10.11.2013

So Cal Part 2: Laguna & Newport Beach


Now that I've discussed all about San Diego, it's time to drive the PCH  recap our time spent in the one and only, Orange County!

If we are being brutally honest here-Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Huntington never really jumped out on a map to me until a. The Hills and b. Real Housewives of Orange County (#truth). I mean, I always figured they were really nice, but once I saw these shows it was like a whole new world that I just HAD to go see. Then, naturally I would become bff's with LC, talk insurance with Vicki Gunvalson, go shopping with Gretchen Rossi, and drink champs on some massive yacht with Heather Dubrow. Because all of those would surely happen if I, Katie Krysh, visited the OC...

Sadly enough, none of those happened, except I did eat brunch right in the same complex that Terry Dubrow's office is at, and I did manage to stalk find Lauren Conrad's house that she grew up in. Do these count? Let's just say yes.

Not having visited the area before, I will say that Laguna was not what we pictured in our heads. You know how you have a certain "vision" of what a city will be like, but in reality when you go, it's not that at all? This isn't meant in a bad way because Laguna is SO nice, but it just isn't what we pictured it to be. Billy described it best when he said that we thought it would have been a lot more commercialized than it is.


The beach is stunning. No questions there. The water is so blue...we couldn't believe how blue it was, and the sand is so soft. The downtown area is filled with high end shops (everything you could possibly want!) that resemble old, beautiful cottages, and all the houses are all set in the hills. So, I guess the name MTV came up with was in fact fitting...


We explored all of downtown then went and had drinks at The Deck. This place is awesome, right on the beach, and a must if you visit here. The lunch wait was long, so we took a short walk (all the restaurants are pretty much on one road so it's easy to get around) to The Cliff to get lunch. Our view from our table was HEAVENLY....


I could definitely have sat there for like a week. We also walked up to Las Brisas (a hotel and restaurant) to walk around the back and see the views. This is a great seafood restaurant in the area that I recommend.


Did I mention yet how much money is in the Orange County area? It is unbelieveable.

Here we are driving around in our Ford Fiesta rental car being surrounded by Ferrari's and Rolls Royce's. We had a good laugh about this!


The homes? They are those ones you see on TV and dream about. Since Billy and I love to drive through rich suburbs/neighborhoods, after some internet stalking we made it past the gate (thank you young sir who checked my ID and let us pass-hope you aren't fired today) up to where all the million dollar homes are and caught a glimpse of what I'm told is Lauren Conrad's parents old house.
 

See this house at the tip top on the right? That's the house that we were told, and saw online, that was hers growing up...
{in this pic it's at the very top right}

If you see gated communities, or signs that say "Dead End" or maybe even "Private Road" but I didn't tell you to do this, chances are you should pull your car over and try and get up them because they have the best views. For example, we randomly took a turn up a street that allowed us to see almost all of Laguna from the very top...


We spent all day in Laguna, but after recommendations from Natasha (remember how I met her in Lake Tahoe last year?!), we decided to stay the night in Newport Beach. Laguna was really cool, but is kind of a sleepy town at night, and Newport has much more going on (in my opinion). 

Our resort that we stayed at in Newport Beach, Balboa Bay Resort, was one of the nicest places I've ever stayed and what were the chances that Natasha was staying at the exact same resort for her best friends wedding on the same weekend?! We didn't plan that, but it was just an added bonus to be able to see her as well!

I originally booked this resort as a surprise to Billy because it is on the water and has million dollar  yachts right in the back (both of which are Billy's favorite things). I knew he would LOVE it. I never imagined it would be as nice as it was, though. Balboa Bay Club is a 4-Diamond Resort and the only full-service waterfront property on the coast in Newport Beach. It has a beach, two pools, and bar right in the back with amazing views. You can even rent duffy boats, kayaks, and paddle boards from here and spend the day out in the water.

{that ceremony? same wedding Natasha was in!}

We are pretty much obsessed with Newport now. It is such a ritzy area....everyone is gorgeous (we felt somewhat out of place, haha), all of the buildings are super nice, and of course it has Balboa Island which is so cute and fun to explore. A must when visiting Newport.


Our resort set up anniversary chocolates and balloons for us when we arrived and our balcony had this amazing view of huge homes and some of the water.


When you are on Balboa, take a walk around to look at all the beautiful homes and also you must stop at Dad's to get a frozen banana (and a bar if you want options)... SO good!


The next morning, we got up early to drive through an area Natasha recommend to us, up Kings Road, that gave us THESE views...


Talk about some of the nicest homes I've seen and just an overall amazing place to see and visit. We fell in love with this area and are already talking about planning a trip back. Of course. :)

We were lucky enough to grab brunch before we headed out at a cute place called Haute Cakes with Natasha, her husband Ryan, and two of her best girlfriends. It was so nice being able to catch up with them and meet some of her friends-they were so sweet and our brunch was delicious!



When we left Newport, we decided to stop at Huntington Beach briefly (which is on the way to Malibu/LA) to see the area and to get some shopping in!


Then, we were on our way again to drive the PCH to Malibu (took us about 2-2 1/2 hours). You definitely don't hate being in a car so much when the views out your window are this:


Now you can see why I love driving the coast so much, right?

Stay tuned for the last part, covering Malibu and LA!

Happy weekend and PLEASE add Newport to your travel list,

{be sure to enter my Gallo giveaway and Zappos giveaway if you haven't yet! Both have $100 gift cards up for grabs!! (For those who are 21+!) #ad}

28 comments

  1. this post makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, I LOVE Laguna. It's so peaceful. My boyfriend and I go a couple times a year just to get out of the crazy of LA. But I've never been up in the hills, those pictures of your views are AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS.

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  2. Wow! Your pictures on this trip is out of this world! Just gorgeous!

    Makes me want to do the exact same trip.

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  3. Love reading these recaps!! After spending time in northern CA and loving it, I definitely want to go back and explore southern CA, especially San Diego!

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  4. Love that you stalked LC's house! All of your pictures are beautiful and I definitely need a visit now ;)

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  5. Your review of Newport put me right into The O.C. where were the Cohens and the Coopers? :-P

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    1. haha I was thinking the same thing!!! I'm a little obsessed...ok A LOT obessed with The O.C. and since then I've wanted to go to Newport!!! Very beautiful pictures Katie!! :)

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  6. Ahh!! I love it all!!! I would definitely stalk celebs too when we go to Cali!! HAHA! Aaaand I'll be hitting you up for some help when planning said trip! HAHA!

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  7. Katie, your pictures are just amazing! I would totally love to do this same trip some day! I LOVE that you guys like driving around looking at expensive/celebrity houses - we love to do the same thing! I would also totally stalk anything Real Housewives or Laguna Beach while I was there, too! :)

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  8. Bahaha! Love your housewife references...cause that would be my dream visit too ;) Love the Newport/Laguna area! I have family in Newport so any chance for a visit...I am there ;) Glad you guys had a great time in Cali..the photos are gorg!

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  9. Love that you went to LC's house. It always looked so incredible on the show. And crazy fun how you were there the same day Natasha was in the wedding! How fun!

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  10. Ahhhh California life just seems so chillaxing. The Cliff looks absolutely AMAZING!! Love that pic of you with the brewski.

    LC's house!! as in the one we used to see in Laguna Beach/The Hills?! AHH i absolutely looooooove driving through rich areas and neighborhoods too to see how those people live..its so extravagant!

    cannot believe those yachts are literally RIGHT THERE at teh beach edge. Breathtaking!!!

    i just cant imagine living here...everything is so perfect and wonderful...the views...the shops, cars, stores...its like TV shows becoming a reality!! Id spend like 3 days staking out celeb homes LOl

    cant wait for more!!

    xoxoxo love you muffin

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  11. Your pictures look so gorgeous!

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  12. AHHH the pictures just keep getting better :)

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  13. Wow, these pictures are incredible! I seriously want to book a trip to SoCal immediately! Also, that's so fun you got to see Natasha--I miss her since moving out of Tahoe! xoxo

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  14. I officially want to go to newport! as if I didn't already want to visit the land of Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa haha (I spent most of high school obsessed with the OC)

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  15. I live in Ladera Ranch (about 20 minutes inland of Laguna and 30 minutes south of Newport), and have been born and raised in the OC. Seeing all your photos made me so happy :)

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  16. AHHH this is such a fun post {especially since I'm mentioned in it multiple times, natch!}. SO glad you loved where you stayed and got to see so many great places...Dad's is the best! We went to SOL for lunch later in the day on Sunday and I thought of you with the oversized chips. Yum!! So glad we got to get together. I just chatted with Colleen last night and she just loved meeting you both. We were both out of it {over-served from the night before...oops!}. So the question is...where are we going to meet up NEXT year?!?!?! xo

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  17. all I could think about was The OC while reading about Newport! Such gorgeous homes & pictures! I too love to drive around and look at houses and views.

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  18. You mentioned that Laguna isn't very commercialized. My parents good friends have lived in Laguna for almost 30 years and the husband was the city planner for 20 of them. They purposely didn't want it to be commercialized to keep the small town feel. About 5 years ago before moving to LA my husband and I came to visit them and I was like a kid in the candy store listening to them tell me all about the show Laguna Beach. Their girls grew up with all the kids on the show.

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  19. I'm sure you've mentioned this before but what camera do you have that you're taking the pics with?

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    1. I use a Canon Rebel t3i and love it. Thank you!

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  20. Laguna/Newport is probably my favorite area in SoCal! Makes me miss living near there!!! And you're right, my husband and I drove up PCH halfway up the coast, and the views never get old!

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  21. I've always wanted to visit Laguna after watching the show! Those houses are GORGEOUS!!

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  22. Love your pictures. I LOVED Laguna. It was one of my favorites. We walked around the high school where The Hills stars went to school and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I also went into that Starbucks in your pics to potty and get a hot cocoa! LOL, it was July too!

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  23. Great pictures! Everything is so beautiful! And love Balboa Island, it's so cute, especially all the cute homes!

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  24. Okay, I think you've sold me. I'm totally calling up my uncle-in-law about his place in Newport for vacay. You're more than welcome to join :)

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  25. Orange County is pretty much my favorite place ever. Laguna is so heavenly and that is definitely LC's house. When I lived there I stalked it on the regular. Such a good find!

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  26. Laguna is an extremely small town, but everyone thinks it's huge. It's artsy, has a large gay community and is full of locals everywhere. Glad you ended up in Newport, since that's more your style! Also, since you stalked Lauren, I thought you might think it's cool that I went to high school with her new fiance and my best friend (who also went to my high school) dated him when we were about 23 or 24. He's the sweetest guy! :)

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