We’re going to start out being real: Laguna Beach is many things, but it is in no way, shape, or form an affordable place to live. The city regularly ranks as having one of the highest costs of living in Orange County, the state, and the nation. I mean, you’re living in paradise, so you have to expect to pay paradise prices. A “cheap apartment” in this city could probably buy you a decent-sized Midwestern town.
Another gripe that Laguna Beach residents tend to have is that traffic is a nightmare. Because mountains and ocean enclose the area, there aren’t many roads into and out of town. During the summer tourist season, both traffic and parking near the beaches and downtown commercial area is a straight up nightmare.
Without exception, pretty much every neighborhood in Laguna Beach is safe and desirable. You basically just need to decide which side of paradise you prefer. Ask yourself questions like, “Do I want to be able to walk to shopping and the beach,” or, “Would I prefer a quiet mountainside community with amazing views?” We know. These are such tough questions to answer!
Let’s start in north Laguna and make our way down. Beachside north Laguna tends to be quieter than the adjacent region, as there are lots of settled families in this area. Here you can find apartments, and occasionally, houses for rent.
Moving south along the beach you’ll hit the city center, Laguna Village, and the Top of the World. Many younger and newer Laguna Beach residents will settle in the Laguna Village area, as it puts them closer to the shops and attractions of the city center. There are tons of upscale apartment complexes with everything from studio apartments to two bedrooms, frequently offering amenities such as a gym, swimming pool, and clubhouse. At the Top of the World, you'll find a neighborhood that's far more settled and family oriented.
South Laguna Beach is a pleasant gay enclave that bleeds into several beachside and mountaintop gated communities. Here, you’ll find some very expensive posh rentals.
Regardless of where you decide to settle, you’re going to find an amazing rental. Apartments and houses for rent are so varied throughout all the neighborhoods that prices aren’t really standardized. Occasionally, you can find a small bungalow rented for $1,900 with a $5,000 rental just next door. However, because of the large tourist population, you can frequently secure a short-term lease with ease.
Pet friendly rentals are hit or miss. Many apartment complexes have weight limitations, so if you’re relocating with a four-legged friend allow yourself plenty of time to find an apartment.
These small hassles aside, congratulations are in order. Enjoy all that Laguna Beach has to offer!