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7 Secret Spots For Instagrammable Photos In Laguna Beach, CA

By: Christopher Todd

Award-winning Orange County photographer specializing in people with 20+ years of experience

7 SECRET SPOTS FOR INSTAGRAMMABLE PHOTOS IN LAGUNA BEACH, CA

By: Christopher Todd

In this article, I’ll show you some secret and not-so-secret spots for unique snapshots in Laguna Beach, CA.

Table Of Contents
    laguna beach bluff pathway on a clear blue sky day

    Laguna Beach Is An Amazing Backdrop For Portraits

    Nestled along the rocky coastline of Orange County California, Laguna Beach is a gorgeous destination, enchanting visitors with its breathtaking natural beauty and undeniable charm. Renowned for its pristine beaches, azure waters, and dramatic cliffside vistas, this coastal gem offers anyone an idyllic backdrop for some unforgettable portraits if you know where to go.  There are also some incredible  beaches for photos in Laguna Beach in addition to my instagrammable spots.

    As a longtime Laguna Beach photographer I'm excited to share some of my local knowledge, and secret spots so your next photo safari to Laguna Beach, CA is epic!

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    Looking for a local photographer to help plan & capture your photos?

    We would be excited to help you with any family portraits, surprise marriage proposals, or any other photography in Laguna Beach.

    #1 The Painted Stairs

    Laguna Beach The Painted Stairs Photo Location

    A photo spot that's easy to miss

    The painted stairs are a lesser-known location for fun photos in Laguna Beach. They are a bit one-dimensional from a photographic standpoint, however, they are definitely worth a visit.  Also one of the steepest roads I've ever driven down.  Local Kids like to slide down the hill on metal trash can lids.

    What I like:

    I love the bright colors of the stairs. They get repainted periodically with different designs from local artists. so you never know exactly what you're going to get when you arrive.

    Best for:

    Fitness-themed types that want to work out while snapping fun photos.

    Map to painted stairs DIRECTIONS

    Parking:  Metered street parking on Third Street or Mermaid Street.

    Crowd factor: There are always people walking in this area or doing workouts on the stairs. Patience is required.

    Best time of day for photos: I like early morning before the sun gets over the hill. Afternoons are less evenly lit and tend to be windy.

    Portrait On The Painted Stairs Laguna Beach women sitting on stairs

    Directions To The Painted Stairs

    #2 The Colette Wings

    Collette Wings Photo At Slice Pizza Laguna Beach Ca women standing between the wings

    Litterally Behind Slice Pizza

    The Collete Wings are also a little off the beaten track from Main Beach in Laguna. The wings are painted on the back wall of Slice Pizza facing Forest Avenue.

    What I like:

    I like the vivid colors of the wings. The Wings are almost always in beautiful shaded light. Easy to take great photos at this location.

    Best for:

    Photos of individuals.

    Directions to the Colette Wings

    Parking:  Metered street parking on Forest Ave. or 3rd Street.

    Crowd factor: Pretty mellow traffic except at lunchtime when Slice is busy.

    Best time of day to go: Afternoons are best for lighting

    Collette Wings Laguna women taking portrait

    Directions To The Colette Wings

    #3 The Old Phonebooth

    A Cheeky Laguna Beach Landmark

    The old phone booth, a transplant from the United Kingdom has become a part of Laguna Beach lore. For many years, it was red, just like the old phone booths in London. However, in the recent past, it decided to change color.  Perhaps blue was better suited for a seaside town in Orange County?  No matter the color the old phone booth is a fun spot for a memorable photo.

    What I like:

    I like how the phone booth is always being updated with a local artist's vision.

    Best for:

    Art lovers

    Map To Ye Olde Phone Booth

    Parking:  Metered street parking on Forest Ave, Or Beach St. There is free parking in the alley behind Hobie Surf Shop.

    Crowd factor: This area is always busy. So be patient.

    Best time of day to go: I like the light in late afternoons.

    The Old Photobooth Laguna Beach Ca women leaning on booth for portrait instagrammable spot
    The History Of The Old Phonebooth In Laguna Beach

    Directions To The Old Photobooth

    #4 The Wyland Gallery

    Wyland Mural Laguna Beach women posing in front of mural

    A Laguna Style Mural

    The Wyland dolphin mural always catches my eye when driving south on PCH through Laguna Beach. No wonder it's a popular spot for photos. There is also a huge mural with whales on the opposite side of the building. It's usually a tough shot to get because of cars in the parking lot. 

    What I like:

    There's something about the Dolphin's smiles that makes me laugh when I see a photo of somebody in front of the mural. The deep blue. colors always pop in your pics.

    Best for:

    Easy. It's always an easy photo to capture. The direction the building is facing is almost always in beautiful light. So you won't be squinting in the sun no matter the time of day.

    Map to Wyland Gallery Laguna Beach

    Parking: Metered Parking anywhere you can find a spot on PCH nearby. Also a pay structure on Glenneyre.

    Crowd factor: Usually Empty early in the day. Except in Summer. Busy in the afternoon most days.

    The best time of day to go: Late afternoon is my favorite time.

    Wyland Gallery Laguna Beach Ca

    Directions To Wyland Gallery Mural

    #5 Brown's Park

    Browns Park Laguna Beach Ca bronze sculpture with writing

    A Secret Strip

    Browns Park is one of those places you miss very easily. Located right in the heart of Laguna you can drive by it in half a second and totally miss it.

    What I like:

    The view from Browns Park is nothing less than spectacular. Go and you will see.

    Best for:

    Anyone who appreciates natural beauty.

    Map to Brown's Park

    Parking:  Metered Parking on PCH. If you Can't find a spot head to the parking structure on Glenneyre Structure. 501 Glenneyre St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    Crowd factor: Usually a handful of people visiting for a quick view.

    Best time of day to go: Best photos in the morning hours but the most stunning view at sunset.

    PRO TIP: Go for a sunset shoot right after the sun sets. Bring a light to balance the light on your face with the colorful sky.

    Browns Park History

    Directions To Brown's Park

    #6 The Main Beach Lifeguard Tower

    Main Beach Lifeghuard Tower Laguna Beach women standing in front of tower

    Ground zero for Laguna Beach Tourism

    The main beach lifeguard Tower is a cherished piece of Laguna Beach history. 

    What I like:

    There aren't many historical landmarks in Orange County. It's cool to see this piece of history popping up all over Instagram.

    Best for:

    People watchers, or someone who doesn't mind crowds.  It's always busy on Main Beach.

    Map to Main Beach Lifeguard Tower

    Parking:  Metered Parking on PCH. If you Can't find a spot head to the parking structure on Glenneyre Structure. 501 Glenneyre St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    Crowd factor: Summer is nuts. It can be tough to get a clean photo without other visitors. 

    Best time of day to go: Early morning. Usually empty and beautiful lighting.

    Browns Park History

    Directions To Main Beach Lifeguard Tower

    #7 The Sea Snake Bus Stop

    Artsy Bus Stop Laguna Beach Ca women sitting at bus stop

    Sawdust Festival Bus Stops

    There are a couple of crazy bus stops like nothing you have ever seen near the Sawdust Festival entrance. 

    What I like:

    I love the whimsical vibes from this location.

    Best for:

    Someone looking for a very unique photo opportunity.

    Map to SawDust Festival Bus Stop

    Parking:  Metered parking on Laguna Canyon Road. Typically it's easy to find a spot unless it's a busy weekend or Pageant of the masters is happening.

    Crowd factor: Minimal most of the time.

    Best time of day to go: Late afternoon has the best light in Laguna Canyon.

    PRO TIP: Stay away from the traffic jam that is this part of Laguna Beach on any beautiful weekend day between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

    Saw Dust Festival Bus Stops Art Wave

    Directions To The Sea Snake Bus Stop

    Bonus Laguna Tip

    Gelato Flavors Laguna

    Gelato Paradiso

    It's always tough for me to make it out of Laguna without stopping at Gelato Paradiso for a treat. If you have made your way all over Laguna Beach to my 7 Secret Spots, you should treat yourself to Laguna's best gelato.

    What I like:

    The gelato is phenomenal. They also have a ridiculous amount of options. Pistachio is my favorite.

    Best for:

    Someone who can't live without sweets.  I get you.

    Map to Gelato Paradiso

    Parking: Metered Parking on PCH. If you Can't find a spot head to the parking structure on Glenneyre Structure is right behind the Gelatoria. 501 Glenneyre St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

    Crowd factor: Usually a line but it moves pretty quickly.  Worth the wait.

    Best time of day to go: Anytime

    PRO TIP: Waffle Cone 🍦

    Gelato Paradiso Lagina Beach

    Directions To Gelato Paradiso

    Travel Tip In Laguna Beach

    Many of my secret, or not-so-secret photo locations in Laguna Beach are really close together. I advise parking in the centrally located structure on Glenneyre and walking from location to location for the easiest experience.  You will also get some exercise and will probably wander upon something cool on your adventure.

    I hope you enjoyed this guide and have a fun experience checking out some of the lesser-known locations in Laguna Beach.

    ONE LAST THING

    If you visit Laguna Beach as often as I do, having the Laguna Beach Parking App for paying any of the meters in LB is handy.

    The app is called Laguna Beach Parking. You can find it in the Apple App Store below 👇

    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/laguna-beach-parking/id1468436631

    Meet The Author & Photographer

    Call Me Chris

    Thanks for checking out my kinda secret photo locations in Laguna Beach. As you can tell I'm excited to share my discoveries having photographed LOTS of people all over Laguna. I hope you can plan something fun with these tips.

    Male photographer holding camera.

    Meet The Author & Photographer

    Male photographer holding camera.

    Call Me Chris

    Thanks for checking out my kinda secret photo locations in Laguna Beach. As you can tell I'm excited to share my discoveries having photographed LOTS of people all over Laguna. I hope you can plan something fun with these tips.

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