California is of course known for its beaches and beautiful coastline, but Orange County residents will agree that the area’s beaches (42 uninterrupted miles of sand and surf!) are some of the most stunning. In addition to soaking up the sun, residents enjoy the natural landscapes, charming cities, and active lifestyle that OC offers. The only problem with OC beaches? Deciding which one to visit! Our guide to Orange County’s beautiful beaches will help you choose which beach to enjoy.
Guide to Orange County’s Beautiful Beaches
Aliso Beach County Park (Laguna Beach)
Scenic foothills meet sandy beaches at Aliso, which is an excellent location for swimming, surfing, and paddle-boarding. Aliso Beach is one of 20 beaches that are part of famous Laguna Beach.
Capistrano Beach Park (Dana Point)
Sports lovers enjoy Capistrano, which is not just a beach, but also a park that offers activities such as volleyball and basketball. During the summer, rent some fishing gear and see what you can catch!
Capistrano is part of the larger area known as Dana Point, which also includes Salt Creek Beach County Park and Doheny State Beach.
Seal Beach Municipal Beach and Pier
Orange County’s 42 miles of beachline begin here, at charming Seal Beach. The community’s beloved Pier, (which is the second longest wooden pier in California!) provides the perfect location for Instagram photos. After strolling down the pier, head to Main Street and check out the small shops and restaurants.
Sunset Beach and Surfside Beach
To escape tourists during the summer months, locals know to go to Sunset Beach. This area’s three miles of coastline provide a more peaceful setting for water activities, and the restaurants on the Pacific Coast Highway serve excellent local cuisine.
Surfers flock to Huntington Beach, whose impressive waves are the perfect place to “hang loose!”* The iconic beach is a favorite for students who enjoy crowds of happy, surf-loving and sun-loving people. In August, check out the world’s largest surf competition: there’s a reason the area is known as “Surf City USA!” The rest of the year, prepare to be impressed by the skills of local surfers.
*Hang loose = surfer slang for “relax”
Newport Beach/Newport Harbor
Nature lovers and sailing fans both love Newport. The beach, considered one of the cleanest in the United States, includes an ecological preserve in Upper Newport Bay. Beautiful Newport Harbor includes a port with impressive yachts and charming shops.
Laguna Beach technically isn’t just one beach: it’s 20 individual beaches and coves that are together known as “Laguna Beach.” (Aliso Beach, listed above, is one of these beautiful 20 locales!) No matter which of these beaches you choose, be sure to check out Laguna Beach’s downtown: the restaurants and shops in this historic district are charming, and the city itself is a dream for art lovers! If you’re more interested in nature, enjoy the beach coves, which are excellent for scuba diving and also for exploring tide pools.
The iconic fishing pier is a perfect place to begin a day in San Clemente, an area with 20 acres of beautiful beaches. In addition to strolling the beaches and pier, visitors can rent snorkeling equipment, snack from one of the street vendors, play volleyball, and even camp!