Orange County Travel Guide

Orange County Summary

Pros

  • Beautiful beaches, like Laguna Beach and Dana Point
  • Sunny weather 70% of the year, and a 70-degree average temperature
  • Affluent residents, including celebrities
  • Lots of shopping options

Cons

  • Incredibly expensive
  • Will need a car to get just about anywhere
  • Terrible traffic and crowds everywhere

Area Guides

  • Santa Ana: Most populated area in Orange County and home to the airport, although it's not very touristy
  • Huntington Beach: A water sport lover's paradise, home to beaches with great waves for surfing
  • Laguna Beach: One of the most affluent and beautiful parts of Orange County, with lovely shoreline, parks, and cliffs with overlooks
  • Dana Point: Beautiful, low-key spot with great whale watching
  • Newport Beach: A wealthy seaside retreat with beautiful views and plenty of water sports
  • Costa Mesa: Small town with lots of culture, known for performing arts and galleries

What It's Like

Orange County has been made famous by TV shows like MTV's Laguna Beach and Bravo's Real Housewives of Orange County, which focus on the lives of the rich, famous, and spoiled. And it is true that Orange County is home to some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, where appearance is key and prices are steep. But it's a huge area (948 square miles) that's also home to large cities like Santa Ana and Long Beach, with diverse socioeconomic makeups.

Some of the most beautiful stretches of California's coastline are located here, and ritzy resorts have sprung up to cash in on the stunning views. Well-heeled travelers spend their vacations laying on sandy beaches, shopping in quaint seaside towns, going on whale-watching cruises, sailing, and sightseeing. (Popular attractions include the lovely Mission San Juan Capistrano; and Balboa Pavilion, a historic waterfront building that's the launching point for harbor cruises, surrounded by a boardwalk with carnival rides and games.)

Where to Stay

Most leisure travelers will want to head to "The Orange Coast," a string of chi-chi seaside towns with rugged coastal bluffs, white-sand beaches, phenomenal views, and posh hotels. The largest city there is Huntington Beach, which is famous for its surf competitions, while upscale and artsy Laguna Beach and low-key Dana Point are both popular coastal retreats for posh travelers.

 

View all Orange County Hotels

Facts

Languages: English
Airports: John Wayne Airport
Peak: April - June
Off-Peak: Jan. - March
Visa: No, for nationalities included in the Visa Waiver Program
Vaccines: No
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Electricity: 120 V, 60 Hz
Tipping: 15-20% in restaurants and cabs

Oyster Travel Guides

Dana Point Travel Guide
Dana Point Travel Guide
Dana Point is a picturesque, small beach town on the cliffs of Southern Orange County… Read More
Laguna Beach Travel Guide
Laguna Beach Travel Guide
Laguna Beach is a playground for the rich and famous. It is one of the… Read More
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