Home to beaches, culture, innovative foods and theme parks galore, Orange County has plenty to offer when it comes time to plan 24 hours of fun. With views and experiences that can’t be beat, start your day at the coastline before heading inland to seek out some animals, go shopping and see a show. Then it’s back to the coast for dinner before closing out the night in a special way, with Disney.
beachcomber ashley ryan Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Ashley Ryan)


Breakfast at The Beach
The Beachcomber Cafe
Newport Coast
(949) 376-6900

There’s nothing like dining next to the beach as the waves roll in, especially in the golden morning light. The Beachcomber Café is by far the cutest place to do so in Orange County so stop by for over-the-top avocado toast, delicious steak chilaquiles or the breakfast pizza. For a sweet treat either before or after your meal, consider the massive fruit platter with Greek vanilla yogurt or the eatery’s famous beignets. Make sure to snag a patio seat so you can take in the view, but don’t be afraid to grab one of the Beachcomber’s blankets if the breeze gets cold.

water sports bliss paddle yogakickstand photography Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Bliss Paddle Yoga/Kickstand Photography)


Get Out on the Water
Bliss Paddle Yoga
Laguna Beach
(949) 529-4242

While you’re near the coastline, take advantage of the gorgeous scenery and the array of water-related activities you can do nearby. Just down the coastline in Laguna Beach, Bliss Paddle Yoga offers standup paddleboard rentals so you can explore the local coves and marine protected areas. Another option is to sign up for one of the company’s on-the-water yoga classes, which require an extra bit of balance and have an added thrill compared to yoga on land. Other water sports you can try in Orange County include surfing, parasailing, snorkeling, jet skiing, kayaking and windsurfing.

laguna art museum laguna art museum Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

Credit: Laguna Art Museum)


Look at Local Art
Laguna Art Museum
Laguna Beach
(949) 494-8971

There are so many spots you can view art in Orange County but the Laguna Art Museum is the ideal place for two major reasons. First of all, the city is known for its association with the artists, having established a prominent artist colony and community a century ago. But, on top of that, the museum focuses on California art, meaning that everything you find inside is going to be from an artist with a connection to the state. As the “LA/LA: Pacific Standard Time” exhibitions wrap up, expect to find an array of showcases, workshops and parties to celebrate the museum’s anniversary in 2018.

shutterstock 100973578 Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(credit: shutterstock)


Get Tacos for Lunch
Wahoo’s Fish Taco
Orange
(714) 289-1579

After a morning filled with surf, sand and sun, it’s only natural to keep the California lifestyle going with some stellar fish tacos. And what better place for that than Wahoo’s? The Costa Mesa-based company is one of the best spots in the region for tacos, allowing visitors to choose their own protein. While you can select grilled or Cajun fish or sautéed shrimp, other options include grilled or Cajun chicken, braised carnitas, grilled carne asada and even sautéed tofu, offering something for those of all tastes.

santa ana zoo ashley ryan Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Ashley Ryan)


View Wildlife
Santa Ana Zoo
Santa Ana
(714) 836-4000

While Orange County doesn’t have a large zoo like Los Angeles or San Diego, the 20-acre zoo at Prentice Park in Santa Ana is always a good place to visit. Home to an array of animals mainly from Central and South America, the zoo has more than 120 different species including Nigerian dwarf goats, ocelots, boa constrictors, black-necked swans and more. The real appeal of the Santa Ana Zoo is the vast number of monkeys that live within. Guests can also visit the gift shop, ride the miniature train or wind their way through a rainforest maze.

south coast plaza south coast plaza Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: South Coast Plaza)


Shop for Designer Clothes
South Coast Plaza
Costa Mesa
(800) 782-8888

Known around the world as one of the most iconic shopping destinations in the world, South Coast Plaza is one of the few malls in the United States to feature such an impressive collection of designer stores under one roof. In addition to department stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, the shopping complex is home to Dior, Gucci, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Balenciaga and many more. For an afternoon of splurging, this is the ideal shopping destination.

segerstrom center matthew murphy Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Matthew Murphy)


Catch a Live Show
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Costa Mesa
(714) 556-2787

This performing arts center is, hands down, the best place to see a show in Orange County. In addition to the lavish environment and stunning décor, the shows that grace the Segerstrom stage tend to be incredibly top-notch. Catch a matinee before dinner as you’re exploring the region. There are a variety of well-known Broadway dramas and musicals that pass through Costa Mesa, but the center is also home to plenty of concerts, ballets, Pacific Symphony performances, festivals and other events to delight visitors.

lsxo simon nicholls Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Simon Nicholls)


Enjoy a Fancy Dinner
LSXO
Huntington Beach
(714) 374-0083

For a glamorous dinner right here in O.C., visit LSXO. The innovative Southeast Asian eatery is a restaurant-within-a-restaurant, located within the larger Bluegold restaurant at Pacific City. Enter the unmarked door near the wine room and you’ll find yourself in LSXO. The culture and heritage of Vietnam is displayed within the interior, reminiscent of Chef Tin Vuong’s own lineage. With subtle Chinese influences, the menu features everything from beef tartare to imperial rolls to salt and pepper lobster.

downtown disney paul hiffmeyerdisneyland Best Ways To Spend 24 Hours In Orange County

(Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)


Find Late-Night Entertainment
Downtown Disney
Anaheim
(714) 781-4565

While there may not be enough time to brave the Disneyland crowds when you’re trying to make the most of 24 hours in Orange County, heading to Downtown Disney after dinner is the perfect way to end the day. Grab an ice cream for dessert at Haagen-Dazs and enjoy it while watching the fireworks show from outside the theme park gates. Then, stop by Tortilla Jo’s for a few margaritas before enjoying a late-night movie or some shopping at the many Downtown Disney boutiques. Another option is to hit up the ESPN Zone for drinks over sports recaps. However you choose to spend the evening, there’s nothing more magical than Disney to provide a great end to the night.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.

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