What Is Nicer: Laguna Beach Or Newport Beach?

Laguna Beach and Newport Beach stand out as high-end, naturally-rich areas that attract thousands of tourists annually. I, too, have enjoyed frequenting both beaches and found them alluring, vibrant, and exciting! You might feel a little indecisive, so which is nicer, Laguna Beach or Newport Beach?

Laguna Beach has a slower pace with a Bohemian inspiration and art-rich culture. It has more natural beauty but fewer opportunities for shopping and nightlife. Newport Beach has an active nightlife and more options for shopping. Leaving Newport is easier because there are more nearby airports.

Deciding on a beach can sometimes be challenging, especially when multiple opinions are in the works. Let’s simplify that by exploring what you can do at Laguna Beach and Newport beach – the places, activities, and people – and how the geographical location can impact your experience in both areas.

Laguna Beach Vs. Newport Beach

So, you have your heart set on traveling or living in either Laguna Beach or Newsport, but indecisiveness has the better of you? In truth, neither one is inherently unlikeable, but there’s no denying that they have apparent differences that make them distinctive from each other. Laguna Beach offers a small-town feel, while Newport Beach feels large and in charge.

What Type Of Culture Can You Expect At Laguna Beach?

Since its inception, Laguna Beach has boasted an artistic culture accompanied by a Bohemian vibe. It’s home to various festivals, including the Festival of Arts, Pageant of The Masters, Art-A-Fair, and Sawdust Art & Craft Festival. You can also expect to see many tourists that frequent the area.

The festivals are perfect for finding unusual and cheap works of art for your home or business. You can also expect art seminars, various food options, nightly musical entertainment, guided art tours, and even hands-on demonstrations.

Feel like a little live music? The jazz performances go well with a bit of wine and chocolate pairings,  and maybe after you’ve had your fill, you can observe one of the ongoing art debates. Furthermore, there are activities for children, among other art-related attractions and events.

Laguna Beach also boasts many restaurants and retail shops of every caliber and various hotels and resorts ranging from inexpensive to five-star royalty. Its small-town feel and slower pace also mean that the age demographic may be a little older than Newport Beach.

The residents are open-thinkers, meaning you can expect people from different religions, races,  genders, lifestyles, backgrounds, etc. Since there are numerous small homes, it also leaves room for more economic diversity. People are generally less showy about wealth, and shopping opportunities are not as plentiful due to Laguna Beach’s size and geographical location.

What Type Of Culture Can You Expect At Newport Beach?

Newport Beach is about comforts, lifestyle, and everything fancy! Since it has about three times as many people as Laguna Beach, plus its nearby most other cities, Newport Beach boasts a much more active nightlife. Consequently, the age demographic is also a little younger than Laguna Beach.

Its closer to work for most people, and it has a myriad of shopping opportunities, amenities, and several airports that make it ideal for hopping to a different city. Although the beaches and harbor do not carry the same natural beauty as Laguna Beach, there are many more places to explore.

Homes are also much more extensive than in Laguna Beach, but they are also more expensive. Former residents state that living there can mean keeping up with the Jones, meaning you can expect a lot of expensive avarice, many skilled plastic surgeons, and luxurious German and Italian sports cars! Furthermore, you can also expect fewer tourists and heavier traffic.

Although fewer tourists frequent Newport Beach, Lido Island, Balboa Island, and certain sections can become pretty busy, resulting in substantial amounts of money flowing through those areas.

For entertainment, The Wedge is home to trendy bars and restaurants with mouthwatering foods, plus you can visit the Balboa Fun Zone amusement park if you’re looking for a place to take the kids for a day of fun! The Wedge is also a fantastic destination for surfing enthusiasts! It boasts some of the meanest waves during certain months of the year.

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Laguna Beach And Newport Beach Geographical Locations

Laguna Beach has a population of between 22,000 and 23,000. Traffic is generally bad for both Laguna and Newport, especially in summer. Laguna Beach suffers from accessibility by only having two entry points: the Coast Highway (SR-1) and Laguna Canyon Road (SR-133). The SR-133 traffic running into the city can be awful up past the 73 on a warm summer weekend day.

Consequently, the lack of multiple access points to Laguna Beach can make it challenging to navigate in the summer. Furthermore, it won’t be easy to find parking unless you travel early in the morning.

Laguna Beach is a beautiful place to visit, but its location and lack of transportation possibilities make it difficult if you want to leave town. You’re not that close to SNA (Santa Ana) and especially far from LAX (LA International Airport).

You’re much too far from Los Angeles to go on a spontaneous museum or concert visit. In truth, there are not many opportunities around until you get up to the Spectrum area.

Despite Laguna’s accessibility woes, access to the Peninsula in Newport is no joke in the summer either. Newport Beach is much larger than Laguna, boasting a population between 82,000 – 83,000. Its proximity to Cosa Mesa, Santa Ana, Irvine, and John Wayne Airport makes it more commercially orientated.

Newport is typically closer to the 55 route and the 405 community opportunity zone, plus you’re pretty close to South Coast Plaza, UCI, and SNA. You’ll also have relatively easy access to the Crystal Cove State Park and Beach. It’s also much easier to visit islands like Corona Del Mar.


Laguna Beach is an excellent choice if you want something a little slower to fully immerse yourself in a lazy beach experience while still enjoying the benefits of restaurants and local events. Newport Beach will be your ideal pick for something a bit more fast-paced, focusing on nightlife, modern amenities, and the accessibility to leave town quickly.