Guide to the Best Orange County Beaches

A look at the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.

When you think of Orange County, the first thing that may pop into your head are the beaches. 

With a large number of amazing beaches within minutes from most surrounding cities, there’s hardly an excuse for not being able to visit them.

Orange County has great weather essentially all year round and this place seemingly doesn’t ever have noticeable seasons changes. 

You can visit the beach in both summer and in the winter, and the temperatures won’t vary that much. It’s one thing that we’re extremely lucky to have and surely don’t take for granted.

We wanted to explore four of the best beaches that Orange County has to offer and share with you some insights and information into what makes each one unique. 

While you may not be able to visit every beach on this list, it’s a good start to know what’s around and where you may want to visit first.

Let’s dive in.

Laguna Beach

The city of Laguna Beach in itself is an awesome place to visit, even minus the beach. This town feels like it’s own secluded community due to the relaxed vibe of the city and the sheer amount of things you can do here. From boutique shops, art galleries, amazing restaurants, and great surf, this place has it all.

One of the notable, secret areas of Laguna Beach includes Thousand Steps Beach which is a set of stairs that leads down to one area the beach. There aren’t literally one thousand steps by the way, but there are over two hundred. Many people run up and down these steps for a workout.

What makes this beach special is that it has an artistic feel to it. There are many art galleries, museums, and exhibits that showcase local talent and are open to the public. 

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters is a popular attraction that’s held here. There are also kayak, bike and beach tours held here regularly. 

Newport Beach

While Newport Beach is known its landmarks, outdoor activities, surfing, upscale shopping, and crisp ocean breeze, it’s also home to the Balboa Peninsula and harbors filled with incredible boats and amazing views of the water. 

Once a year during Christmas time in December there is a boat parade that runs through Newport Harbor, and it’s a can’t miss attraction. Boat owners deck out their boats of all sizes with lights and decorations looking to ooh and aah the crowd. 

While the nautical feel is a true element that defines Newport Beach, this city is also a shopper’s dream, home to world-class outdoor shopping malls Fashion Island, Newport Coast Shopping Center and Crystal Cove Shopping Center

Newport Beach is known for myriad restaurants and bars and is a popular destination for young adults. 

There is plenty to do in Newport Beach no matter if you’re looking to hang out for a couple of hours or for the whole day. 

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach sits between Newport Beach and Long Beach and is a popular destination for tourists, locals, and anyone looking to soak up the sun and get their shopping in.

HB is home to the US Open of Surfing and is one of the most popular attractions in Orange County during the summer. While you watch world-class surfers compete for the grand prize, you can walk around the assortment of tents on the sand that are serving food, selling apparel, and other items. 

The Huntington Beach Pier is a hot spot in the city that is perfect for walking across and looking out at the ocean and the horizon. There is Ruby’s restaurant at the end of the pier that you can enjoy and see some amazing views from the windows.

Much like Newport Beach, Huntington Beach is prime for adults in their 20’s and 30s due to the number of bars, restaurants, and clothing shops. 

Rent a beach cruiser or take a stroll in Huntington Beach to enjoy the sights, people watching, and true experience of Orange County.

San Clemente

San Clemente is a city located in south Orange County, and it’s known for its awesome beaches and even more amazing surf. San Onofre and Trestles are famous state beaches in San Clemente that many can vouch for with consistently great conditions for surfing.

What makes this city an attractive one besides the ocean is the city itself. San Clemente, also known as ‘The Spanish Village by the Sea’, has Spanish influenced architecture that has an old-world look but with a modern vibe.

The city does a great job of maintaining the original vibe so as to not to seem too overdeveloped.

With some of the best restaurants, breweries, hiking trails and even optimal whale watching conditions in Orange County, you’ll have your hands full when spending your time here.


Staying in Orange County and looking the perfect way to spend your day or weekend? The Hotel ATRIUM is conveniently located directly across the street from John Wayne Airport and just a short distance from Orange County beaches. If you’re looking for even more things to do around Orange County during your stay, check out our attractions page. Book your Orange County stay with Hotel Atrium today!


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