Orange County, California

orange county california highlights

About Living and Studying in Orange County

Welcome to beautiful Orange County in sunny Southern California!

Also known to some as “OC,” Orange County is located on the California Coast and is home to several large cities (Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach) and many charming beach towns, such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point. It is known for its tourism thanks to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and beautiful natural parks and beaches.

Why Study in Orange County?

In addition to having excellent weather year-round, the OC is an ideal place to study for many reasons!

Academic Options
Orange County is home to many colleges and universities, including California State University Fullerton, the University of California, Irvine, 9 California community colleges, and numerous private colleges and universities.

Community
Each of the cities and towns in Orange County has a distinct culture and a sense of community. Surfer-friendly beach towns (like Newport Beach) are perfect for those who enjoy the laid-back California lifestyle. Meanwhile, artists find inspiration in communities such as Laguna Beach, which is famous for its artistic residents.

Lifestyle
If you love the outdoors and staying active and healthy, the OC is for you! The area’s excellent weather and beautiful natural parks make Orange County a perfect place to explore nature: on sunny days, go hiking, go surfing, or ride a bike along the beach boardwalks. When it’s a little cold outside, take a yoga class or exercise at one of the area’s many gyms. On weekends, visit the area’s farmers’ markets and enjoy the beautiful produce that California is known for. The OC is a great place to explore new restaurants or try cooking something new and delicious!

Safety
The towns and cities of Orange County are safe and secure (and well connected by public transportation).

Orange County Highlights

Orange County offers many attractions for its visitors and residents.

Anaheim
Anaheim is probably most well known as being the home of Disneyland and California Adventure, two of the most popular tourist attractions in California. However, Anaheim is also home to a professional baseball team (the Anaheim Angels), incredible shopping malls, and a famous farmers’ market.

Beaches
Some of the most beautiful beaches in California are located in Orange County: come check them out! For details on the beaches and natural parks located in the OC, read our Guide to OC Beaches article.

Knotts Berry Farm
It began in the 1930s as a roadside stand selling berries, jams, and pies. Over the years, the Knotts family began adding restaurants and attractions. Today, Knotts Berry Farm is one of the most popular amusement parks in the United States. Experience its many roller coasters and see why it is loved by so many!

Natural Parks
Orange County has both beautiful coastal parks and wilderness parks to explore, which makes the area a dream for nature lovers! Experience sunsets at the coastal parks, which include Aliso Beach, Capistrano Beach, Salt Creek Beach, and OC Dana Point Harbor. On the weekends, explore nature in the region’s wilderness parks: the Laguna Coast Regional Park and Laguna Niguel Regional Park are just a few of the many parks in the county. For more information, visit the Official Orange County Website.

About Costa Mesa

Beautiful Costa Mesa is a city located just one mile from the Pacific Ocean in the heart of Orange County, California. The city is known for being a mixture of art and commerce: it is home to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the South Coast Repertory Theater and is headquarters for many surf and skateboard companies (including Hurley International, Rip Curl, Vans, and Volcom). The city is also famous for its shopping and its wonderful food. Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza is one of the largest shopping centers in the United States, and the city of Costa Mesa has been voted by USA Today as one of the small towns in the U.S. with the best restaurants. In addition to incredible dining, Costa Mesa has 28 parks, 3 libraries, and numerous colleges and universities (including Orange Coast College). The area is well-connected to Los Angeles and is therefore a prime location for residents who love city living and the laid back beach lifestyle.