I grew up spending a lot of time in Orange County. While it is not your typical ‘tourist’ destination, if you are ever road tripping through California, it is a great stop! OC is made up of quite a few cities, but I am going to only tell you about the ones that I think offer a fun or unique trip.
Huntington Beach is a very popular, very fun beach and coastal city that is frequented by young adults. The beach is massive! Probably the larges I have ever been to in the world, being a couple miles long and probably a quarter of sand a mile from street to water. It also has a few dozen fire pits making it a popular attraction for all day beach affairs ending with s’mores! HB has a pier great for fishing or just a nice walk, and a restaurant on the end. Main Street is amazing for food, shopping, and bars. By day it’s a fun excursion and at night the night life comes to life! Parking is $15 to park in the main lot and street parking is metered.
HB is also the host of one of the biggest surf competitions, the US Open! I go every year that I can and it’s a great experience watching the surfing, visiting booths, watching skateboarders, eating, shopping, and more! Plan for huge crowds.
Newport Beach is fairly similar to Huntington, just no fire pits and much more free parking! I also love going to Newport for a night out! There are quite a few bars right on the coast that I recommend if you love to bar hop and want a bit more of a relaxed bar night as opposed to a club. This includes Baja Sharkeez, Stag, Beach Ball, and Oceanfront.
Another very fun beach trip, but totally different vibes from Newport and Huntington. It is much more relaxed and more of a family beach vibe in my opinion. The waves are great and it is known for paddle boarding, surfing, and skim boarding. Laguna also has lots of water life, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen dolphins and seals swimming so close to shore. Laguna is also known to a few smaller beaches including Victoria, Table Rock, Aliso, and Treasure Island. Main beach Laguna also has amazing little eateries and shopping and art, so make sure you walk around!
You can also hike to Top of the World, a hill that overlooks the whole city and from there you can go down to Car Wreck Trail. You can also check out Coast Wilderness Trail and Crystal Cove for lots of nature.
Anaheim (aka DINSEYLAND!)
Okay, Anaheim in itself isn’t much in terms of a city, but they have Disneyland and the Angels professional baseball team! If you have never been to Disneyland, there is literally a magic to it that you can’t experience anywhere else. It also magically makes your money disappear because it is expensive AF. I recommend getting a park hopper that way you can go to Disneyland and California Adventure. Also go during off season or you could be waiting 2+ hours to go a single ride.
Also be sure to check out a professional baseball game! I personally am a Dodgers fan, but the atmosphere of going to a game as opposed to watching it on TV is amazing! Be sure to load up on all of the stadium food and participate in the 7th inning stretch!
Okay, for my fellow Californians I bet you are wondering why I put Fullerton on the list. Well, its because of its nightlife! Have a college in the time and a pretty well congregated bar street makes it a prime location for a fun night out! It is one of my go to places to go out when I am at home. My personal favorite is Heroes, but that whole area has different bars including JP23, Bourbon Street, Revolution, Continental, etc.
Thanks for reading!