Orange County is classic California, a place where the sun shines and the list of things to do is as long as your imagination. There’s a reason why Orange County, nicknamed simply The O.C., has captured the popular imagination. The Golden State seems a little more golden with California’s third-most populous county. More than 3 million people call The O.C. Home, putting Orange County just behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County. Orange County is so much more than the suburbs of Los Angeles; it moves to its own vibe, enjoys warm weather year-round, and boasts 42 miles of Pacific Ocean beaches—and it’s the home of Disneyland.
Orange Country Attractions
Orange Country Attractions Image: AngryJulieMonday (flickr)
Few tourist attractions are more famous than Disneyland. An instant hit since opening in the 1950s, the resort has grown to include much more than the original theme park. There’s also Downtown Disney, an entertainment district, along with several hotels and Disney’s California Adventures, a family-friendly theme park.
Another Orange County theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, also is popular with families and adventure seekers alike. But that’s just the beginning of things to do in Orange County. If you have an afternoon or a month, it doesn’t really matter because there is so much to do here. It’s best to find the things that interest you and make your plans to visit them.
Other popular attractions include the Crystal Cathedral, a place or worship, community center, and truly interesting place to visit. Along with Sunday services, the church is home to a visitors center. On Sunday, guided tours leave after the 11 a.m. service and are self guided during the week. Another church, the San Juan Capistrano Mission, has been standing since long before Orange County was incorporated. The only Mission in Orange County is now a museum, home to interesting exhibits, gardens, and tours. Every March, both visitors and small birds flock to the mission, the famous swallows of Capistrano.
Orange County was also the birthplace of the 37th president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon. The Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda remains a fascinating place to connect with history and learn more about the man and the era in which he was president.
Between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ana Mountains, Orange County is home to more than 30 cities and 15 unincorporated communities. Thee smallest city is Villa Park with fewer than 6,000 residents, and the populations go up from there. The biggest communities in Orange County also are the most visited. Santa Ana, nicknamed downtown Orange County, is home to a fantastic zoo, as well as a walkable downtown and the Discovery Science Center. Irvine is a throughout modern town with a state-of-the-art performing arts center, excellent golf, and birdwatching at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The largest city in Orange County is Anaheim, home to both Disneyland and the Anaheim Angels Major League Baseball team.
Orange County Beaches
Orange County Beaches
As iconic as the California sun, Orange County is home to some of the best California beaches. Of the 42 miles of beaches in the county, nearly all of them are open to the public. Whether you want to lounge in the sun, stroll a boardwalk, or go surfing, there will be a beach for you in Orange County. Beginning in the north, beaches stretch from Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Beach down to the south in Dana Beach and San Clemente.
Orange County Hotels & Resorts
Orange County Hotels & Resorts Image: Holiday Inn Laguna Beach
With so many cities and exciting attractions, it takes a lot of time to explore. If you’d like to turn a day trip into a full vacation, you won’t have a lot of trouble finding a place to say. Whatever your budget or style, there will be a hotel to suit. Nearly every brand and style of hotel is represented in Orange County, a full cross section of California hotels. There’s everything from beach resorts and luxury hotels to campgrounds and budget-friendly hotels, truly something for everybody.