(Beaches listed north to south)
Beaches in Orange County
In Orange County, the beach is far more than just a place to swim or sunbathe... It's actually a way of life and a defining influence in residents' lives.
With more than 100 miles of beautiful white sandy beaches, Southern California is known as one of the world's premier destinations for the ultimate beach vacation. At Orange County beaches, you'll find yachting, sailing, surfing, wind surfing, body surfing, body boarding, skim boarding, kite boarding, wake boarding, skateboarding, rollerskating, roller blading, sailing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, volleyball, biking, hiking and fishing, as well as numerous other outdoor activities.
Best Beaches in Orange County for...
Best Beach for Amusements: Balboa Beach
Best Beach for Beach Volleyball: Huntington State Beach
Best Beaches for Birdwatching: Bolsa Chica, Huntington State Beach
Best Beach for Bonfires: Huntington State Beach
Best Kids Beaches, Orange County California: Balboa Beach, Huntington State Beach
Best Nude Beach: Sorry, no nude beaches in Orange County. Your nearest options are Black's Beach or San Onofre in San Diego County.
Best Beach for People Watching: Laguna Beach, Main Beach
Best Beach for Romance: Laguna Beach, Main Beach
Best Orange County Coast Secret Beaches: North of Salt Creek Beach; North of Dana Point Harbor
Best Beaches for Surfing: Huntington City Beach ("Surf City, USA")
| Map of Beaches in Orange County
Orange County Beaches (Listed from north to south)
Seal Beach Pier
Main St and Ocean Ave, Seal Beach
Surfside - Anderson St. and Pacific Coast Highway
Location: Pacific Coast Highway between Anderson St and Warner Ave, Sunset Beach (949) 923-2250
Description: 45 acre beach, large parking lot, public restrooms and playground
Huntington Beach Beaches
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Location: Pacific Coast Highway between Warner and Seapoint Street, Huntington Beach (714) 377-4912
Description: Bolsa Chica is located right across the street from a major stop on the Pacific Flyway. This is the best beach for surfing if you're a beginner. Many local surf schools give lessons here and you won't be bothered by the hot shots. Bolsa Chica is also known as one of the best beaches for birdwatching.
Huntington City Beach
Location: Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint Street and Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach
Description: This beach is a 3.5 mile stretch of pristine shoreline. It's known as the "best surfing beach" in Orange County and sees more than 8 million visitors a year. In fact, the city actually trademarked the name "Surf City, USA." Serious local surfers do their stuff near the pier and it's lots of fun to watch. However, if you're a beginner, this is not the best place for you, as they don't tolerate interlopers well (try Bolsa Chica Beach above).
Huntington State Beach
Location: Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Ave., Huntington Beach, CA. The beach extends two miles from Beach Blvd. in Huntington Beach south to the Santa Ana River on the Newport Beach boundary.
Description: Huntington State Beach is known as Orange County's "best volleyball beach." With lots of clean, soft sand and volleyball nets, surfing, skating, biking and surf fishing, it's also considered one of the best kids beaches in Orange County, California.
If you like night bonfires, the park has plenty fire rings, which makes it one of the "best bonfire beaches" in Orange County.
Huntington State Beach is also a nesting sanctuary for California terns (see picture on right) and a sanctuary for the snowy plover, both rare and endangered species -- which also makes it a great spot for birdwatching.
Newport Beach Beaches
Newport Beach - End of Balboa Blvd. at Ocean Front and 21st Street, Newport Beach
Balboa Pier - West of Balboa Blvd, at foot of Main St, Balboa
Location: West of Balboa Blvd and South of Island Ave, Balboa
For Surf and Weather Report: (949) 673-3371
Description: Balboa Beach is known as one of the best kids beaches in Orange County, California. With a great beach, the Balboa Pier and the Balboa Fun Zone, there's plenty to keep kids entertained.
Balboa Island - West of Pacific Coast Highway on Jamboree Road; or, take the Ferry from Balboa Pavilion, beach at end of Ruby St, Newport Beach
Corona del Mar Beaches
Corona del Mar State Beach
Location: Accessible via access road near Iris Street and Ocean Boulevard, Corona del Mar
Description: This 1/2-mile long sandy beach is framed by cliffs and a rock jetty that forms the east entrance to Newport Harbor. It's a popular beach for swimmers, surfers and divers.
Robert E. Badham Marine Conservation Area (Little Corona)
Location: Poppy Ave. at Ocean Blvd, Newport Beach, 949-644-3038 Description: This beach was named the "Top Secret Beach in California" by Sunset Magazine. The reason it's a secret beach is that it can only be accessed if you're willing to look for street parking and then hike down (and back up) the access road to the hidden cove.
Laguna Beach Beaches
Laguna Beach City Beaches
Crescent Shaws Cove
Heisler Park Area
Main Beach (see below)
Arch and Woods Cove
Aliso Beach (see below)
1,000 Steps Beach
Laguna's main beach is located in the heart of downtown Laguna. You'll find the Boardwalk, a pathway to Heisler Park, volleyball, basketball, picnic tables, a children's play area and protected tide pools. The beach is small, but attracts a variety of people (as well as artists and musicians on weekends), which makes it the "best beach for people watching" in Orange County. It's also popular with lovers for taking evening strolls, making it one of the best beaches for romance as well.
Location: Aliso Beach Park is located on Pacific Coast Highway in South Laguna
Description: This is a quaint family beach with a playground and plenty of picnic tables. Surfing can can be dangerous here, but a downhill slope makes the beach perfect for skim boarding.
Dana Point Beaches
Salt Creek Beach
Location: Both the upland and beach facilities can be reached from Ritz Carlton Dr. off Pacific Coast Highway
Description: Salt Creek Park provides access to a long, sandy 18-acres public beach that's a popular surfing spot.
If you're looking for Orange County coast secret beaches, you can walk north along the shore, past the St. Regis Resort's Beach Club, then (even though it seems you can't go any farther), climb onto the gray rocks near the water and keep going. If you persist, you'll find a small, pebbly swath -- and you might be the only ones there. This is considered to be one of the best secret beaches in Orange County.
Dana Point Harbor
Location: Dana Point Harbor Drive
Description: The locals here know that Dana Point Harbor has one of the best Orange County coast secret beaches. The secret beach is located at the far north side of the harbor and is a spectacular place to enjoy everything California has to offer.
Doheny State Beach
Location: The beach is on Del Obispo/Dana Harbor Drive, one mile north of I-5 and about three miles from San Juan Capistrano Mission.
Description: Doheny State Beach has both camping in the southern area (with some campsites only steps away from the beach), as well as day use in the northern area, where there is a 5-acre lawn with picnic facilities and volleyball courts. Surfing and surf fishing are popular.
San Juan Capistrano Beaches
Location: 35005 Beach Road, Capo Beach, (949)923-2280
Description: Volleyball and basketball are popular beach activities. During the summer, a concession building offers fishing gear rental and sales, food and beverages, and beach supplies.
San Clemente Beaches
Location: Located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the beach is on the south end of San Clemente
Description: Since 1937 San Clemente has been one of the most popular beaches in California. The mile long beach stretches between the ocean and the foot of a steep bluff. The park attracts water sports enthusiasts of all types.
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