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Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

When locals began slapping "Save Laguna Canyon" stickers on the backs of their cars in the 1980s and '90s, this isMore what they were fighting for: vast swaths of preserved and protected open space, available and accessible to future generations so they can glimpse what California looked like centuries before there was a Starbucks on every corner.

Not all the battles from those days were won (note the hulking concrete mass that is the San Joaquin toll road), and housing developments continue to encroach, but 7,000 acres of something is better than nothing. And, after a day-long hike into the hills to photograph wildlife and native fauna, you'll agree that Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a definite something.

Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Crystal Cove is a huge state-run park with something for everyone; the park stretches from the beach just north ofMore Laguna far into the inland wilderness. Particularly a mountain biker's paradise, it also offers ranger-guided nature excursions, and in case you don't run into owls, possums or other wildlife, then be sure to check out the visitor's center at the front entrance, where you can at least glimpse their taxidermied cousins. Your $15 day pass (it's $125 for an annual pass, but that lets you into all of California's state parks) gives you access to some of the last preserved coastal real estate on the Southern California coast.
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