Even before the popularity of some of Orange County’s popular TV shows like “The O.C.” or “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” people from across the world have had a fascination and obsession with visiting the beautiful communities of Orange County. From the beachy and artsy Laguna Beach to surfside USA in Huntington Beach, there are plenty of people who want to visit Orange County. But, as with any other city, knowing where to take visitors can be a hassle. No matter the tourist in your life, Orange County has lots of history, and of course, no visit would be complete without a day or more at one of the area’s white sandy beaches. These are the must-see places to take any visiting family member.
Los Rios Historic District
San Juan Capistrano Historical Society
31831 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
While it is a short distance from the popular Mission San Juan, Los Rios Historical District offers smaller crowds and is a unique place to visit. In fact, it’s not on every tourists’ must-see list, which makes it even more unique. Along a main unpaved street, visitors will find quaint cottages and 200-year-old adobes, which are nestled among the willows, bougainvillaea and cacti. Some of the houses are still lived in and not open for visits, while others are used as restaurants or art galleries. Still others reflect the history of the area. Among these is the Great Stone Church that displays the mingling of the cultures of the Acjachemen Indians and the Spanish. The Museum, which was once a private home built in 1880, now houses the offices of the SJC Historical Society. There is also a park where historic photographs are displayed on the garden wall.
701 S. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
Hart Park in Orange is the oldest and largest park in Orange County and a good place to take guests with very active kids. Boasting 45 acres of open space, there is an array of facilities to keep even the most active child entertained. From tennis courts, a swimming pool, baseball, softball, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, swings for the littlest ones, a picnic area with barbecue pits for you to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch, and in the summer, local performers put on a series of concerts in the park, it’s a must visit for any one coming to see what O.C. is all about.
San Clemente Pedestrian Beach Trail
North Beach Road
San Clemente, CA
Out of town guests can enjoy a walk along one of the most picturesque shorelines in Southern California, San Clemente’s 2.3-mile Pedestrian Beach Trail, which shares the corridor with Amtrak and Metrolink. On one side is the hillside of the town, and beyond the train tracks is the shoreline where waves gently wash ashore, or come crashing in, depending on the weather. Walkers can leave the trail when it reaches the San Clemente Pier and take a walk to the end to watch locals fishing. The Pedestrian Beach Trail can be used anytime during the year, by joggers, casual cyclists and dog owners, who are allowed to walk their pooches on a 6-foot or shorter leash.
Crystal Cove State Park
8471 Pacific Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Whether you’re a hiker or not, a visit to the Crystal Cove Park will take your breath away. With amazing scenery, you can choose to do less strenuous hikes, or take on more challenging ones. Or, simply go for the views and take a walk along the beach. You can even go camping here. It’s so close to the beach with just a 5 minute walk downhill that it makes for the perfect location. Get ready for some incredible beaches, sunsets and nature.
Duffy Boat Rentals of Newport Beach
2001 West Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 91913
The Pacific Ocean in Orange County and in Southern California plays a huge part in the life of all residents. Looking for a unique experience to show your out of towners? Your out-of-towners may have no clue what a Duffy is, and get a little white-knuckled when you tell them you’re captaining their cruise, but pour your guests a glass of wine at sea and they’ll thank you for the grand experience. Spend the day with Duffy Boat cruises and let you and your guests take command, steering your boat through the Newport Bay as you wish, at your own pace. Driving a Duffy is like driving a car on water, which means everybody can do it. Throughout your adventure, you’re likely to see seals, sea lions, and take the quintessential Southern California shots of the water.