Orange County Beaches

Orange County Beaches

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is located along some of the most beautiful beaches in California. A unique feature that Laguna has to offer is the lush tidepool communities found interspersed along the rocky coves. Each tidepool reveals an entire world of marine life that is only a few steps from the shore. Surfing and skimboarding are popular activities among locals and visitors, and Main Beach is where everyone converges on the basketball courts, volleyball courts, downtown shops and restaurants. Crystal Cove State Park is just north of Laguna Beach, featuring a more rustic nature that is prime for overnight camping, mountain biking, and scuba diving.

Balboa Island (Newport)

Balboa Island is located in Newport Harbor, and offers entertainment from yacht ogling to carnival rides. Balboa Island is actually a peninsula that supports the densest community in Orange County, meaning homes and businesses are within a close proximity to one another making it easily navigable by bicycle or walking. Get a closer look at unique and eccentric homes and their histories by taking a harbor tour or float on your own time via kayak or boat rental. During the holidays, the boat parade and light decorations far exceed traditional festivities that rival Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation. Other sources of history and entertainment include the Balboa Island Museum, waterfront Ferris wheel and specialty shops that line the water.

Huntington Beach & Pier

Huntington Beach, dubbed “Surf City USA,” is the summer hot spot for any beach sport on sand or water. Downtown Huntington Beach hosts a lively center of bars, restaurants and shopping venues on Main Street that leads directly to the pier where one can get a closer look at surfers dropping into waves or may catch a glimpse of dolphins doing the same. Surf competitions are held in September and are open to local residents. There is also free fishing and a bait shop with wash basins for cleaning fish. Beach volleyball courts are clustered near the pier, where anyone is free to play a game and is often used for competitions. The Pier Plaza is located on the north side of the pier, which is a public space of terraced steps that lead to a grassy turf area where kids play, summer concerts are held or impromptu drum circles tend to spring up. The tiled mural wall depicts the story of Huntington Beach history. Lining the beach is a multi-use path that connects from Seal Beach clear to Newport Beach, and is frequented by cyclists, rollerbladers, and joggers. Come to Huntington Beach to play or to merely bathe in the southern California sun.

Dana Point

Dana Point beaches consist of Capistrano Beach, Doheny State Beach, and Salt Creek Beach, each with its attributes. Capistrano Beach is a developed stretch of coast that provides volleyball and basketball courts, a multi-use path, and concession stands that supply fishing gear, food, and beachgoer necessities. Doheny State Beach is known for its tidepools and surfing. This beach also has a campground that boasts 121 campsites, 170 picnic tables and 99 barbecues – a site built for the perfect beach weekend with family and friends. Salt Creek Beach is also a prime surf spot that is frequented by board-riders, body surfers and swimmers alike. The park terrain consists of sandy beaches, rocky outcroppings and crumbling cliff faces.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a mile-long community located on the Pacific Coast Highway between Huntington Beach and Surfside. The beach is lined with houses, hotels, shops and restaurants. There is a bike path sandwiched between these developments and the sand that attracts cyclists and joggers. The beach is also patrolled by lifeguards.

Bolsa Chica Beach

Across the Pacific Coast Highway from the Bolsa Chica Wetlands lies Bolsa Chica State Beach that extends from Sunset Beach to Seapoint Avenue. This beach is noted for its popularity among surf fishing and California grunion runs, which is a unique species of fish that spawn on the shore of Southern California beaches. This area is also known for a softer wave for swimmers or for those who are new to surfing. This beach is popular among RV campers who come for the year-round campgrounds that offer fire rings, basketball courts and picnic areas.

San Clamente Beach

San Clemente State Beach offers some of the most liberal beach hours in Orange County, where they are open from 4am to midnight. This beach was also ranked one of the best waves to surf in OC. This makes it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, where over 2 million people visit San Clemente each year. San Clemente beach is a favorite among surfers and families with children.

Corona Del Mar

Corona del Mar State Beach is a half mile long sandy beach bordered by cliffs and a rock jetty that saddles up to Newport Harbor. The Corona del Mar community is a neighborhood located in Newport Beach and is popular among surfers, divers, swimmers, dog walkers, and moms with strollers. The village contains many restaurants, antique stores and galleries that are popular hang outs among locals and visitors alike.

Seal Beach

Seal Beach is a small seaside community located at the mouth of Alamitos Bay in northern Orange County. Old Town Seal Beach has a cute downtown that features a pier, sandy beach, and low key shops. There is no surfing permitted on the south side of the Seal Beach Pier during the summer months, and all aquatic sports (i.e. windsurfing, kite surfing, and kayaking) are restricted from all beaches except for the area between Second and Fourth street.


Surfside is a small gated community located south of Seal Beach. This is a great place to come if you are looking for raw beach, as there are no stores, restaurants, nor is there much parking. This strip of sand has a private feel to it, but it is open to the public. Access to the beach is best gained by foot after parking in Sunset Beach near the water tower house.