Square Feet: 6,500
This seaside village is the quintessential coastal hamlet. It is hard to find a corner of this town from where you cannot either see the ocean or easily walk to it. The small-town character of Laguna Beach is rigorously protected by its proud citizens, which is why this city remains very similar in feel in its second century as it did in its first. Originally known to be haven for artists, subsequent decades saw the emergence of surf culture and other individualist lifestyles here in numbers unlike anywhere else along this coast. The city’s eclectic and diverse composition of citizens makes for a lively and dynamic atmosphere cherished by all. An accomplished school system is supported by an active group of generous locals, and the quality of life here is delicately balanced as the city’s governance continues to meet the demands of its residents as well as the seasonal demands placed on it as a highly desirable coastal resort. Growth is not on the agenda in this city and those in search of a community where permanence is the guiding principle for defining its future will come to appreciate the value of living among like-minded people.