If you’ve lived in California for at least one full rotation around the sun, you’ve probably figured out that the best time of year to go to the beach is in the fall. All the summer tourists are gone: back home, or back to school. Uncrowded, pristine, and perfectly temperate beaches wait open for the couple of months the rest of the country calls autumn, while we bask in the sun (as I write this in mid-October, the temperature outside is in the high 70s). Even the water stays warm for those last few weeks drawing near to December; warm enough to play with the kiddos on a bodyboard or make sand castles while the afternoon sun wanes.
Truly, I suppose any day is a good day for the beach. Especially if you’re headed to The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. One of Southern California’s best-kept secrets, the beach town boasts that perfect blend of laid-back surfer chill with upscale beachfront luxury. “Local” refers to both diners and dishes, and any time one can end an 18-hole game of golf with a quick surf session is a good day in my book. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel lives for those days. In fact, with autumn being the best time of year to hit the beaches anyway, they’d like to invite you back to the shore for a staycation you’ll never forget.
Most beachfront hotels will boast “spectacular views” and “breathtaking scenery,” but the stunning views from the bluffs of Laguna define those claims. Emerald lawns and rugged sandstone fall away from the doors of the resort, diving off into the deep blue Pacific. First floor ocean-view rooms have their own fire pits, and the list of other amenities on site are enough to send one into the throes of relaxation even before stepping foot on property. Egyptian cotton sheets, a salon and spa boutique, sauna, wellness classes and yoga.
If your idea of relaxing comes with a little sweat first, their tennis courts, nearby Monarch Beach golf course, or Eco Adventure Center are just what you need to get the rush of endorphins pumping through your sun-soaked body. Inspiring guests with Southern California’s unique ecosystems, the Eco-Adventure Center is dedicated to showing off some of the area’s most spectacular natural wonders. Adults and children alike learn from experience in the local surroundings, which turn the beaches and crystalline ocean into living laboratories. Offering everything from Garden Tours for the little ones to a exploration of the resort’s Creative Kitchen, there’s something to light a little spark in all ages. One of the most popular activities for kids 9 and up is the beach bonzai boarding at Salt Creek. Our son and daughter (ages 10 and 9) learned how waves are created, studied the effects of rip currents, and discovered longshore drift. Then, of course, (under the watchful eye of their Eco-Adventure Guide Julian who went right into the water with them), they played in the surf, caught a series of waves and generally had a blast bodyboarding.
When the whole family has worked up an appetite at the end of a long day of adventures, relax into some of the finest fare the coast has to offer. Already known for fresh, innovative cuisine, simply by merit of its California locale, the Ritz-Carlton has something for everyone. From small bites to cocktails, to fast-casual and poolside dining, you’ll find your fill for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A taste of autumn may be all we get here in Southern California - a quick glimpse of the rare changing leaf here and there - the dewy mornings and cool evenings just enough to turn us from the beaches to warm sweaters and shoes instead of sandals. A taste of luxury is perhaps all we need to round the edges of summer and embrace a longer season of vacation - beachfront living by day, crisp evenings and the smell of firepits at night. All wait for you on the shores of Laguna Beach, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
The Ritz-Carlton is located at 1 Ritz Carlton Drive in Laguna Niguel. For information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com