Outdoor activities in Orange County are plentiful and range from relaxing to adventurous. There are parks, beaches, and mountains to explore. Some of the more popular outdoor activities include surfing, hiking, biking, and kayaking.
No matter what your preference, there is an outdoor activity for you. Orange County is a hotbed for outdoor activities. There is something for every age group to enjoy for hours on end. Here are some of the best spots in the county to enjoy these activities.
Surfing is a popular activity for those living in Orange County. In the 1960s, the Beach Boys brought surfing to popularity with their hit song “Surfin’ USA.” Today, surfing is still a popular activity all over Orange County.
There are many spots around the county where you can go surfing, including Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Huntington is known as Surf City and has a dedicated boardwalk for surfers. Newport is also a popular spot to surf due to its great waves and warm water.
Hiking is also very popular in Orange County. Many parks have trails for hiking, including Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Hike. The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve hike is a 4 1/2 mile walk in Huntington Beach. This hike is filled with beautiful scenery and stunning wildlife. Just remember to bring plenty of water because temperatures can get extremely hot during the summer months.
If you enjoy biking or just want an alternative way of getting around on your vacation, consider renting a bike while visiting Orange County. Bicycles can be rented from many locations around the county, including many of the parks themselves. There are several designated bike paths around Orange County you can ride on as well as roads with less traffic than normal city streets so you don’t have to worry about cars zipping by you on your ride either.
4 Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach is a great spot for both surfing and hiking. The waves are excellent for beginners and experts alike. On the other hand, there are plenty of trails for both short hikes and long treks. Try to time your hike with the low tide so you can explore the tide pools.
5 Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake is perfect for skiing or snowboarding. The climate is great all year round, making it possible to go skiing even in the summer. There are lots of trails that are perfect for mountain biking or hiking as well. If that is not your preference, you can even enjoy a lazy walk along the trail.
6 Bowers Museum – Santa Ana
Bowers Museum is located in the heart of Orange County, California. This museum has a history that goes back to the 1920s. It has been visited by over 10 million visitors since it was founded. The museum offers an extensive variety of exhibits that are typically hands-on and interactive, so it is perfect for children and adults alike.
Some of the exhibits include:
- Ancient Egypt
- Art Around the World
- California Plein-Air Painting
- Chinese Ceramics Exhibit
- Collections Gallery
- Curator’s Office Gallery
- Early American Art & Culture Gallery
- Fine Arts Center Gallery & Sculpture Garden
- James Irvine Japanese Garden Pavilion (JIJP)
- Kids Zone (located in the Irvine Family Children’s Discovery Garden)
- Klee Plaza (located outside of the Collections Gallery)
- Lands and Peoples of Africa Exhibit (located in Curator’s Office Gallery)
- Lands and Peoples of Asia Exhibit (located in Curator’s Office Gallery)
- Lands and Peoples of Europe Exhibit (located in Curator’s Office Gallery)
- Lands and Peoples of Latin America Exhibit (located in Curator’s Office Gallery)
- Mexican Folk Art Collection (located in JIJP)
- Nature Connections: The Living World Exhibit (located in JIJP).
The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (62 years or older), $12 for students (12 years or older) with ID, $10 for children (3-11 years old), and free for children under 3 years old.
7 Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario
Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario is a sculpture and garden that was designed and constructed in the 1960s. It is located in the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. The sculpture and garden take up about 16 acres of land and it includes a pond, stone benches, and the Noguchi Garden Museum.
The sculpture was designed with a focus on the materials used to construct it. These include stone, water, plants, and earth. In addition to being a popular tourist destination for visitors from all over the world, the garden also serves as the perfect setting for weddings or other special occasions.
Noguchi was born in Los Angeles and he studied sculpture and design at the Otis Art Institute. He became a world-renowned artist and created many different types of art including paintings, sculptures, and furniture. He also designed public spaces.
Noguchi’s work is exhibited in many museums all over the world. He was the first fine arts advisor to Japan’s Imperial Household Agency. His first major commission was for a garden in Japan, which eventually led to his California Scenario sculpture and garden project.
8 Old Towne Orange
Old Towne Orange is a quaint area with a lot of the same charm as the city’s sister city, San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you’re seeking a little piece of Old World America, then Old Towne Orange is worth visiting. Here are some things to do in Old Towne Orange:
- Tour the historic homes and buildings that make up Old Towne’s historic district
- Visit one of the many antique shops in the area
- Eat at one of the many delicious restaurants
- Experience live music and theater performances at Theater Outlet Orange County
- Visit the Orange City Hall and the Orange Police Station
- Visit the Orange County Museum of Art and the Discovery Science Center
- Tour the Historic County Courthouse and Jail
- Visit the Orange Public Library
9 Dana Point Whale Watching
If you’re looking for a whale watching adventure in Southern California, look no further than exploring Dana Point whale watching. Whale watching season in Southern California is from December-April and comes on the heels of our coldest time of year when the ocean water is on average 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
During this season, the whale population increases to more than 20,000 animals and they travel south to warmer waters.
Dana Point is on the edge of where they migrate and it’s also a wonderful place to enjoy a little time at the beach. Some things you can do in Dana Point are:
- Visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
- Visit Laguna Beach or Huntington Beach
- Visit the Surf Museum
- Visit the Dana Point Farmers Market
- Go for a swim or some other water sport
- Dine at some of the excellent restaurants in town.
10 Laguna Beach Crescent Bay Tide Pools
Many people come to Laguna Beach for the gorgeous views and secluded beaches. But did you know there is a tide pool in Crescent Bay that is perfect for kids? Crescent Bay Tide Pools (also called Finger Cove) is the perfect place to explore with your kids.
It’s a great place for little ones to get their feet wet and learn about marine life. Here are some things you can do at Crescent Bay Tide Pools:
- Look at all the colorful sea anemones, urchins, and sponge crabs
- Get close to small fish in tide pools
- Stomp on the sand while it’s wet, so you can watch it harden into rock again
- Walk the trail to the far side of Crescent Bay, which has even more tide pools
- Go at low tide so you can see lots of sea life without having to wade through water
11 Huntington Beach Pier
Huntington Beach Pier is a great place to visit. It offers an amazing view of the coastline and is perfect for people watching. The pier also has several restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat before or after your stroll.
There are also many souvenir shops, which can be fun to browse through. A visit to the Huntington Beach Pier is the best thing to do in Huntington Beach.
The pier is located in the heart of downtown Huntington Beach. This is an extremely popular place to visit, so be sure to get there early.
There are a lot of souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars on the pier. Since the pier is a popular tourist attraction, there are many people on it at any given time. It’s a great place to people watch and has some fun.
Huntington Beach Pier is one of the most popular attractions in Orange County. The pier has been around for over 120 years and has been refurbished several times over the years. It’s a great place to take some amazing photos as well as enjoy a nice meal or have some drinks with friends.
12 Huntington Beach Pier Facts
The Huntington Beach Pier was originally built in 1894 and was destroyed by a storm in 1914. The current incarnation of the pier was rebuilt in 1915 and has been there ever since then. There have been many additions to the original pier over time including restaurants, hotels, surf shops, and more that can be enjoyed today.
Huntington Beach Pier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Orange County. It’s a great place to hang out with friends, have a nice meal or just enjoy the view.
Huntington Beach Pier is situated in the heart of downtown Huntington Beach and is extremely popular, so be sure to get there early, especially if you want to eat at one of the restaurants on the pier.
Huntington Beach Pier is open daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. During peak season it’s open until midnight. Parking around the pier can be difficult, so it may be easier to park in a parking lot in downtown Huntington Beach and walk. There are plenty of parking lots close by that charge between $5-$10 for parking.
13 Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm, a popular amusement park and theme park in Buena Park, California, offers plenty of things to see and do.
Guests can experience The Silver Bullet roller coaster, which is the first looping roller coaster to feature a single track.
This is the perfect ride for those who like to feel their adrenaline pumping. Aside from thrill rides, there are plenty of places to eat and drink at Knott’s Berry Farm. There are also many different types of thrilling shows that families can enjoy.
For those looking for something more relaxing, there are live shows and other performances that will be sure to please all guests.
There are many benefits to visiting Orange County. Orange County is full of attractions that are all within driving distance of each other.
There are many amusement parks, attractions, and beaches that are waiting to be explored by all residents and tourists. American history buffs can also find some fascinating places in the area.
Many people visit the area for the many theme parks that are located in the area. The most notable theme parks are Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Legoland. All of these parks are located in Anaheim, which is about 20 minutes away from Newport Beach. All three of these theme parks are very popular with families.
Some other great attractions to visit include Discovery Science Center, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and Wild Rivers Waterpark. There are also several golf courses located in Orange County.
These golf courses offer great views and a great way to spend a sunny day. These golf courses include The Links at Rancho California Golf Course and The Sherwood Country Club Golf Course.
The Packing District and Main place Mall offer great shopping and dining options among other things. There are also a variety of museums in the area including The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art and The Orange County Museum of Art.