What to Pack for ... Laguna Beach

Pack like a pro, with these insider tips.

1. Tried-and-true walking shoes. Use your feet to get the genuine feel of this tight-knit town's shopping district and beaches. Double-duty sole mates are in order for the slopes of Hortense Miller Garden with its Boat Canyon and Pacific vistas. Or, if you're lucky enough to be in this artful town on any first Thursday, sample the scene and scenics from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at some 40 galleries―most carrying very high-quality work.

2. Snorkeling/diving gear. The ecological reserve below Diver's Cove offers one of the most pristine marine environments on the SoCal coast. (Visit lagunaseasports.com for lots of dive details.)

3. Pooch and leash. Pets are welcome at the Manzanita Guest Cottages featured in September's Coastal Living. Dog Park on Laguna Canyon Road gives animals a field day, literally. (Don't forget to pack baggies for your pet's litter.)

4. Community spirit. Give a knowing pause by those statues outside Greeter's Restaurant and the Pottery Shack. They commemorate Eiler Larsen, an everyday citizen who for years stood at Forest Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway and personally welcomed visitors to Laguna Beach.

5. "Laguna Beach" DVD. Pop season one into the player in your vacation cottage and bone up on MTV's hot reality show filmed here and now entering its third season. Hooked? Stop by the Visitors and Conference Bureau at 252 Broadway for an "MTV Fact Sheet" pinpointing actual plot sites, such as Eva's Caribbean Kitchen, where Taylor and Talan had that memorable date.

6. The Laguna Playhouse tickets. Order in advance from lagunaplayhouse.com to lock in seats at this renowned live theater, which started in a local private living room in the 1920s. ( Poignant Sonia Flew runs from September 12 through October 15.)

7. A heart of gold. Stop into the Pacific Marine Mammal Center for an inspiring visit with creatures being nursed back to health by local veterinary and volunteer staff―and your donation will be greatly appreciated.

8. A big blank check. If ever you are in the perfect place to make the art purchase of a lifetime, it's here.

For more travel tips, visit Lagunabeachinfo.org.

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