West St. beach, South Laguna, entered into a Google search will produce 11 pages of references for this internationally known gay and lesbian beach which is actually about 1000 yards north of the picturesque West St. stairway.
Reviews include comments like “I was pleasantly surprised at how nice people were.” West St. beach is “Orange County’s gay beach heaven” and “years ago there was a radio station that broadcast from the beach.”
West St. beach got established when gays were blocked from Main Beach during it’s construction. Before that, there was a popular gay-lesbian beach south of the Main guard tower where it wasn’t unusual to see a silver service luncheon being served by a gay man or woman on a big tablecloth on the sand and nearby one of California’s first gay bars which actually had a heterosexual bar on it’s south side, across from the Laguna Hotel.
If the weather is warm on Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of gays and lesbians will start another summer season at West Street, just minutes from the beautiful Village Green park at Catalina and Virginia Way with it’s cozy picnic tables, BBQ braziers and expanse of grass. A short walk will take you to numerous cafes, beautiful Treasure Island park and the picturesque and reasonably priced Aliso Creek Inn and Golf Course in Aliso canyon.
West Street is Orange County’s “gay beach heaven” and symbolic of Laguna being a different place. Enjoy the summer. Take a free trolley or OCTA’s Route 1 bus, but go!
Roger Carter, Laguna Beach
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