Orange County boasts excellent waves and beautiful golden sands, making it hallowed ground for surfers and beach bums alike. This place has much more to offer than your usual sleepy beach community. The “OC”, as it's affectionately called, is home to some of the most affluent suburbs in Southern California, attracting the world's rich and famous and guaranteeing there is always something going on.
For families, theme parks like the Disneyland® Park, Disney's California Adventure® Park and Knott's Berry Farm® offer loads of entertainment options, while culture vultures can enjoy ballet and orchestral performances at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, or architectural wonders and inspiration of a more spiritual nature at the Crystal Cathedral. Those who just want to get away from the crowds can head back to nature at Crystal Cove State Park. And this is just a sample of the numerous, diverse activities you’ll find in the picturesque coastal area that covers almost 2500 square kilometres between Los Angeles to the north and San Diego to the south.
Laguna Beach is a charming spot that has inspired many artists for decades, and continues to be the home of an active, vibrant arts and crafts community. Why not give it a try yourself by heading to one of the art classes held every Friday and Saturday at Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Studios? Or if you prefer to appreciate art, rather than produce it yourself, visit the many galleries and museums the community has created.
Santa Ana is a great place for families to visit. The Bowers Museum is small in size but big on educating visitors about present and past global cultures, with a special section for kids. Get hands-on at the Discovery Science Center, known for its exhibits simulating rocket flights and earthquakes. At Santa Ana Zoo you can meet animals of all shapes and sizes, but don’t miss the monkey exhibit, which is the zoo’s area of expertise thanks to a requirement of its founder.
A 30-minute drive south from Santa Ana takes you to Mission San Juan Capistrano, a historical religious site founded in 1776 by a Spanish Catholic priest. If you want to look even further back in time, head over to Medieval Times, where you’ll be treated like royalty as you feast at a banquet and watch jousting tournaments.
Beaches are what Orange County does best, so make like a local and head to one of the glorious stretches of soft sand and sky-blue water. Huntington Beach is nicknamed “Surf City USA”, which tells you all you need to know, while its wealthy neighbour, Newport Beach, is home to shopping paradise, Fantasy Island. If you prefer simple pleasures, walk the trails of Crystal Cove State Park, where the views of the coastline offer perfect photo opportunities for your California adventure.