Sometimes going green can be the most economical and environmental option. Margot Black and her family set out to try a green version of the summer road trip, traveling on just one tank of gas between Los Angeles to Laguna Beach, where they found a hotel and town committed to environmentally sustainable practices.
Los Angeles is the place to pursue your dreams, but it’s also a really good place to escape from when you have the opportunity – and that’s because California offers so much more than the Hollywood sign.
Sandwiched between the desert and the ocean, there are many nearby options if you’re looking for a short and break.
We decided to limit ourselves to one tank of gas and chose Laguna Beach. It’s the second oldest city in Orange Country, after Anaheim, and located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. With 7 miles of sandy beach, it’s a favorite for surfers and sun worshippers. There’s also an art museum, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Playhouse and some fabulous shopping and dining. And while it’s not the cheapest of towns, what you save on gas can be put towards the cost of your stay.
The beauty of keeping your gas mileage low is that it’s not only good for your wallet but also for the environment. Our 70-mile mile drive took around 2 hours via the I-5 freeway, and consumed approximately half a tank of gas. We arrived at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, ready to relax for three days. It made a fantastic change not to have to get on a plane, and deal with all the fuss that goes with air travel.
We spent our first evening enjoying cocktails at the hotel’s breath-taking oceanfront lounge, 180blu, which overlooks Salt Creek Beach – and quickly came to realize how important nature is to the fabric of this hotel. Big on environmental awareness, the hotel offers a series of eco-adventures that includes whale-watching, a sea hike along the coast and a living green tour. Jean-Michel Cousteau, the eldest son of the celebrated diver and explorer Jacques Cousteau, continues his father’s wildlife preservation legacy here in Laguna Beach. His program of tours, classes and events is extensive, and after some family deliberation we decided to join the Ambassadors of the Environment Garden Tour the following morning, which introduced us to the local eco-system.