:00 pm and the thawing out process began. I also think that we don’t know how to dress in California. We always think it is going to be warm but in this case a t-shirt and shorts weren’t cutting it.

Planes, trains, and automobiles.
Well actually make that planes, boats, and ships. Every type of boat or ship made its way past us during our 5 hour stay.   There were sailboats of every size, kite surfing, tourist boats, speed boats, navy boats, and giant ships.  A huge airplane got our attention as it was flying very low on its way to the nearby naval base.

Dock-Ship
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The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

It is that time of the year for a Sunday Drive!!!

Here is a good one!


The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve is quite the tongue twister but what the locals call it today and I what I called it when I was a kid is simply, the Back Bay.

Many, many years ago it was designated as an area for speed boats and water skiing.  It was far away from the mansions and homes in the main bay so the noise and wakes never affected any residents.

Back then, I remember seeing my first water-skier riding high behind the boat, holding on to the rope as if for dear life.    I couldn’t figure out how they stayed up without sinking.   I guess I was too young to understand physics.  Still it was fun to watch as this part of the bay was filled with life.

Today, the drone of speedboat motors is long gone only to be replaced by the much quieter kayaks, stand up paddleboards , and outriggers.


The quietude is interrupted once in awhile when a low flying airline from John Wayne Airport takes off to who knows where.  I was thinking what a bummer that these million dollar homes are right under a flight path.

Have Kayak will Travel
The Upper Newport Bay is a coastal wetland that encompasses 1,000 acres of small water-ways, a larger channel, reeds, and marsh.  It is also home to hundreds of different species of birds.


A bird flies by with the Newport Aquatic Center in the background

On land, there is a ten mile loop for joggers, bicyclists, hikers, roller bladders, and for about 3 miles of it motor cars can join in on the road.  On water, there are plenty of nooks and crannies for you to explore via kayak or SUP.  If you don’t have your own, across the bay the Newport Aquatic Center has plenty of rentals.

Continue reading “The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve”