OK - Laguna Beach has many beaches for sure. Thus far in my experience, this is the nicest and most scenic if you want to spend the good part of the day just hanging at the beach. Nice grass area, nice beach and very long, walking he beach is great, and yeah, there are a lot of surfers there, and the waves are great. If your bringing a lot of stuff with you, note, it is a ways to the beach (vertical more than length). I'm told at times there are $1 shuttles to the beach and back from the huge parking lot above. Which is another great thing you don't have to worry about - there is a huge parking lot right off Hwy 1. It costs $1 per hour though. Any kind of cash or credit cards work! Really, this is a no headache fabulous beach with easy parking.
Note - if you want to hike to Dana Point (and that's a great area too) - you really can not pass the headlands area in between the two areas without going up the hill, then back down again. At the end of Salt Creek Beach , you will note the switch backs to your left that take you up and over to Dana Point.
Note - this .gpx track takes you up for a drink at the Ritz Carlton Hotel (swank city) to an outside patio overlooking the ocean, then through the hotel to your parking lot.
David D. on Salt Creek Trail
Free parking and cute women in bikinis what else can you ask for?