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Hansen: The 10 most overrated things in Laguna Beach

August 22, 2013|By David Hansen
  • Rundown and lacking amenities, some of Laguna's beaches are simply eyesores.
Rundown and lacking amenities, some of Laguna's… (David Hansen )

If a city is cultured and broad-shouldered, it welcomes a little criticism. A savvy city knows that nothing should be taken for granted because life does not stand still.

Laguna Beach, however, has become complacent about some things. Flush with tourist dollars, or just because of prime location, a few businesses don't even try anymore.

Privately, locals tell their friends what places to avoid. But perhaps it's time to call out the sacred cows.

Here is my list of the 10 most overrated things in Laguna Beach. I realize people may vehemently disagree with these, but I guarantee you this: You have your own secret list, whether you admit it publicly or not.

Don't get me wrong. I love Laguna Beach. I live here and don't see myself leaving. But I just think we can do better.

10. Beach restaurants: There are three adjacent to Main Beach that are just awful. It boggles my mind that they survive. Everyone I know shuns them. Imagine how many tourists leave Laguna thinking: Great beaches, not-so-great food. It's our glaring culinary black eye.

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9. Main Beach and beach amenities: I never take my boys to Main Beach because I don't want them inhaling secondhand crack. I am deeply sympathetic to homeless issues but not to rampant drug use in broad daylight. So I go to other Laguna beaches (Pearl Street or Victoria Beach), but they have no restrooms. In fact, there are no real amenities to speak of. We are OK with that because we can walk home from the beach, but if we really expect world-class beach status, an occasional restroom might be nice.

8. Emerald Bay: A friend of mine asked, "Can't Newport just have them?" I have to agree. I'm over the long line of contractors trying to get in every morning, clogging Coast Highway. I'm over the whining. Unincorporated areas — Coto de Caza, Rossmoor, Ladera Ranch — are always annoying.

7. Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park access: What is up with the parking lots closing at 5 p.m.? A gate that closes automatically when cars leave after hours seems like such a simple thing.

6. Summer trolleys: I like the idea of the trolleys, but have you ever really tried to ride them in the summer? It's impossible. Forget trying to get to a movie downtown on time. Forget trying to make anything on time. They are stuck in traffic like everything else. You are better off walking.

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