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Orange County is my go-to place when I need a weekend getaway. It is also one of my favorite places in the entire country! There are countless things to do in Orange County, and you could visit here a million times and never get tired of its charm.
Orange County is a region in Southern California known for its boat-filled harbor, Balboa Island, gorgeous beaches like Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, and amazing restaurants and shops.
The O.C. is such an easy destination to visit.
Many direct flights to John Wayne Airport (SNA) place you right in Newport Beach. It is also not a far drive from the many airports in the Los Angeles area or even from San Diego.
Most of my visits to Orange County are 24- to 48-hour weekend trips because of the ease and flexibility of travel without taking days off work.
If you are centrally located, like I am in Texas or are a short plane ride away, you will love having this guide as you plan your next getaway.
Here’s what to do in Orange County, California.
The Best Time to Visit Orange County
Summer is the most popular time to visit Orange County because the weather is perfect, but having visited during other months, I know it is a beautiful place all year round.
How to Get to Orange County
The easiest way to get to Orange County is to fly to John Wayne Airport (SNA). It’s a commercial and general aviation airport serving Orange County, California, and Greater Los Angeles. You will want to rent a car so you can easily get around.
If You Plan to Drive In, You Could Take the Following Highways:
- From the South: I-87 North
- From the North: I-87 South
- From the East and West: I-84 East and West
Where to Stay in Orange County
I’ll get to this, but first, I must explain…
Do you have a favorite restaurant? One that you love so much, you don’t want to tell anyone else about it for fear that you will never be able to get a table there ever again? That’s happened to me with some of my all-time favorite sushi places in DFW, where I live.
Sharing this hotel kind of feels like I’m giving you inside information reserved for only my closest friends and family. But because you landed on my website and are taking the time to read my blog, I guess we are already friends, so here it goes:
The Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport, Newport Beach, is hands down my favorite hotel in the area and might be Orange County’s best-kept secret! Is it even a secret, or maybe I’m just a bit dramatic?
The property is directly across the street from John Wayne Airport, making it the perfect place to take a flight after work on a Friday. Just a 1-minute car ride away from being in bed to get well rested for the next day of early morning exploring!
This newly remodeled property is in the heart of Orange County’s Newport Beach, just seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. It’s nearby to Fashion Island for shopping and surrounded by great dining options too! Spacious rooms at a decent price; that is a winning combination!
That’s my secret! Please let me know your thoughts on this property if you decide to stay here.
Where to Eat in Orange County
The Best Breakfast in Newport Beach
The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove is hands down the best breakfast experience in Newport Beach for the views alone!
There is something special about going to the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove. First, when you park at the Los Trancos Parking Lot (E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92657), you can take the bus from the restaurant or the scenic walk down the tunnel to the beach. I cannot recommend enough the walk down to the beach through the tunnel.
As you walk to the restaurant, many drawings along the tunnel’s walls take you to the entryway of the Beachcomber. From there, you walk through the sand to the front of the restaurant. I would also recommend that you plan before going. It books up very quickly and far in advance, so make sure to plan accordingly.
When you go, make sure to get a seat on the outside deck that looks directly at the ocean. It is hard to describe the soothing paradise of eating breakfast and drinking Earl Grey tea while hearing the ocean waves. But somehow, at The Beachcomber, this is a reality and a place you must add to your food list when visiting!
Other Food Favorites to Frequent:
- Nick’s Laguna Beach – 440 South Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651
- South of Nick’s – 540 South Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651
- Javier’s – 7832 E Pacific Coast Highway Newport Beach, CA 92657
- KIT Coffee – 1617 Westcliff Dr #103 Newport Beach, CA 92660
- Gelato Paradiso – 448 South Coast Highway Ste A Laguna Beach, CA 92651
What to Do in Orange County
- Whale Watching
- Dana Point
- Crystal Cove State Park
- Scenic drive along Pacific Coast Highway
- Balboa Island Ferry
- Balboa Pier
- Get a Balboa Bar
- Laguna Beach
- Newport Beach
- Drinks at the Montage Laguna Beach
- Anaheim Ducks game
- Los Angeles Angels game
I am all about weekend trips as it’s the easiest thing to squeeze in with a busy work schedule. Orange County is by far the best place to do this for a relaxing getaway. It’s the only place I know where you can eat great food, get drinks, and watch the sunset from the rolling hills while taking a stroll on the beach or riding in a boat while only an hour away from two major cities in Los Angeles and San Diego.
If you have never been to this area, you must see what a special place it is!