Living Here in Mar Vista


Introduction to the Enclave: Tucked away in the hills above South Laguna Village, there is a small enclave the locals call Mar Vista. With less than 50 homes representing the neighborhood, the residents enjoy seclusion, open spaces and views of the Pacific Ocean. Many residents have resided in this unique neighborhood for decades enjoying a quiet lifestyle that is well removed from the busy Laguna Beach lifestyle.

Bordered By: The Mar Vista neighborhood is accessed from PCH via Eagle Rock Way or Third Avenue. Scenic Drive borders the Mar Vista neighborhood on the south, Eagle Rock and West Canyon borders on the west, Sunset Drive and the Medical Center borders to the east and coastal open space lies to the north.

Views: Like its name, the residents of Mar Vista enjoy vistas of the sea. Catalina Island rests within easy sight to the west and San Clemente Island is just to the south. The surrounding open space hillsides offer tranquil views of the rugged coastal terrain. It is within walking distance to some of the most picturesque beaches on the south coast. Table Rock and West Street beaches are found at the base of Eagle Rock while Totuava and Thousand Steps beaches are found secluded to the south.

Homes: Mar Vista is generally characterized by large parcels and due to this, there is a variety of large custom homes mixed in with original cottages from the 1930’s. Early residents built classic single-wall cottages and some still exist. The mix of architectural styles and large gardens gives the neighborhood a unique flavor. Architecturally, spectacular contemporary residences share the streets with Spanish Revivals, Cape Cod, Craftsman-style and the beach cottage theme. Presently there are plans to underground the overhead utility lines. The winding streets, towering pines and eucalyptus blend with ocean views to make this small “hood” very pleasing to the eye.

History: Early days of South Laguna provided only access from the south or via Aliso Canyon. The hills and coastal bluffs of the area were inhabited by local natives prior to farming homesteads from the Eagan, Shrewsbury and Thurston families. Dry farming was utilized as well as fishing. It was not until the 1920s that South Laguna had full connection with Laguna Beach via Coast Highway. Mar Vista was first settled in the 1930s. South Laguna was an unincorporated area of Orange County until 1989 when the area joined the City of Laguna Beach.

Community Features/Amenities/Special Events: The Mar Vista neighborhood is popular with a variety of residents. There are many families, retirees, artists and working professionals that inhabit the small area. Walking and hiking into the coastal open spaces are popular pastimes for the locals. Gardening either at home or in the community garden on Eagle Rock gives the “locals” a great outdoor activity and fosters camaraderie. Nearby Catalina Park and the annual Fourth of July Children’s Parade are two popular activities for families. Children attend El Morro School, Thurston and Laguna Beach High School. The area’s close proximity to Crown Valley Parkway allows a perfect alternative for inland commute, shopping and a way to exit Laguna during the heavy summer traffic. Restaurants are superb and are available within walking distance from Mar Vista, including Thai, Austrian, Mexican, Caribbean and French cuisine.

Why You Love Living Here: Mar Vista, like all of “SoLag,” has a quiet spirit of its own. The sense of community is strong and the neighbors are long term. It is said that some people prefer to live in central Laguna Beach, but it is also a fact that once people try South Laguna, they rarely leave. There is a casual lifestyle found here, but also a secure sense of community. My wife, Janice, and I moved to South Laguna in 1979. We have lived on Mar Vista Avenue since 1985 and our daughters were raised and schooled through Laguna Beach. I am the Head Coach/Program Director for Girls Soccer at Laguna Beach High School.

Current Market Activity:

Bill Rolfing, an agent with First Team Estates/Nolan Real Estate since 1979, was the 2010 Top Producer for the Laguna Beach office. Currently, he has nine standard sales listings in Laguna and three in South Laguna located on Brooks Street, West Street and Sunset Avenue.

Active Listings: Currently, there are 4 single-family residences. They range from a 1,950 sq.ft. 3 bedroom, 2 bath listed at $1,795,000 to a 18,000 sq.ft. 4 bedroom, nine bath listed at $19,950,000. Days-on-Market range from 12 to 391, with an average price per square foot of $1147.65. There is one back-up offer: a 3 bedroom, 4 bath 2,700 sq. ft. home listed at $1,699,000. Recently sold in the area is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 2,577 sq.ft. home built in 1968 that sold for $878,000 with a price per square footage of $340.71.


Information provided by Bill Rolfing, First Team Estates/Nolan Real Estate at 949.689.4470, or email him at His website is