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What are the best things to do in Orange County?

Orange County, California is known for its beautiful beaches, sunny weather, and endless activities. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, there’s always something fun and exciting to do in Orange County. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, this guide will cover the best things to do in Orange County, especially during the summer months.

Summer Activities in Orange County

Hit the Beach

No trip to Orange County is complete without a visit to one of its many stunning beaches. With over 40 miles of coastline, there’s a beach for every preference. For a more laid-back vibe, head to Laguna Beach or San Clemente. For a livelier atmosphere, check out Huntington Beach or Newport Beach. And for a family-friendly option, try Corona Del Mar or Crystal Cove State Park.

Explore Disneyland

No matter your age, Disneyland is a must-visit destination in Orange County. This iconic theme park is filled with thrilling rides, delicious food, and magical experiences. During the summer, Disneyland also hosts special events like the Pixar Fest and the Main Street Electrical Parade. Be sure to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

Visit Knott’s Berry Farm

For a more budget-friendly theme park option, check out Knott’s Berry Farm. This amusement park has a variety of rides, shows, and attractions for all ages. During the summer, they also have a water park called Knott’s Soak City, perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Don’t forget to try their famous boysenberry pie while you’re there.

Go Whale Watching

Orange County is home to some of the best whale watching in the world. Dana Wharf Whale Watching, located in Dana Point, offers daily tours to see these majestic creatures up close. During the summer months, you may even spot blue whales, the largest animals on the planet. Don’t forget your camera for this unforgettable experience.

Attend a Concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre

The Pacific Amphitheatre, located in Costa Mesa, is a popular outdoor concert venue that hosts a variety of artists throughout the summer. From country to rock to pop, there’s a concert for every music lover. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy a night under the stars while listening to your favorite tunes.

Go Hiking

Orange County has many beautiful hiking trails for all levels of experience. For a moderate hike with stunning views, try the Top of the World trail in Laguna Beach. For a more challenging hike, check out the Holy Jim Falls trail in Trabuco Canyon. And for a family-friendly option, try the Redwood Grove Loop in Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

Here are the most scenic hiking trails in Orange County!

Visit the Orange County Fair

The Orange County Fair is a beloved summer tradition for locals and visitors alike. This annual event features carnival rides, games, live music, and of course, delicious fair food. Don’t miss out on the famous deep-fried Oreos or the giant turkey legs. The fair also hosts special events like concerts, rodeos, and demolition derbies.

Spend a Day at the Irvine Spectrum Center

The Irvine Spectrum Center is a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment center in Orange County. In addition to a variety of stores and restaurants, the Spectrum also has a movie theater, a ferris wheel, and a carousel. During the summer, they also host free outdoor concerts and movie nights.

Orange County Activities

Visit the Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historic landmark and museum that offers a glimpse into California’s past. This mission was founded in 1776 and is known as the “Jewel of the Missions”. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or join a docent-led tour to learn about the history and culture of the area.

San Juan Capistrano, California - Wikipedia

Explore the Orange County Great Park

The Orange County Great Park, located in Irvine, is a 1,300-acre park that offers a variety of activities for all ages. From a carousel and a balloon ride to sports fields and a farmers market, there’s something for everyone at this park. During the summer, they also host special events like outdoor movies and concerts.

Visit the Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum, located in Santa Ana, is a world-renowned museum that showcases art and artifacts from around the world. Their permanent collection includes pieces from Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. They also have rotating exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. Don’t miss their beautiful gardens and courtyard.

Go Shopping at South Coast Plaza

South Coast Plaza is a luxury shopping destination in Orange County, with over 250 stores and restaurants. From high-end designer brands to more affordable options, this mall has it all. During the summer, they also have special events like fashion shows and live music performances.

Take a Balboa Island Ferry Ride

The Balboa Island Ferry, located in Newport Beach, is a fun and unique way to explore the area. This ferry has been in operation since 1919 and takes passengers on a short ride across the Newport Bay. Once on the island, you can explore the charming shops and restaurants or take a walk along the waterfront.

Visit the Orange County Zoo

The Orange County Zoo, located in Irvine Regional Park, is a small but charming zoo that is perfect for families with young children. This zoo is home to animals native to the southwestern United States, including black bears, mountain lions, and bald eagles. They also have a petting zoo and a train ride for kids.

OC Zoo Improvement Project | OC Parks

Go Wine Tasting in Temecula

Temecula, located just outside of Orange County, is known for its beautiful wineries and vineyards. Spend a day exploring the area and sampling some of the best wines in Southern California. Many wineries also offer tours and tastings, making for a fun and educational experience.

Orange County has something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences. Whether you’re looking for a fun day at the beach or a relaxing afternoon at a winery, Orange County has it all. So next time you’re in the area, be sure to check out some of these top activities and make the most of your time in this beautiful and vibrant county.