Orange County is a beautiful place to live, but many only know it for its incredible weather and stunning beaches. However, the area is so much more than sunshine and sand! Did you know these 10 fascinating facts about Orange County?
10 Fascinating Facts about Orange County
Fact #1: Orange County is home to many Fortune 500 companies
Many large, multinational corporations have headquarters or offices in Orange County, including companies in healthcare, sciences, technology, banking, insurance, finance, and fashion. The regional headquarters for businesses such as Mazda, Toshiba, Toyota, Samsung, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai are all in OC as well. Oakley and Hurley, two brands famous for surfwear, are also based in OC. In-N-Out Burger, the most iconic fast food restaurant in California, is also based in Orange County.
Fact #2: Orange County is home to many celebrities
Many celebrities live or have lived in Orange County over the years. Tiger Woods, Kevin Costner, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gwen Stefani, Will Ferrell, and Steve Martin are just some of its many current or former famous residents. Who knows who you will see when you get a coffee or go to the beach!
Fact #3: It’s a famous surfing spot
We can’t make a post about fascinating facts about Orange County without mentioning surfing!
OC’s Huntington Beach is home to “The Wedge,” one of the most famous surf spots in the world. Surfers travel from all over to surf in this location. Over the years, OC has become known as a surfing capital, and surf culture finds its way into parts of everyday life (such as the fashion of its residents and the surfer slang that they use).
Fact #4: It has a Wild West past
Life in Orange County wasn’t always about beaches and surfing: in 1857, it was home to a group of thieves and criminals. Stolen horses and stagecoach* robberies were common then, and for years, a man named Juan Flores (who escaped from jail!) and his gang stole from the residents. The gang killed the Sheriff, a man named James Barton, and escaped a large group of men that tried to catch him. Eleven days later, they finally caught Flores: this time, he didn’t escape prison. Today, a place called “Barton’s Mound” is where this all happened. It’s close to the 405 Freeway, and few people know of its history.
*stagecoach: an old form of transportation that looks like a box with wheels. It is pulled by a horse or horses.
Fact #5: There were once pirates
In addition to thieves from the Wild West, there were once pirates in Orange County! It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1818, a man named Bouchard sailed from Argentina to California. Like any true pirate, he came to the land when he and his crew needed more rum! The pirates went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano, drank all of their alcohol, ate all of their food, and then went back to their ship. What a story!
Learn more about Bouchard and his men on OC Explore.
Fact #6: Anaheim was founded by Germans
It’s true! In 1857, a group of Germans moved to the area. They lived next to the Santa Ana River, and they combined the name of the river with the word heim, which means “home” in German. They made wine in the area for years: at one time, there were more than 50 vineyards in the area! In the 1880s, a disease destroyed all of the grapes. The vines were replaced with vegetables and the fruit that gave the area its name: oranges.
Fact #7: It has 40 miles of coastline
OK, we can’t have a post about Orange County without having at least TWO facts about its beaches. Forty miles (64 kilometers) of coastline are in Orange County, including some of the most beautiful beaches and state parks in California. Read our Guide to OC Beaches to decide which one you will visit next.
Fact #8: It’s famous in Hollywood
Orange County is very close to Los Angeles, so it makes sense that it was the shooting location for many TV shows and movies. Orange County has been the location for Gilligan’s island, The OC, That Thing You Do, Beaches, American Horror Story, Arrested Development, and The Sopranos. To learn more, read this Wikipedia page about Orange County in popular culture.
Fact #9: The region’s Little Saigon is a popular tourist site
Costa Mesa, in Orange County, is home to a large population of Vietnamese families. In fact, the area is now called “Little Saigon!” This part of Costa Mesa is a large tourist attraction: enjoy the delicious foods and shops, and be sure to get a delicious bánh mì sandwich or some phở!
Fact #10: It is home to the best English school, IEC@OCC!
It’s true: Orange County is home to many universities and colleges, but the one we love the most is the International Education Center at Orange Coast College! Our students are lucky to live in a place like Orange County, which is so beautiful and has so much to see and do.