Scavenger Hunt Locations & Differences:
Laguna Beach vs San Clemente vs Old Town San Diego vs Newport Beach
This page offers details and differences between our 4 Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunts.
This is the original Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt, which premiered in 2013, after a full year of planning and designing.
The layout of this beautiful beach town is perfectly spread out for a Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt. All teams gather for a briefing and receive their assignment, which includes 2 pages of suspects, a map of Downtown Laguna, detailing where evidence can be found, and a packet of handy clues. Starting points are assigned to spread out the teams, but after that first location you'll investigate the remaining locations in any order you want. Generally, you do not have to travel more than a couple blocks between each of your stops.
It's a great way to tour Laguna Beach. You don't need any knowledge of the city. And even locals often tell us they've seen interesting parts of Laguna they never noticed before.
Your team will compete against up to ten other teams. The investigation takes an average team about 4 hours to complete, and the full course involves about 4 miles walking...
The time goes by very fast, but if 4 hours, or 4 miles, is too long for you, a shortcut version is offered to all teams the day of the event. It will remove about an hour from of the game, and about 1 mile from the walking. You can still get the satisfaction of revealing the killer, but you won't be qualified to be the first place winning team in the competition.
The second Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt was unveiled in 2014, designed with lots of new surprises! The clues, puzzles & riddles are all completely different from our Laguna game, so if you enjoyed the Laguna Murder Mystery, you'll love this one too.
But you do NOT need to have experienced Laguna Beach in order to compete in San Clemente. We do generally get a few more calls to the helpline for San Clemente, so a couple things are a little trickier than Laguna, but it's still ok for first time players.
Like Laguna, San Clemente is a beach town. But the layout of Downtown San Clemente is less spread out, so we have devised a way for this course to lead you in a specific order. Because of this feature, the San Clemente Murder Mystery is a more exclusive game. It's as jam-packed with cool features as Laguna, and it takes about the same length of time to complete (about 4 hours for an average team), but there are only 8 starting points. So there's only room for 8 teams at each event (rather than 11). And it is scheduled less frequently.
This course involves about the same distance walking as Laguna (about 4 miles), but it includes a fairly steep hill between the pier and the shops on Avenida Del Mar. This course does NOT have a shortcut version. So, if this seems too strenuous for you, try the shortcut version at Laguna or Newport, or the full version at Old Town SD.
Important disclaimer: If you are one of the few who have played Fantastic Orange County Race aka The Amazing Race: San Clemente, which only existed for a little while in 2013, DO NOT sign up for the San Clemente Murder Mystery. You already know too many of the secrets to really enjoy it.
3/7/20 Update: Normally, all of our public scavenger hunts, at all cities, start at a restaurant with a 30 minutes orientation. However, due to issues with the restaurant we have used in San Clemente, and that there is no suitable replacement in the area, we will be starting all public San Clemente scavenger hunts outside. (This change does not affect privately booked events). Rather than having the orientation, all instructions and rules will be emailed to players two days before the event. It will be your responsibility to read all of it before you arrive! When we meet, you will be given the materials you need for the hunt, and we will answer any questions, but no instructions will be given. In addition, we will not have a closing presentation of the winning teams. The rankings of teams will be emailed after the event. This is not ideal, but without an indoor place to gather all teams, this is the only way we can run the San Clemente scavenger hunt.
OLD TOWN SAN DIEGO
4/27/15: We are SO proud to announce... There has been a murder in Old Town San Diego.
Dedicated to the wonderful people who have been so supportive of the first two events. Your reviews, words of encouragement, and requests for a new murder mystery have motivated us to build a new course. And after scouting out MANY potential areas, we decided Old Town was absolutely perfect for a Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt. Whether you're very familiar with Old Town, or this will be your first trip, you'll get to explore a truly unique and historic area.
But we don't exist simply to be a tour guide... You'll need to bring your wits to solve all the new clues and surprises that we have in store for you in order to reveal a murderer. This game follows the same format as the Laguna course: All team gather together for a briefing at Cafe Coyote. Starting points are assigned by raffle, and after that, you'll investigate the designated areas of Old Town in any order you want.
And the best news: Because Old Town is so condensed with interesting landmarks and historic sites, this course involves about HALF THE AMOUNT OF WALKING as the other two courses - we're estimating about 2 miles on foot. This new adventure has just as many cool features jam packed into the investigation, there's just less distance to walk. Average time to finish is about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
MURDER MYSTERY ESCAPE ROOM
We bring the crime scene to your home or office.
8/2/18 The big announcement: Newport Beach is ready!
In this investigation you'll explore the areas of Balboa Village, The Fun Zone, The Balboa Pier, Peninsula Park, and you'll even take the Ferry to Balboa Island and back. It really is a wonderful area to spend the day and solve a murder.
For Newport Beach, we've added some new dimensions to go with the murder mystery theme. Not only will you need to determine who the murderer is, but this time you'll need to determine the LOCATION of the murder & the MOTIVE...
I know, you may think this resembles the board game 'Clue'... You won't think that after you play it. It's as different as checkers is to chess. There's no guessing here. This is all about logic, clue-solving, and getting off the couch for the day to explore a beautiful area.
The average team takes about 4 hours to complete this investigation. But much like Laguna, all teams have the option to do a shortened version. If you opt for the shortened version, you can still have a great time and solve the murder, but you won't be the 1st place team in the competition.
The walking is about 3 miles, which is about a mile less than Laguna and San Clemente.
Also note that each player will need to bring $2 cash for the ferry.
SHERLOCK IN YOUR HOMES: Solve A Murder Mystery From Your Home!
4/28/20 Inspired by Covid-19... A version of our Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunts you can play at your home, far from all the germy humans.
If you've enjoyed our scavenger hunts, you will love this too.
It's hours and hours of FUN for 1 - 4 people!
Solve at your own pace: in one marathon session, or spread out over several days.
Click the logo below for more info:
Events at all locations are permanent and will happen all year long.