Main Beach Park and Heisler Park
between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean
Laguna Beach, CA
Submitted by: Ben Fried
Laguna Beach's two-acre waterfront park is linked to Heisler Park, a two-mile greenway that runs along the bluffs of the coastline.
Both parks have a variety of things to do: a boardwalk for strolling, basketball and volleyball courts, play structures, a recreation center with lawn bowling, several open grassy areas for games and picnicking. They offer recreation on all levels, including art and culture, and draw thousands of users per day.
What Makes Main Beach Park and Heisler Park a Great Place?
The activity centers in the park are connected to each other through an efficient system of paths and green spaces as well as the boardwalk. Overall, the park is easily accessible from downtown for people walking across the Pacific Coast Highway, which has been "traffic calmed" with landscaped medians (including topiary). The highway itself is relatively narrow as it passes through downtown as well, causing the traffic to slow down and creating a balance with pedestrian use.
Main Beach Park has artist-designed, site-specific benches created through a city-sponsored contest, along with traditional benches (some of which have been donated by residents and are marked with a plaque). Public art is integrated into the park in flowerbeds and other unusual places that allow a sense of discovery; Heisler Park has several donated sculptures. The park is a popular site for weddings - especially a gazebo overlooking the ocean. The parks are fully maintained by the city, through its general fund.
The park is used during both the day and the evening, throughout the week and the weekend, in the summer and the winter by everyone from shoppers and residents to tourists. People walk, people watch, play a variety of sports, some swim and many just spend time there talking with others.
It is a very social place and a source of pride for the community.
History & Background
Pat Berry, Community Services Director: 949-497-0352
- The World's Best and Worst Parks - Main Beach Park and Heisler Park are on PPS's list of the best parks in the world