Now filled with winding freeways, McMansions, and giant shopping centers, Orange County is actually an extremely historic location filled with interesting stories and anecdotes. Countless individuals and events were vital in shaping the OC as we know and love it today. Continue reading to learn more about this Southern California County and educate yourself on all of the little-known facts about the area.
Top 15 Orange County Fun Facts
1. It’s a World-Class Surfing Destination
Orange County is home to the aptly named “Surf City” U.S.A, which is otherwise known as Huntington Beach. This oceanside city hosts the U.S. Open of Surfing every year drawing in millions of visitors. Huntington is great, but there are so many other world-class albeit crowded surf spots in the O.C. like Trestles, Salt Creek, Newport Beach, and plenty more.
2. Countless Celebrities Call Orange County Home
Located a short drive from Los Angeles, Orange County boasts countless celebrities who live or have lived in the area. Some of the most well-known include Tiger Woods, Gwen Stefani, Will Ferrell, Steve Martin, and plenty more.
3. Orange County’s Past is full of Pirates
Orange County used to be home to pirates! Back in 1818, a feared man named Bouchard sailed from Argentina all the way up to the OC. He departed on to land along with his crew and they looted the Mission San Juan Capistrano where they drank all the boos and cleaned out their food.
4. Orange County is Featured in Countless Hollywood TV Shows & Movies
The OC is a popular spot for filming some of the most well-known Hollywood shows and movies. Some pieces film at least in part in Orange County are Ocean’s Eleven (scenes at UCI), Jerry Maguire (scenes at John Wayne Airport), Savages (Laguna Beach), Catch Me if You Can (shot at the Old County Courthouse Santa Ana), Rain Man (scene shot at the Santa Ana Train Station), American Sniper (Seal Beach), and plenty more.
5. The Wild West Was Alive and Well in Orange County
Back around 1850, Orange County was a town full of thieves and criminals. One of the most well-known robbers was Juan Flores whose gang killed a sheriff and made a living stealing from innocent residents.
6. Orange County is Presidential
The OC is often associated with Richard Milhous Nixon who grew up in Yorba Linda. He is now buried in the Richard Nixon Library also located in Orange County. This makes him the one and only president both born and buried in Orange County.
7. The OC is Home to 34 Incorporated Cities
Orange County is the second-most densely populated county in California and the 6th most populous in the United States of America. Therefore there are over 200 elected city officials.
8. It’s a Paradise for Theme Park Lovers
Orange County is obviously the birthplace of the world-famous Walt Disney World in Anaheim, but it’s also home to the historic Knott’s Berry Farms in Buena Park. This makes Orange County a must-visit destination for any young family.
9. Garden Grove Boasts One of the Largest Vietnamese Populations in the United States
Vietnamese Americans make up 27.7% of the population of Garden Grove, which makes it the largest Vietnamese population in a California city.
10. John Wayne Airport Follows Noise Abatement Procedures
Residents living in nearby Newport Beach complained so much that there is now a strict noise ordinance as planes climb into the air. Due to this, flights out of John Wayne are required to take off much steeper than normal. This quick takeoff has landed John Wayne Airport as one of the scariest airports to take off from in the United States.
11. Little Saigon is a Must Visit
Little Saigon makes up three square miles in the hear of Orange County. It’s the largest Little Saigon in the United States and is split between Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Fountain Valley.
12. Orange County is a Master Planned Marvel
The OC boasts 4 different master-planned communities on the list of the Nation’s top-selling. Included in the report are Irvine Ranch, Great Park Neighborhoods (Irvine), Rancho Mission Viejo in San Juan Capistrano, Baker Ranch (Lake Forest).
13. The OC is Home to Some of the Wealthiest Companies in the U.S.
Orange County is home to multiple Fortune 500 Companies in industries like healthcare, science, technology, clothing, banking, insurance, and plenty more. Some of these amazing companies include The Walt Disney Company, Mazda (regional headquarters), KIA (regional headquarters), Samsung (regional headquarters), and Hyundai (regional headquarters). Some of the other famous companies located in Orange County are Hurley, Oakley, Vans, and In-N-Out.
14. It Claims Over 40 Miles of Pristine Coastline
Orange County has40 miles of coastline that passes through seven different cities as well as three major state beaches and a couple of county beaches. What’s even better is that all of the beaches have their own charm, landscape, and culture.
15. The Name Orange County was Meant to Lure Immigrants Into the Area
The name Orange County was chosen to portray the bountiful farmland in the Mediterranean climate in order to drive residents and businesses into the area.
Staying in Orange County and looking to learn more about this iconic Southern California location? The Hotel ATRIUM is conveniently located directly across the street from John Wayne Airport and close to every major destination and event in the OC. 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!