Sunset at Laguna Beach
Sunset at Laguna Beach

Continuing my infatuation with southern California, on my current trip to the US I scheduled in a week in Orange County. For those uninitiated, “The OC” is home to beautiful people, beaches, expensive restaurants and lots of traffic. There are some other things, too—like lots of conservative republicans, corporate offices, amusement parks, piers and frozen bananas.

It’s a pretty special place. That’s probably why it shows up so often in pop culture.

Orange County is just an hour or so south of Los Angeles—not including the traffic (a constant plague of southern California). My obsession with southern California started, like most of my generation, with Seth, Ryan and Marissa (“welcome to the OC, bitch”). So when my Dad invited me out for a mini-holiday in the OC, I jumped at the chance. Sunshine and beach boardwalks—that’s the life for me!

But there was another reason for the holiday-within-a-holiday. I needed a break. Somewhere to recharge and relax, but still a place I could take in the basic tourist sites. In the end, the OC had what I needed: easy access to Los Angeles for some fun and plenty of beaches with chill boardwalks perfect for lazy lounging in the late fall.

The Best of The OC

Huntington Beach

Road Trip - Orange County - Pacific Highway
Road tripping through Orange County – The Pacific Coast Highway is one of America’s most scenic road trips, cutting right through Orange County and providing beautiful backdrops along the coast, both day and night.
Jack's Surfboards - Huntingon Beach
Huntingon Beach is one of California’s more popular surf beaches. Jack’s Surfboards has a number of stores along the coast.
Sea Lion from the pier - California
California’s coast is dotted with piers and boardwalks. Walking out onto them at night, you have a really good chance of spotting wildlife like sea lions.

Newport Beach

Newport Pier
A lot of beach piers have restaurants at the end making them popular nighttime hangouts for teens and fictional TV characters. This is the Newport Pier.
Newport Landing Restaurant
In Newport, the popular Newport Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar serves great seafood. Check their website for coupons!
Balboa Beach - Newport
Along Newport Beach, the Balboa Pier is just a lone, straight pier with a single restaurant at the end (Ruby’s Diner).

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove Beach
In Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove Beach is a part of the state park.
Beachcomber Cafe - Crystal Cove
On Crystal Cove Beach, a popular restaurant, the Beachcomber Café has one of the best spots along the coast for a quiet and scenic meal.
Beachcomber Café Restaurant - Crystal Cove
With seafood and steak dishes, the Beachcomber Café, located in a quaint cottage, is one of California’s more popular restaurants.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach
That’s me at Laguna Beach <3 Probably my favorite beach in the OC
Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach — so pretty!
Laguna Beach - The OC
The casual, laid-back atmosphere at Laguna Beach just makes it a great spot to chill
Beach Toys - Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is also one of the more developed beaches, with countless art galleries, restaurants and small, local businesses
Art Deco - Laguna Beach - California
Laguna Beach has one of southern California’s more developed art communities — just a walk along the boardwalk and it’s hard not to miss the little artistic features that line the community
Laguna Beach - The OC
On the southern end Laguna Beach, you’ll find an arts & craft market with small independent artisans + restaurants with amazing panoramic views
Laguna Beach - The OC
Perfect for a sundowner!

More Places to Visit in Orange Country

Irvine Spectrum Center
Irvine Spectrum Center

Laguna Beach - The OC

Frozen Banana - The OC
 The famous frozen banana! Immortalized by Arrested Development <3 You’ll find them at many of southern California’s piers and boardwalks…

Other cool places worth checking out in Orange County: Dana Point, Irvine and Santa Ana. Check out the Visit The OC Facebook page for more, or request a free visitor guide directly from Orange County Tourism.

Travels of Adam - It's a blogLooking for a place to stay? I use HotelsCombined.com where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

9 comments

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  1. Such an awesome post! I’m from Laguna Beach and I absolutely love it. I’m glad you could enjoy some of what makes up my childhood. It’s a great place for sure. Let us know next time you’re in Orange County I have endless recommendations for you! Or check them out on our blog.

    • Thanks Mauricio – I really do like The OC area – so many different things to do and see… Plus it was super relaxing to be by the beach every day :)

  2. Grim

    I’m a huuuuge sucker for California, especially Los Angeles. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the OC, but I know someone who lives there, so I really don’t have much of an excuse to plan a trip. Though the thought of driving there is pretty intimidating, I know drivers there can be pretty aggressive…..though thanks to rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, takes a lot of the guesswork out of that. for a free Lyft and Uber promo code, check out ridesharepricepermile.com. They have free promo codes for Lyft and Uber!

  3. Stunning pictures with great blog colors output was fantastic in every angle keep sharing.

  4. It was wonderful to see such a good blog with all information thanks for the share.

  5. sue

    There are several quiet regional parks with lots of nature to immerse. Yourself and take in the natural world!

    • Thanks Sue – definitely something to do on the next visit. Great to see you again! xx

  6. Great Post and Travel Guide..

  7. Being the most populated state in the US, sure is a must visit! And with this list of yours, I have at least laid places to go whenever I happen to visit California. Thanks!

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