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Best Beaches in Orange County

June 6, 2012 12:00 PM

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best orange county beaches Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)


No matter what the season the beaches in Orange County will put a smile on your face. Load up the convertible with all your crew and go cruisin’ down the coastline for a fun day in the sun. The OC beaches have beautiful landscaping and crystal clear water with the most secluded and pleasant local beaches being found in Laguna Beach. As a native to Orange County, I try to avoid the busier beaches and find that the local hidden gems often tend to be the better beaches to enjoy.
shaws cove kids Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

Goff Cove Beach

Located along the pathway in front of the Montage Resort
30801 South Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
More Info

This is the beach where my children spend every summer playing in the water. Most beachgoers stop at Treasure Island Beach, but just a little bit further down the path you will find my favorite hidden gem – Goff Beach. This beach is a snorkeling paradise complete with tide pools for the children to explore. This small cove has a lifeguard in the summer and usually no more than 50 visitors on a busy day. The tide is perfect for little children with most waves never peaking past one foot tall. There is an abundance of shells for children to collect, but they can’t come home since it is a protected beach. It can be a trek down the long staircase, so pack light. Spend the entire day on this relaxing cove style beach. This beach is a great place to launch a paddle board, kayak, or just enjoy a quiet summer afternoon.

crescent bay beach Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

Crescent Bay Beach

Beach access is off of Cliff Drive in Laguna Beach
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This is a local favorite where visitors might spot a celebrity or two relaxing under a beach umbrella. Parking can be a challenge with the beach being located within a residential area. I recommend arriving early to get a good parking, and bring a packed lunch. This beach has killer views, moderate surf and tide pools for the children. The water is so clear that swimmers can see the fish swimming around their feet! Since it’s popular to the local crowd, it can get a little busier on a summer weekend day, so weekdays are best for enjoying this beach.

painter on beach goff cove Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

Shaw’s Cove

Located at the end of Fairview Street and PCH in Laguna Beach
More Info

You can’t find a more secluded public beach in Orange County than Shaw’s Cove. My friends and I would head to Shaw’s Cove after our last high school class got out to see the most beautiful sea life while scuba diving. It is no surprise that Shaw’s has since become one of the most popular diving spots in Southern California. Its soft white sandy beaches, and crystal blue water make this one of the best local beaches for scuba diving or snorkeling.

1000 steps beach Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

1,000 Steps Beach

Located on PCH between 9th and 10th Streets in Laguna Beach.
More Info

I grew up in a house on Circle Drive overlooking the 1,000 Steps Beach. Since it was one of the first beaches that I grew up playing on, it holds a special place in my heart. The beach has become more popular over the years, but visitors can sometimes have a hard time finding it. The beach has killer waves and is super clean. Visitors will need to park along the busy PCH. Plan to arrive early to avoid having to walk long distances on the busy highway. I’m not going to lie – parking can be a mess, but after a day at this beach, it will be well worth it.

kids at lifeguard station brooks Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

Thalia Street Beach and Brooks Street

Brooks Street is located at the end of Brooks Street right off PCH.
Find Thalia Street beach by looking for the Thalia Street Surf Shop. There are neighboring stairs that descend down to the beach.
915 South Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
More Info – Thalia Street Beach
More Info – Brooks Street Beach

Looking for the best local beach to catch a wave? Whether you are a longboarder or a shortboarder, Thalia Street and Brooks Street beaches are ideal for catching the sweetest waves. These beaches are not ideal for building a sandcastle or getting buried in the sand. These beaches are the most popular local teen hangouts because of their sweet swells for surfing. Brooks Street is home to the Summer Surf Classic. If you are not a surfer, yet want to catch some action, enjoy the views from the bluffs above the beach.

common beaches Best Beaches in Orange County

(credit: Shelby Barone)

The Common Orange County Beaches

Salt Creek Beach
33333 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, Ca 92629

Crystal Cove State Beach
8471 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Balboa Peninsula Beach
Channel Road and Miramar in Newport Beach

Aliso Creek Beach
31131 Coast Hwy. in South Laguna

Laguna Main Beach
PCH & Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach

Huntington State beach
21601 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Huntington Beach, Ca 92646

Little Corona
PCH and Poppy Avenue in Corona del Mar

Shelby Barone is a freelance writer in Orange County. You can keep up with her adventures around Orange County on Twitter @Glitterfulfelt.
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