Hansen: How to survive Laguna tourists

June 10, 2011|By David Hansen

It is that singular, frenetic time of year, right before the summer tourists, when Laguna Beach residents resemble squirrels stocking up for winter.

We are excited for summer on the one hand, yet we are bracing ourselves for the onslaught.

We freely admit that it's a bittersweet feeling of embrace and frustration. We realize the downtown is starting its tense, random congestion, and so we hurry to shop and visit friends.

We cope by remembering our little shortcuts to avoid the crowds. We have "secret" parking spots and stores where we know the owners will feed the meter, if needed.


We have "our" restaurants and "our" barstools, which soon will be taken by someone with a sunburn.

So in this spirit, here is a top 10 list of free advice — because we are, in the end, friendly — about how to navigate Laguna in the summer.

10. Purchase a cloaked all-terrain vehicle: The next time you are parked in Laguna Canyon traffic, stop by Jeeps R Us and ask for the "cloaked all-terrain vehicle." It's not on the regular menu, but it will allow you to drive undetected over the wilderness area. Prices are seasonal, so be prepared for sticker shock, but it's worth it.

9. Look for the secret mountain tunnels: Unfortunately, in a recent raid on a homeless encampment in the canyon, Laguna Beach police discovered and closed the secret Euro-Canyon tunnel that served as a brilliant bypass to Aliso Viejo and conveniently let you out near Opah on Pacific Park Drive. There are other tunnels rumored near Crystal Cove and Aliso Creek, but I've been told not to report them for my own safety.

8. Learn how to drive a Panga: On good authority, the stand-up paddleboard shops are starting to rent the abandoned Panga boats that are washing up on our shores from the illegal immigrants. These sturdy skiffs are quite effective at circumnavigating Coast Highway traffic, enabling you to drop off at several hotspots like Javier's, Newport Harbor or Dana Point with no parking issues.

7. Buy a helicopter: Can't get in at the Rooftop? Just land your helicopter. It's very effective at opening up a table.

6. Take a vacation: There are some people — perhaps those who fly helicopters — who avoid the traffic issue altogether by taking an extended summer vacation. To me, that's cheating, but if you can do it, great.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles