Many people hear the word Laguna and immediately think of Laguna Beach. But did you know that just a short distance inland lies an amazing stretch of land that exudes nature in its finest form? Just off Highway 133 prior to Laguna Beach is the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and this place is amazing. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park Engagement Photos by Three16 Photography will add some truly beautiful nature to your engagement photos.
This park has a few sections to shoot your photos in, but we typically prefer the area known as Willow Staging Area and this is where we usually enter the park. Other locations, such as Nix Nature Center or the James Dilley Greenbelt Reserve are great areas too, but we just find it easier to locate the Willow Staging location and because this area has some amazing rock formations, especially this one very large rock that has many unique features to it as you enter the area. Great rock formations always make for some really cool backdrops to your Laguna Coast Wilderness Park engagement photos.
There are other reasons we prefer this location. First, the natural beauty here is second to none. In addition to the rock formations, the park also has hiking trails and trees that only enhance your photos that much more. The Wilderness Park is also not your typical park. So, you won’t have a lot of crowds to contend with and you won’t see soccer games being played. Of course, one of the big reasons we love it here is the proximity to Laguna's main beach. We often suggest shooting at both locations to give your photos two completely different looks to them.
Like anything else, there are some drawbacks to be aware of before shooting here, but they’re minimal. First, it is pretty easy to get lost once you get to the park, so we often suggest meeting our couples at a near-by location and then drive over together. However, if you really want to meet us there, we highly recommend setting the actual address into your GPS system and not rely on Google Maps as they are slightly off the mark.
Another issue is that the park typically closes the parking lots at 5:00pm. So, timing is everything. It’s also a bit of a walk back to the parking lot, which would be cutting things close as nobody wants their cars to be locked inside the lots. Therefore, we usually start photo sessions here between 3:00 and 4:00pm, and then head to the beach afterwards.
Again, pretty minimal compared to what you get shooting your photos here. So, if you like nature, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is an absolutely great place to go and then follow it up with the beach.
You can learn more about the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park by visiting either ocparks.com/parks/lagunac/ or lagunacanyon.org/.
Some locations are subject to permit and/or travel fees.