Skip to Content

52 Best Things to Do in Orange County, California

52 Best Things to Do in Orange County, California

Searching for things to do in Orange County? The sunny Southern California county is more than beaches and theme parks (though there are plenty of those as well). Art, culture, history, rugged adventure, and entertainment are happening everywhere.

Located between Los Angeles to the north and San Diego to the south along California’s Pacific Coast, Orange County is bordered by Los Alamitos, La Habra, Modjeska Canyon, and San Clemente. Long Beach is just a hop, skip, and jump away.

The well-known cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, and Seal Beach are all in Orange County.

The region offers a wide selection of activities, attractions, and outdoor recreation (not to mention a stunning West Coast California sunset) for families, couples, and group travelers. Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, take a minute to check out some of these fun things to do in Orange County.

TL;DR

There’s a lot to do in Orange County (and a LOT of things to choose from in this list!) Want to know the best of the best in O.C. right now? Your search is over!

  • Most Magnificent Landmark: Redwood Trail Grove
  • Park to visit: Heisler Park
  • Free Thing to do: Laguna Beach
  • Activity for kids: Disneyland Park
  • Activity for adults: Santa Catalina Island
  • Place to eat: Comedor
  • Nightlife: Mozambique
  • Place to stay: Wyndham Anaheim

Things to Do in Orange County & Places to Visit

1. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Entrance
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886, United States

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library, in Yorba Linda, is the official library and museum – as well as the burial site – of the former (37th) president. Visitors can tour his actual farmhouse birthplace, his Marine One helicopter, and exhibits on the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

The Orange County, California, site hosts events such as blood drives, 5Ks, luncheons, and special exhibits on topics such as the National Cancer Act, Nixon’s Environmental Legacy, and Women Leading the Way.

Read Also: Things to Do in Los Angeles

2. Redwood Grove Trail

Redwood Grove Trail

Address: Redwood Grove Loop Trail, Felton, CA 95018, USA

You won’t often see redwoods in Southern California, but Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea is where you can see them. Walk among giant redwoods and California walnut trees at the 10-acre redwood grove.

It’s one of our favorite outdoor activities in Orange County. It’s a 2.5-mile round-trip hike to the grove. Bring your binoculars and look for western bluebirds, California quail, and other feathered creatures on your walk.

See Related: Tips for Beating Post-Travel Blues

3. Olinda Oil Museum and Trail

Olinda Oil Museum and Trail
Image by AllTrails

Address: 4025 E Santa Fe Rd, Brea, CA 92823, United States

History buffs in your crew will enjoy visiting the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail, a 12-acre park and museum featuring the sights and sounds of the area’s ties to the oil industry.

Check out vintage oil equipment, a former field office building, a jack line pump, and the original Olinda Oil Well Number One. There’s a two-mile hiking trail that winds around the site.

See Related: Things to Do in Vista

4. Fullerton Arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum

Address: 1900 Associated Rd, Fullerton, CA 92831, United States

The 26-acre Fullerton Arboretum is home to many plants, including flowers, beautiful gardens, and many local wildlife. A restored cottage house also serves as a museum and a look into Orange County’s agricultural past.

Learn about garden pollinators and take sunset strolls with garden experts. It’s free to visit Fullerton Arboretum, and well worth it.

See Related: Best Waterfalls in California

5. Laguna Lake Park

Laguna Lake Park

Address: 3120 Lakeview Dr, Fullerton, CA 92835, United States

Open since 1952, Laguna Lake Park is a 28.5-acre green space with a lake for reeling in (or at least trying to reel in) bass, rainbow trout, and bluegill. There are picnic areas, a restroom, and walking trails too. If that weren’t enough, there’s an equestrian center with riding rings, show rings, and seating for shows.

See Related: Things to Do in Irvine

6. Knott’s Berry Farm

Berry Farm

Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620, United States

I was wondering where to go with kids in Orange County. Look no further than the local theme parks.

Knott’s Berry Farm is famous for fried chicken, bunches of boysenberries, and roller coasters. Don’t forget those thrilling, looping, swooping, and diving coasters like Pony Express, Sierra Sidewinder, GhostRider, and Hang Time.

Themed areas of the park include an 1800s Old West ghost town, a Spanish fiesta village, and a boardwalk. Keep an eye out for everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy!

See Related: Best Restaurants in Dana Point

7. Knott’s Soak City Water Park

Address: 8200 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620, United States

Part of the Knott’s Berry Farm family but a separate park with a separate admission, Knott’s Soak City Water Park is one of the best places to visit in Orange County for slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and fun for little ones. It sits on 15 acres and is themed to the spirit of Southern Cali surf and sand.

8. Knott’s California Marketplace

The Marketplace at Knott's Berry Farm Amusement Park
teve Cukrov / Adobe Stock

Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620, United States

For shopping and dining, Knott’s California Marketplace is a great place for the whole family to visit in Orange County. Even if you don’t set foot into the theme park, you won’t want to miss a stop at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

It’s only the thing that started the whole marketplace back in 1934. Pick up Knott’s Berry Farm jams, jellies, and other sweet treats while you’re there.

See Related: Disney Vacation Club Review

9. Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park

Address: Anaheim, CA 92802, United States

The park that started it all. Disneyland Park is one of the best places to visit in O.C., whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart. Walk down Main Street USA and visit New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Relive your childhood on rides such as the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and the Haunted Mansion!

10. Disney California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure Park

Address: Anaheim, CA 92802, United States

Home to Cars Land, Pixar Pier, and Avenger’s Campus, Disney California Adventure Park (DCA) is one of the best Orange County tourist attractions for families, couples, and singles of all ages.

Spend the day riding roller coasters and family-friendly rides like the Incredicoaster, Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin’ Around the World, and the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Plus, you can find booze here, which you can’t say for Disneyland!

See Related: How to Get Discount Disney Tickets

11. Downtown Disney District

Address: Anaheim, CA 92802, United States

Check out the Downtown Disney District for shopping, dining, and entertainment. You can pick up souvenirs at Star Wars Outpost or the LEGO Store, listen to jazz at Flambeaux’s Jazz Club, or go bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Dining options include Wetzel’s Pretzels, La Brea Bakery Café, and Naples Ristorante e Bar.

12. Breakfast at the Original Pancake House

Breakfast at the Original Pancake House

Address: 1418 E Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, CA 92805, United States

An Anaheim staple since 1958, the Original Pancake House is where you’ll want to start your Disney day.

Dine indoors or out on a wide variety of selections such as Swedish, German, and Dutch pancakes and traditional and buckwheat pancakes, or works like bacon, eggs, omelets, crepes, and more! Prefer waffles? They’ve got that too!

13. Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium

Address: 2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806, United States

Angel Stadium, home to MLB’s Los Angeles Angels, opened in 1966. In addition to sporting events, the stadium has hosted concerts by Pink Floyd, Madonna, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, NSYNC, Kenny Chesney, and U2. Check events and prices on Stubhub for last-minute tickets.

14. O.C. Brewery Tours

OC Brewery Tours

Orange County sightseeing can tire you out. Sometimes, you need to take a break. Leave the driving and traffic to someone else as you visit, taste, and sample the best of Orange County’s craft beer scene with O.C. brewery tours.

A few stops on O.C. brewery tours could include Laguna Beach Beer Co., Drift Distillery, Left Coast Brewing Co., or the Brewing Reserve of California.

See Related: What is the Cheapest Way to Travel Across the U.S.?

15. The Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum

Address: 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, United States

Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum features more than 100,000 Native American, Asian, Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican, African, and Californian artistic items in a Mission-Revival-style structure.

Current, past, and upcoming exhibits at the Bowers Museum include Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives, Ascent to Glory: Everest, Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior, and much more.

See Related: Things to Do in California

16. Santa Ana Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo

Address: 1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States

Who doesn’t love furry creatures, cuddly critters, and fine feathered friends? Since 1952, the Santa Ana Zoo has 20 acres of Central and South American plants and animals. Visit monkeys, pygmy marmosets, giant anteaters, and tropical birds. There’s a carousel, a train ride, and a 64-foot Ferris wheel, making this one of the most fun things to do with kids.

17. South Coast Plaza

Address: 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States

In Costa Mesa, South Coast Plaza is the largest shopping destination on the West Coast. More than 250 restaurants, cafés, department stores, and designer boutiques, including Ann Taylor, Bloomingdales, David Yurman, H&M, Macy’s, and more.

18. Lyon Air Museum

Lyon Air Museum

Address: 19300 Ike Jones Rd, Santa Ana, CA 92707, United States

Looking for unique things to do in Orange County? Lyon Air Museum is found on the west side of John Wayne Airport.

It looks into World War II vehicles, military aircraft, rare cars, and motorcycles. Check out a Douglas A-26 “Invader,” a DC-3 and a C-47, a 1942 Ford GPW Military Jeep, and a 1939 Mercedes-Benz Model G4 Offener Touring Wagon.  

See Related: Next Vacay vs. Going.com (Scott’s Cheap Flights)

19. Discovery Cube Orange County

Discovery Cube Orange County

Address: 2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705, United States

A hands-on children’s science museum, Discovery Cube Orange County has exhibits on aerodynamics, the Mars Rover, physics, planetary rocket research, and much more (with hands-on access for visitors).

Discovery Cube is near the Bowers Museum if you’re looking for ways to add more fun things to do in Orange County to your itinerary.

20. Old Orange County Courthouse

Old Orange County Courthouse Architeture
Debbie Eckert / Adobe Stock

Address: 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States

Are you looking for a bit of history on your Orange County vacation? Pay a visit to the beautiful Romanesque Revival architecture of the Old Courthouse Museum at the Old Orange County Courthouse.

Located in Santa Ana’s historic district, the Old Courthouse Museum opened in 1901 and featured temporary and permanent exhibits on local history and the Orange County archives.

21. Orange County History Center

Address: 65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801, United States

The Orange County History Center is where history buffs study historical papers, photographs, and more. With their interactive exhibits, visitors can explore artifacts from the past and learn how people lived and developed the local area. This museum is guaranteed to provide you with a unique experience.

22. Orange County Zoo

Orange County Zoo

Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869, United States

If you can’t decide what to do on vacation with your kids, a local zoo like the Orange County Zoo is always a good decision. The Orange County Zoo, located inside Irvine Regional Park, features a 477-acre setting of animals native to the southwestern United States. Mountain lions, black bears, bald eagles, ocelots, porcupines, and barnyard animals are at the Orange County Zoo.

See Related: Away vs. Beis

23. Tanaka Farms

Tanaka Farms

Address: 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612, United States

Gather some baskets and pick to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content at Tanaka Farms U-pick farm in Irvine. Depending on the season, you can pick strawberries or pumpkins. There’s also a gift shop and a walk-up market if you let someone else pick instead.

The kids will love the Barnyard Educational Exhibit, where they can visit rescued chickens, goats, sheep, donkeys, and a mini cow! This is one of the best things to do in Orange County for animal lovers.

Tanaka Farms has a sister site, Flowers at Hana Field in Costa Mesa, where you can pick sunflowers and marigolds (again, depending on the season – flowers don’t grow all the time, you know).

24. Corona Del Mar State Beach Park

Corona Del Mar State Beach Park, Orange County
Nick Fox / Adobe Stock

Address: Corona Del Mar State Beach Park, California 92625, USA

Established in 1947, the 30-acre Corona Del Mar State Beach Park is popular with swimmers, surfers, divers, hikers, and beach walkers, making this one of the best outdoor activities Orange County offers.

Beachfront homes back a half-mile-long sandy beach on a cliff. There are restrooms, outdoor showers, and food service vending.

See Related: Best Credit Cards for International Travel

25. Orange County Great Park

Orange County Great Park

Address: 8000 Great Park Blvd, Irvine, CA 92618, United States

If you want to get high (in the air), Orange County Great Park is the place to be. One of the best Orange County attractions, the park focuses on sports, agriculture, and the arts, but the most famous attraction is the balloon that soars 400 feet in the air.

Contrary to appearances, it’s not a hot air balloon. It’s one of the enormous tethered helium balloons in the U.S. (and the first of its kind). On a clear day, you can see for about 40 miles.

FivePoint sponsors the balloon, and rides are accessible on a first-come-first-served basis. There’s also a vintage-inspired carousel if you’d rather stay on the ground.

26. Giracci Vineyards and Farms

Giracci Vineyards and Farms
Image by 24Carrots

Address: 16162 Jackson Ranch Rd, Silverado, CA 92676, USA

Rustic charm and relaxed living meet at Giracci Vineyards and Farms in Silverado. The award-winning winery opened in 2010 and hosts corporate events, Wine Down Fridays, wine tours, and more.

The tasting room offers romantic dinners and a tasting of six delicious wines, making it one of our favorite options if you’re looking for a romantic getaway.

Rose and lavender gardens and tall oak trees surround the venue. Your wedding or unique event pictures will be the envy of everyone.

Giracci Vineyards is also Orange County’s premier equestrian boarding and training facility. There are two beautifully maintained barns, the Chardonnay and the Cabernet (cute, huh?).

See Related: Road Trip Games For Couples

27. Pretend City Children’s Museum

Address: 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618, USA

Pretend City Children’s Museum is a fun excursion for the young travelers in your group. It’s designed to resemble a small city with interconnected areas. Kids can use role-playing and hands-on activities to explore as they wish.

Pretend City Children’s Museum has a library, a market, a bank, stores, and more, complete with street signs, light posts, and courtyards to wander.

28. Irvine Spectrum Center

Irvine Spectrum Center

Address: 670 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618, United States

The Irvine Spectrum Center offers shopping, dining, entertainment, and special events like outdoor movies and fitness sessions. Expect the big brand names stores as well as specialty shops. Choose from pretzels, chocolate, and ice cream, or relax at P.F. Chang’s, Brio Tuscan Grille, or California Pizza Kitchen (I mean, when in Cali …).

There’s also a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a Regal movie theater, and an improv theater for your entertainment pleasure, putting it high on our list of fun things to do in Orange County.

See Related: Best Travel Trailers for Couples

29. Travel the Pacific Coast Highway

Aerial of Crystal Cove in Newport Beach overlooking Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Coast Media / Adobe Stock

If you need speed (but not too much), a road trip down or up the Pacific Coast Highway is a terrific way to see the seascape. The scenic Pacific Coast Highway runs about 600 miles from San Francisco to San Diego, so hop on anywhere along the coast in Orange County.

Along the way, enjoy the best views in Orange County as you stop off at farmers’ markets, roadside attractions, and local restaurants on your Pacific Coast Highway adventures.

See Related: Things to Do in San Diego

30. Bolsa Chica State Park

Bolsa Chica State Park

Bolsa Chica State Park and an ecological reserve have 1,400 dunes and fresh and saltwater wetlands. Five miles of hiking trails take you over the marsh (via a boardwalk) and past various coastal plants and animals.

Go birdwatching, cast for fish, catch the sunset, or watch for seals. There’s also an interpretive center with exhibits, educational displays, and trail information.

See Related: Travel Gift Ideas for Backpackers

31. Huntington Beach Pier and Boardwalk

Huntington Beach Pier and Boardwalk

Address: 103 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, United States

You can’t miss the Huntington Beach Pier and Boardwalk for restaurants, attractions, and fun activities. The boardwalk is about 10 miles long as it passes by Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington City Beach, Sunset Beach, and others.

The pier, at 1,856 feet long, was built around 1902 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Legendary surfers Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth performed surfing demonstrations at the iconic pier. Today, you can visit surf and gift shops or grab a bite to eat at Ruby’s Diner at the very end of the pier.

32. Orange County Museum of Art

Orange County Museum of Art, one of the best things to do in Orange County
Steve Cukrov / Adobe Stock

Address: 3333 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States

The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) features modern and contemporary art in a 25,000-square-foot space. There’s a 4,500-piece permanent collection of 20th and 21st Century art. Peruse paintings, sculpture, photography, and many more works of art.

See Related: Best Travel Backpacks

33. Balboa Island

Aerial View of Newport Beach and Balboa Island
Newport Coast Media / Adobe Stock

Address: Balboa Island, Newport Beach, CA, USA

The artificial Balboa Island was originally a sandbar between the Balboa Peninsula and the mainland in Newport Beach. It was turned into an island in the early 1900s by developer William S. Collins. You can get there by car or ferry (a beautiful way to see Newport Beach and the harbor).

A paved trail around the area is famous for walking and bicycling. Explore the shops, restaurants, and sites along Marine Avenue, visit the Balboa Island Museum, or rent bicycles and paddleboards at this Newport Beach area attraction. Check out the 1906 Balboa Pier for sunset viewing and fishing.

34. Balboa Fun Zone

Address: 600 E Bay Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92661, USA

Just across from Balboa Island along the Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Fun Zone is one of Southern California’s oldest attractions, in business since 1936.

The amusement park has arcade games, a marine museum, a waterfront Ferris wheel, and other activities. Enjoy strolling along the boardwalk and looking for sea lions in the harbor. This is one of the best things to do in O.C. on our list.

See Related: Best Beach Bags With Cooler

35. Fashion Island

Fashion Island

Address: 401 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA

An island of a different sort, Fashion Island is one of the best shopping malls around. You’ll find department stores, designer boutiques, art galleries, fine dining, sweet treats, and a movie theater among the many offerings at Fashion Island!

36. Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum

International Surfing Museum

Address: 411 Olive Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, United States

With a nickname like Surf City USA, you must check out the local surf museum! The Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is dedicated to Duke Kahanamoku. He may not have invented surfing, but he did a lot to promote it.

Explore exhibits on vintage surfboards, famous surfers, movies, music, and all-around surf culture. If you’re hanging out at the Huntington Beach Pier, you might catch one of the venue’s surf music events.

See Related: Best Car Seat Travel Bags to Buy Today

37. Shipley Nature Center

Shipley Nature Center Landscape
image by Christine Ho is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 17851 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach, CA 92647, United States

Huntington Beach’s Shipley Nature Center opened in 1974 and features 18 acres of plants, animals, and walking trails.

Habitats at Shipley Nature Center include freshwater wetlands, open water, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodlands. This is an excellent place to visit on hot days due to the lovely shade covered by the live oak evergreen trees.

38. The Reptile Zoo

The Reptile Zoo

Address: 18818 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708, United States

Near the beach and approximately 20 minutes from Disneyland, the Reptile Zoo is in Fountain Valley. It has more than 100 species of rare and exotic reptiles. Check out snakes, tortoises, alligators, lizards, frogs, and arachnids.

The Reptile Zoo was the home of Frank (a.k.a. Mr./Mrs. Kipling), the 7-foot Asian water monitor lizard from the Disney Channel show Jessie. Sadly, Frank passed away in 2021 at the grand old age of 18, but his scaly friends and relatives are ready to welcome you!

You can even go hands-on or take a pic with a boa constrictor. Have fun with that. Not me. Snakes give me the creeps. Blergh!

See Related: Best Pet Travel Insurance Options to Buy Today

39. Santa Catalina Island

Overlooking boats in the bay of Catalina Island
Golden Image Photo / Adobe Stock

Address: Santa Catalina Island, California 90704, USA

While visiting Orange County, consider a day trip to Santa Catalina Island. Part of the Channel Islands, it’s about 30 miles off the coast. Tours go back and forth from the Balboa Pier via the Catalina Flyer, a 600-passenger ferry.

On the island, you can take golf cart tours, zip-line adventures, glass-bottom boat excursions, or soak in the glamorous Old Hollywood vibe.

40. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach offers many art galleries, boutiques, cafés, and waterfront restaurants. St. Francis by the Sea, built in 1933, is the world’s smallest cathedral (even in the Guinness Book of World Records).

Beachside, you can explore sea caves, tide pools, secluded coves, and sandy beaches. Or sit and work on a tan. We won’t judge.

See Related: Best Apps & Sites Like Expedia For Travel

41. Savor Spanish Cuisine at Comedor

Comedor Beach view
La Casa del Camino / Booking.com

Address: 1289 S Coast Hwy 4th floor, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States

In the historic 1930s La Casa del Camino resort, Comedor serves traditional Spanish and Californian cuisines such as tapas, paella, skirt steak in chimichurri sauce, crab cakes, and a wide variety of wine and cocktail choices in an authentic beachside setting.

If you’re looking for a stylish stay, keep reading to learn more about La Casa del Camino resort further down the line.

42. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Address: 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States

The 7,000-acre area of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is in the San Joaquin Hills and is filled with oak and sycamore forests, coastal canyons, and natural lakes. Whether hiking, biking, running, or horseback riding, you’ll find a variety of trails for all sorts of travel at this Laguna Beach park. While at the park, visit the Nix Nature Center for trail guides, tour booking, and more information on the region.

See Related: Free California Travel Guide

43. Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park
Image by D. Ramey Logan

Situated on 3.2 acres of beachfront property, 2,400 acres of stunning wilderness scenery includes 18 miles of hiking trails. The waters around Crystal Cove are designated as an underwater park.

Explore tide pools and the creatures that live in them, including rock scallops, shore crabs, acorn barnacles, abalones, and other amazing things. Remember to look, but don’t touch or take!

Within the Crystal Cove State Park, there’s a Historic District of 46 vintage seaside cottages from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Check out the beachfront cottages as you stroll through the sand and surf. Crystal Cove is a popular spot for stargazing in Orange County.

44. Heisler Park

Heisler Park, Laguna Beach, California
Mihai / Adobe Stock

The oceanfront Heisler Park offers gardens, walking trails, tide pools, and picnic tables surrounded by palm trees and wildflowers. Spend the afternoon enjoying the Pacific views of Laguna Beach, checking out sculptures, or walking along coastal trails.

On your Orange County adventures, you can access Picnic Beach, Rockpile Beach, Diver’s Beach, and Main Beach from Heisler Park. It’s near Crystal Cove State Park, so you can combine the day’s adventures.

See Related: Things to Do in Malibu

45. Badlands Park

Badlands Park

Address: 31671 Isle Vista, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, United States

For stunning Pacific views, check out Badlands Park. It’s located in Laguna Niguel and features a 2.3-mile trail.

The trail offers suitable terrain for beginners while challenging enough for more experienced hikers. You’ll enjoy terrific views of Aliso Peak, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and the stunning Pacific coastline.

46. Mozambique

Mozambique Entrance
image by David Valenzuela is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Address: 1740 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, United States

If you’re looking for things to do in Orange County at night, it’s all about the popular live music venue in Mozambique. This swanky club offers a fun night with its award-winning restaurant, a bar, a lounge, an aging area, and a bar with great views of the Pacific.

Enjoy a diverse blend of music, such as ‘80s hits, reggae, and current hits from local bands and national acts. 

See Related: Things to Do in Big Bear

47. Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point Harbor

Address: Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, USA

Are you looking for cool places in Orange County? Look no further! Dana Point is considered the dolphin and whale-watching capital of the world. How cool is that?! Exceedingly!

Dana Point Harbor is a waterfront center for shopping, dining, entertainment, and activities. Gather your crew and head to Dana Point, where you can book Orange County activities like whale-watching, parasailing, diving, and fishing excursions.

48. Doheny State Park

Doheny State Park
Image by Raph_PH – OhanaSep18-17 used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, United States

One of California’s most popular parks, Doheny State Park offers picnic facilities, volleyball courts, campgrounds, walking trails, and a beachfront area with tide pools and surfable waves.

The waves at Doheny State Beach are pretty tame, so it’s the perfect spot to learn to surf and is one of the best places to go in Orange County.

See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit

49. Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Address: 26801 Old Mission Rd, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, United States

Founded over 200 years ago, San Juan Capistrano Mission is the seventh of 21 missions. Built as a center for religion, agriculture, and education, it’s considered the “Jewel of the California missions” and tops our list of historical things to do in O.C.

It preserves and presents California’s multi-cultural history of Native American, Spanish, European, and Mexican history. Peruse 18th and 20th Century art and artifacts or explore 10 acres of gardens with fountains and adobe structures.

Book a San Juan Capistrano Scavenger Hunt Adventure for a wholly interactive experience. You use your smartphone to explore the city while looking for clues, solving puzzles, sightseeing, and learning about the area’s history while having fun.

50. Limestone Canyon Regional Park

Limestone Canyon Regional Park

Address: Silverado, CA 92676, United States

In Silverado, Limestone Canyon Regional Park has springs and streams, oak forests, coastal sage scrub, and “the sinks” (a mini Grand Canyon). The 4,000-acre park is part of Irvine Ranch Open Space and is popular with hikers, bicyclists, and nature enthusiasts. Keep your eyes peeled for red-tailed hawks, raccoons, deer, coyotes, and mountain lions.

See Related: Visiting Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs

51. Black Star Canyon Indian Village Historic Site

Black Star Canyon Indian Village Historic Site

Address: 10499-10967 Black Star Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676, United States

Black Star Canyon is popular with hikers and mountain bikers in the beautiful Santa Ana Mountains. It’s about a five-mile hike to the historic landmark site where a skirmish occurred.

There are also remnants of the Black Star Mining Co. (said to be haunted), including equipment, mine shafts, and coal piles.

52. San Clemente Pier

San Clemente Pier

Address: San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Looking for a day trip idea? The San Clemente Pier is just south of San Juan Capistrano Mission. Initially built in 1928, the 1,296-foot wooden pier has undergone several renovations.

Fishing, surfing, and hiking along the San Clemente Coastal Trail are popular activities. There are a variety of shops and restaurants near the San Clemente Pier.

Related Resources