Pack like a pro, with these insider tips.

By Susan Haynes
August 24, 2006

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

2. Snorkeling/diving gear. The ecological reserve belowDiver's Cove offers one of the most pristine marine environments onthe SoCal coast. (Visit forlots of dive details.)

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

4. Community spirit. Give a knowing pause by those statuesoutside Greeter's Restaurant and the Pottery Shack. Theycommemorate Eiler Larsen, an everyday citizen who for years stoodat Forest Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway and personally welcomedvisitors to Laguna Beach.

5. "Laguna Beach" DVD. Pop season one into the player inyour vacation cottage and bone up on MTV's hot reality show filmedhere and now entering its third season. Hooked? Stop by theVisitors and Conference Bureau at 252 Broadway for an "MTV FactSheet" pinpointing actual plot sites, such as Eva's CaribbeanKitchen, where Taylor and Talan had that memorable date.

6. The Laguna Playhouse tickets. Order in advance from to lock in seatsat this renowned live theater, which started in a local privateliving room in the 1920s. (Poignant Sonia Flew runs from September 12 through October15.)

7. A heart of gold. Stop into the Pacific Marine MammalCenter for an inspiring visit with creatures being nursed back tohealth by local veterinary and volunteer staff―and yourdonation will be greatly appreciated.

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

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