Orange County is one of the best places to spend your summer. The weather is nothing short of perfect and there is always something to do. From the shorelines to the skylines, Orange County has a lot more to offer than Disneyland. If you’re visiting for the first time, or maybe a OC native, we’ve got a list of the best places to spend those warm summer days in Orange County.
Orange County Zoo
Nestled in the middle of a park, the Orange County Zoo is one of the most low-key attractions in Orange County. It is a smaller zoo, only about an hour to walk around in, but admission is only $2 per person! They have a plethora of animals from mountain lions to peacocks to black bears. If you’re bringing along the kiddos, or maybe are one at heart, they have a petting zoo where you can play and feed some goats!
Crystal Cove State Park
What’s a “Best of OC” list without a few (several) coastline mentions? The Crystal Cove State Park is a 3-mile natural seashore in Orange County. There are several biking and hiking trails for visitors to get up close and personal with landscape and wildlife of this park. The trails lead all the way to coastline for a killer view of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky, the flowers might still be in bloom when you visit for an epic experience with OC nature.
Balboa Fun Zone
Orange County doesn’t have a famous pier with a rollercoaster or ferris wheel like other California counties (yes, you LA County!), but the Balboa Fun Zone makes up for it. They have arcade games, harbor tours, and waterfront restaurants. It even has a ferris wheel right by the water for all the romantic vibes! You can order up a classic Balboa frozen banana, grab a seat by the harbor, and enjoy a classic OC summer day.
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Mission San Juan Capistrano
This mission was established in 1775 and is a major part of Orange County’s history. A place of education and inspiration, many people visit Mission San Juan Capistrano for its dedication to teaching people more about Southern California’s culture and history. You can explore the mission on your own or take a guided tour. Either way, you’ll feel like you are walking through a building frozen in time.
Huntington Beach Pier
When you think of Orange County in the summer, chances are, you’re picturing the Huntington Beach Pier backlit by the sunset. This pier has become something of a quintessential image of OC and for good reason. From the long stretch of sand to the Ruby’s Diner perched at the end of the pier to the bustling noise from the Pacific City, this pier makes up all the aspects of Orange County. Grab a blanket and a few friends for a bonfire and you’re doing summer in the OC right.
The Richard Nixon Library & Museum
This is another one for the forever-students! If you need a little cool down from the outdoors, spend a couple hours at the Richard Nixon Library & Museum. The namesake of this place was born and raised in Orange County before becoming the 37th president. You get to learn more about Richard Nixon’s childhood in OC as well as his time in the Oval Office.
Treasure Island Park
Excuse the play on words, but this place is a hidden treasure of Laguna Beach. A few miles past the main beach, Treasure Island Park’s natural landscape will awe even the OC natives. The rock formations, flowers, and crystal blue water is nothing short of perfect. From left to right, you’ll see breathtaking sights of the coastline that are the stuff of California dreams.
What are your favorite places to visit in Orange County during summer?
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