(credit: Marynka Mandarinka/shutterstock)
Southern California has some of the most spectacular views in the country. Part of the adventure is finding those special observation points where you can take it all in. Orange County locals can count on beautiful panoramic views of the coast line, “the Sinks” in Limestone Canyon and the eye-catching firework show hosted by Disneyland at various locations right here in the OC backyard.
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center
2301 University Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Take in the beautiful sounds and scenes of Orange County at the Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center situated in the the Newport Bay Conservancy. Locals say this is one of OC’s best kept secrets, but the secret is more out than not. Visitors have the opportunity to scope out panoramic views of the Bay, take guided walking and water tours, hike along the bluffs, and explore the educational center’s exhibits, displays and special programs. Note that the Center is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission and parking are free.
Orange Hill Restaurant
6410 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
Whether you are having one of Orange Hill Restaurant’s magical meals or not, you will have one of the most memorable views of Southern California. The premiere restaurant is located in the hills of Orange County. Take the scenic view in as you drive up the winding road. Once you make the climb up, park the car and take a look at your surroundings. You’ll be mesmerized by California’s coastline, Disneyland (at night you can often see the park’s firework show), Downtown L.A. and even Catalina Island. Orange Hill Restaurant is one of the most special places to dine. The outside deck offers a beautiful place to share a meal while overlooking beautiful views.
Limestone Canyon Observation Deck
Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
Referred to as the mini-Grand Canyon of Orange County, the Limestone Canyon is a breathtaking destination of live thick oak woodlands, a lush canyon, wonderful wilderness, year-round springs known as “Dripping Springs,” and “the Sinks.” It’s a favorite hiking area among locals. “The Sinks” is both a viewing deck and a natural geological formation that gives way to diverse plants and animals. To access this area of Limestone Canyon, it is essential that you visit Irvine Ranch Conservancy to register online. Once you register, the rangers will specify the trailhead location.
Related: Best Hiking Trails In Orange County
375 Cliff Dr.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Overlooking the bluffs at Heisler Park is a lot to take in. The ocean views, the bluff side and rocky shores can be quite grounding, if that is what you are seeking. The bluffs along Cliff Dr. in Laguna Beach comprise Heisler Park, which was named after Howard G. Heisler, a local who bought the property back in 1905. Since then millions of people have enjoyed the oceanfront view gathering for picnics, grilling, viewing July 4th fireworks and a wonderful community space. The park also features a stairway down to the beaches, coves and tide pools. Other park highlights include art sculptures and The Veterans Monument.
Paradise Pier Hotel
1717 S. Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92802
The scenic pool deck on the 3rd floor of Paradise Pier Hotel, amid Disney Resorts and downtown Disney, is one of the best locations to take in the Disney California Adventure Park and hustle and bustle of downtown Anaheim. Specifically, from the Paradise Pier Hotel pool deck you can watch the Disneyland fireworks. Visitors can see Hollywood Tower of Terror, California Screamin’ and Mickey’s Fun Ferris Wheel, which also serves as another Orange County observation location, if you aren’t too scared of heights.