Orange County’s 42 miles of alluring coastline features lively beach towns, family fun, vibrant boardwalks and cool breezes in the warm California sun. The Orange County coastline is composed of six beach cities, each offering its own unique brand of the Southern California experience. A day on the coast can include surf lessons, a romantic walk on the beach or a nighttime bonfire cookout.
Orange County beaches from north to south:
Serving as the northern gateway to Orange County's 42 miles of coastline, this quiet, down-to-earth community is the perfect escape. Seal Beach is named after the seals that once frequented its coastline. Today, the city is filled with quaint neighborhoods and hometown appeal.
Wide, sandy expanses and several great surf spots make Seal Beach a favorite community among Orange County locals, and conditions are ideal for kitesurfing, windsurfing and building sandcastles.
The city's moniker, Surf City USA®, pretty much says it all. From surfwear shops and local wave-rider hangouts to suntanned surfers in search of that perfect wave, you can't help but dive into this beach town's infectious surf culture.
The local waves make Huntington Beach a hub of surf activity in Orange County. In fact, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing is held here each summer, making it the center of the surfing universe for several days every summer. Jump in on the action with a surf lesson or watch locals from the safety of the sand or the pier.
This seaside community was discovered by a group of landscape painters in the 1920s and quickly became a destination of choice for the artistically inclined. With posh hillside mansions, trendy shopping areas and a rugged coastline of cliffs leading to secluded sandy beaches, it's a great place to discover hidden gems and relax in a low-key setting.
Located just off Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highwah or PCH), Dana Point is home to a stunning cove and panoramic, seaside views. Famous explorer of the 1800s Richard Henry Dana deemed Dana Point one of the most romantic spots in California during his trip aboard the Pilgrim in 1835.
Dana Point features a beautiful manmade harbor and Mariners Village, where friendly merchants and local restaurateurs give a warm welcome to visitors. Fishing excursions and sailing voyages depart daily from the harbor, and seasonal whale watching trips are a family favorite.
San Clemente’s charming ambiance and Spanish-style architecture evoke images of the Mediterranean. Drive or take the train in and enjoy the leisurely pace, pristine beaches, friendly sidewalk cafés and family activities, such as an annual sand castle contest.
Visitors can enjoy 20 acres of sandy beaches, a 1,200-foot-long fishing pier, and friendly sidewalk cafes. Shop for antiques, custom jewelry, designer perfumes and unique gifts along the quaint streets in this “Spanish Village by the Sea.”