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10 Best Beaches in Orange County To Spend The Day Exploring and Relaxing

Catch a wave. Dip your toe in the Pacific Ocean. Or, maybe sit back and enjoy the sun and fun on Orange County beaches. But, with so many options available in the area, here’s a look at the 10 Best Beaches in Orange County to spend the day exploring and relaxing!

10 Best Beaches in Orange County

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach rates as one of the most beautiful beaches in California. Beach goers enjoy a variety of activities, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing the Pacific Ocean. As a marine-protected area, commercial fishing and motorized boating are prohibited along the coastline, creating a safe environment for water sports.

Laguna Beach’s tide pools offer a look at the region’s marine life. You can safely explore the tide pools during low tide, but remember not to interfere with its environment.

Bring a game or two from home, such as a volleyball set or corn hole, and spend the day playing in the sand. Bring a picnic basket for a family outing. Of course, you can always lay down a blanket and enjoy some relaxation time on the beach.

Laguna Beach is one of the best beaches in Orange County
credit: Laguna Beach by ghirson

The Wedge in Newport Beach

Home to the world-famous Newport Beach Film Festival, Newport Beach is more than a Hollywood gathering spot. With its beaches offering different experiences, Newport Beach’s West Jetty View Beach – The Wedge – is a bodysurfer’s haven. With waves reaching up to 30 feet, it’s the perfect setting for bodysurfing. In fact, it’s common to see a blackball flag, which prohibits surf boards May through October.

The Wedge is also a photographer’s dream, offering surfing and ocean views. The beach is an excellent spot to spend the day playing and taking in the sun. The Wedge is a great location to watch the sunset.

Huntington State Beach

With five beaches to choose from, Huntington State Beach offers a day of fun with fun in the sand and volleyball courts, as well as excellent areas for swimming and bodysurfing. Take a walk along the beach on a paved path or “rough” it with a stroll in the sand. With fire rings available, claim one early for a fun evening relaxing around a firepit. Huntington State Beach also has picnic areas and barbecue grills.

While in Huntington Beach, you’ll love checking out the pier. Nearly 1,900 feet long, the Huntington Beach Pier is one of the longest in the country, offering amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the beach. It’s also a perfect spot for sunset views.

Huntington State Beach
credit: Huntington State Beach byJoeInSouthernCA 

San Clemente Beach

San Clemente State Beach is wider than the city’s other beaches, which allows for more activities, including a children’s playground. It’s a great location for a family day at the beach, including swimming and spending time around a firepit. Take a walk along the San Clemente Coastal Trail, which starts near the beach.

North Beach leads to the San Clemente Pier, which is about 1,300 feet long. Among the beautiful views of the area, you’ll likely find people fishing from the pier and surfers looking for the best waves to ride.

Best Beaches in Orange County California
credit: San Clemente Beach by inkknife_2000

Seal Beach

Grab a spot on Seal Beach for a day of tanning or swimming. Surfers enjoy spending time on the water, offering fun views of their skills among the waves.

At more than 1,800 feet long, the nearby Seal Beach Municipal Pier ranks as one of the longest wooden piers in California. The pier is a fun break from the beach, providing impressive views of the area. While at the pier, take a picture with Slick, the bronze seal.

Balboa Beach

Newport Beach is blessed with outstanding beaches, and Balboa Beach is among them. With sand dunes in the background and a paved path behind them, Balboa Beach is popular with walkers, bicyclists, and joggers.

The beach itself provides visitors an opportunity for sunbathing, playing games, and walking in the sand. Head to the Balboa Beach Pier, with panoramic views of the peninsula and the Pacific Ocean, as well as surfers riding the waves.

Balboa Beach is one of the best beaches in Orange County
credit: Balboa Beach by Prayitno

Table Rock Beach

Laguna’s Table Rock Beach offers beach goers a different experience from other Orange County beaches. With rip tides preventing swimming, visitors instead explore the rocky surroundings, including a cave tucked away from the water. Kids of all ages enjoy climbing the rocks. While you may not want to go swimming, people are known to skimboard and snorkel. Or, you can enjoy a day of sunbathing.

Best beaches in Orange County
credit: Table Rock Beach by Jeff Hester

Long Beach

With a series of beaches, Long Beach’s City Beach, located a few miles north of Orange County, is the area’s main attraction. While you’re not likely to catch any surfers in this stretch of water due to the breakers, the city beach is an excellent spot for kiteboarding and swimming.

Nicknamed Junipero Beach by locals, you can also sunbath and walk the beach. If you’re looking for a break from the sand, head to Shoreline Village for waterfront shopping and dining, and maybe catch a view of the Queen Mary, docked nearby.

Victoria Beach

Victoria Beach, among Laguna’s gorgeous sandy attractions, is an excellent area for scuba diving, skimboarding, and bodysurfing. Whether you want to catch some rays while relaxing on the beach or exploring tide pools during low tide, Victoria Beach provides a fun day on the water.

Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach
credit: Victoria Beach by Daniel Peckham

Newport Beach Pier

With amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Balboa Peninsula, and sunsets, the Newport Beach Pier is a must visit. Catch surfers “hanging 10,” in waves up to 30 feet high, or hit the water yourself for a swim or maybe a little paddleboarding. Sunbathers enjoy spending time on the beach near the pier. Enjoy a walk on the pier, or maybe ride a bicycle.

Best Beaches in Orange County California
credit Newport Beach – Pink Dawn by sachman75

Whether you’re a water enthusiast, sunbather, or just enjoy spending time on the beach, Orange County is home to some of the best beaches in California. Just remember the sunscreen.

Happy Field Tripping!