VG 2012

Visitors Guides

Discover all there is to see and do in The OC. Request a Visitor's Guide!

The OC Spotlight

Guided Tours & Experiences

< View more Story Ideas


Guided Beach Tours

Back Roads Laguna Eco Bike Tour Laguna Beach

La Vida Laguna—Eco-Adventures
673 N. Coast Hwy.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 275-7544

Do you want to see what makes Laguna the most beautiful beach community in California? The two hour tour is the perfect loop—covering canyons, north and south neighborhoods, the downtown village, spectacular coastal scenery and much more. The tour doesn’t ride along Pacific Coast Highway, but instead navigates the quaint and historic neighborhoods rarely seen by tourists. Along the way, you’ll learn about Laguna’s efforts to plant edible gardens throughout the community and encourage zero emission homes. Reservations recommended. Tours begin at 10 a.m. daily and depart from La Vida Laguna’s downtown bike garage on state-of-the-art 21 speed Diamondback mountain bikes.


Bicycle Adventure—Surf Tour Newport Beach

China Cove Kayak Adventures

1125 W. Balboa Blvd.

Balboa, CA 92661

(949) 632-4694

Start out with the most comfortable beach cruiser in Balboa, then escape into the ultimate famous surf spot tour in Newport Beach. Your guided bicycle adventure takes you to The Wedge, the Point, Blackies and so much more. Bring your camera. Sightings of sea lions and other marine wildlife are possible. Stop by Ruby’s Diner at the end of Balboa Pier for a quick ice cream, or take the ferry to Balboa Island for a frozen banana—ingredients for the perfect day. Tours are 2-2.5 hrs. and can be customized to visitors’ interest. Also offered: an all-day Kayak & Bicycle So Cal Combo Adventure that combines the bicycle adventure with the kayak adventure.


Newport Fun Tours Newport Beach

2122 Newport Blvd.

Newport Beach, CA 92663

(949) 675-8433

Southern California’s largest Segway Tour facility uses only the latest, most state-of-the-art equipment available. Three different scenic Newport Beach tours are available: Newport Pier Tour (1 hr.); Newport Peninsula Tour (1.5 hrs.); Balboa Peninsula (2 hrs.). Tours depart daily at 10, 12, 2 and 4.


OC Beach Bus Tour

The beaches of Orange County are as diverse as they are beautiful. This tour brings you to three of OC’s most famous beaches. You’re transported in custom Woody Cruisers featuring surf music, a swell driver and amazing sites as you tool down Pacific Coast Highway in style. Learn about the history of the OC and what movies have been filmed here. Check out the trendy shops, multi-million dollar beach and bayfront homes along OC’s golden coastline. Stops include: Huntington Beach Main St. and Pier; Newport Beach Pier; The Balboa Fun Zone and Newport Harbor Nautical Museum; Corona del Mar; Laguna Beach Tide Pools, Main Beach and Sawdust Festival. Daily service from Anaheim area hotels, with On and Off privileges so you can visit the Coast at your own pace.


Beach Coastal & Shopping Tour

OC Wildlife & Beach Tour Inc.

(949) 500-6981

Tour Orange County’s beautiful coastline and see the picturesque California Riviera. Shop, eat and enjoy the beach in the seaside artist town of Laguna Beach. Visit Balboa in Newport Beach and enjoy the shops and harbor. Huntington Beach, Surf City U.S.A., can be included in the itinerary. A separately-offered OC Tour includes Mission San Juan Capistrano. All tours include transportation, educational guide, beverage and snack. Light walking.


Segway Newport Beach Newport Beach

611 E. Balboa Blvd.

Newport Beach, CA 92661

(949) 723- 1722

Enjoy fantastic views and fresh ocean air on this “glided tour,” as you visit various points of interest with your guide. Participants hop onto a revolutionary Segway PT with LeanSteer technology—the newest machines. Choose the Balboa Peninsula or Newport Pier Tour. Daily tours offered. Fri, Sat., Sun. Mon, & Wed. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tues & Thurs. tours by appointment.


Segway Tours of Huntington Beach Huntington Beach

300 Pacific Coast Hwy., #111

Huntington Beach, CA 92648

(657) 464-9137

Enjoy 60 or 90 minute tours through downtown Huntington Beach, the Boardwalk and the Beach! The tour includes approx. 15 minutes of training. Offered Wed. – Sun.. There’s even a late afternoon tour option that includes dinner.


SurfaceJet Tours—Orange County Beach Cities Tour

(949) 360-4646

Travel in a comfortable sightseeing coach and see the “Jewel of the Missions” in San Juan Capistrano, then head north to the scenic artists colony of Laguna Beach. This Orange County tour then takes you to exclusive Balboa Isle while crossing the bay on a short ferry ride across to Balboa and Newport Piers. Optional stop for lunch at a harbor view seafood outlet. The tour continues to scenic Cannery Village and Mariners Mile. Optional stops in Dana Point Harbor or Huntington Beach, depending on your starting point and individual preferences.


Guided Bicycle Tours

Back Roads Laguna Eco Bike Tour Laguna Beach

La Vida Laguna—Eco-Adventures 

673 N. Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(949) 275-7544

Do you want to see what makes Laguna the most beautiful beach community in California? The two hour tour is the perfect loop—covering canyons, north and south neighborhoods, the downtown village, spectacular coastal scenery and much more. We never ride Pacific Coast Highway, and instead navigate the quaint and historic neighborhoods rarely seen by tourists. Along the way, you’ll learn about Laguna’s efforts to plant edible gardens throughout the community and encourage zero emission homes. Reservations recommended. Tours begin at 10 a.m. daily and depart from La Vida Laguna’s downtown bike garage on state-of-the-art 21 speed Diamondback mountain bikes.


Laguna Outdoors Laguna Beach

(949) 874-6620

Guided trail hiking & running, mountain & scenic biking, and tide pool tours. Let your trail guides show you some of the most spectacular ocean views and terrain in the world. Event duration and intensity are tailored to suit guests and special requests will be accommodated whenever possible. Mountain biking equipment easily arranged. Fiji Water, Clif and Luna bars are included for up to five guests. Corporate and group rates available.


Boat & Whale Watching Tours

Captain Dave’s Whale and Dolphin Safari Dana Point

24440 Dana Point Harbor Dr.

Dana Point, CA

(949) 488-2828

Year-round whale and dolphin watching aboard hi-tech catamaran sailboats with exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater viewing POD for an educational and incredibly exciting experience, with hydrophone, underwater camera and experienced marine naturalists.


Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching Dana Point

Dana Point Harbor

(949) 496-5794; Tickets: (800) 979-3370

Dana Wharf is proud to offer the finest whale watching, sportfishing, sailing and specialty vessels. Trips for individuals, families or corporate groups. Year-round whale and dolphin-watching. See blue whales May through October and gray whales November through April. Fully narrated two-hour trips depart daily. Year-round sportfishing trips. Reservations recommended.


Davey’s Locker Whale & Dolphin Cruises Newport Beach

400 Main St.

Balboa, CA 92661

(949) 673-1434

Over 40 years of history providing whale watching cruises. Endorsed by the Orange County Cetacean Society, Davey’s Locker provides year-round, multiple, daily whale watching tours. The nutrient-rich waters just outside of Newport Bay provide ideal habitat for several species of whales and dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals and marine birds. 95 percent viewing success rate viewing whales and/or dolphin. Davey’s Locker is located in the Historic Balboa Pavilion.


Newport Landing Newport Beach

309 Palm, Ste. A

Balboa, CA 92661

(949) 675-0550

Multiple whale-watching excursions daily, year-round. Full-service snack bars, sundecks, indoor and outdoor seating and courteous crew members. Also Christmas boat parade cruises.


Ocean Institute Dana Point

24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.

Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 496-2274

The Ocean Institute offers regularly-scheduled excursions on its Research Vessel Sea Explorer and on its two tall ships, The Pilgrim and the Spirit of Dana Point. Excursions offered on the 65-foot R/V Sea Explorer include: Morning Breeze Music Cruise and Marine Wildlife Cruise. Seasonal offerings include: Bioluminescence Night Cruise; Catalina Snorkeling; Blue Whale Safari. Regularly-offered Tall Ship Adventures include: A Whale’s Tale Sailing Adventure; Pyrate Adventure Sail; and Coastal Odyssey.


Culinary Experiences

Flavors of Laguna Tours Laguna Beach

Forest Ave. & Pacific Coast Hwy.

(949) 464-8830

Enjoy a Food Tasting & Historical Tour in beautiful Laguna Beach. This 3 ½-4 hr. walking tour captures the most intricate and flavorful culinary delights--experience tastes that are unique to “The Village” and that represent the “True Laguna” experience. The village tour is a delightfully casual cultural experience that you’re sure to remember for years to come.


Laguna Culinary Arts Cooking School Laguna Beach

845 Laguna Canyon Rd.

(949) 494-0745

Laguna Culinary Arts offers hands-on cooking classes for the home-chef, as well as corporate teambuilding and private events in its professional-style kitchen. All classes are hands-on. In addition, its Gourmet Cheese and Wine Shop & Café features wine and food pairing classes, cheese and wine tastings and a professional chef school.


Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours Orange

1 (800) 979-3370 or

Visitors and local foodies alike will enjoy three different guided tours through the heart of historic Old Towne Orange. Led by knowledgeable and friendly local residents, with stops at local shops and a variety of restaurants, from one-of-a-kind ethnic eateries to contemporary fine dining establishments. The Orange Sampler Tour is offered on Saturdays and Sundays (11 a.m.-2 p.m.); the Orange Farmer’s Market Food & Culture Tour runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; and the Orange ArtWalkFoodTour takes place the 3rd Saturday of every month from 2 – 5 p.m., adding local galleries and private presentations by artists and gallery owners. Advance purchase required; tours often sell out.


Vietnamese Cooking and Market Tour Fountain Valley

Xanh Bistro

16161 Brookhurst St.

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

(714) 531-2030

Tour Vietnam without a passport! Join Chef Haley Nguyen on this exciting and educational experience. The tour begins at a local Vietnamese market where you learn about the glorious produce, live seafood and cookware, then return to Xanh Bistro for a hands-on Regional Vietnamese cooking class that transforms these exotic ingredients into delectable dishes. Then savor this light and healthy, yet flavorful cuisine, in a scrumptious multi-course meal. 9:30-1:30; Check the website for upcoming dates. Private group market tours, cooking classes and tours of Little Saigon can also be arranged for groups of 8 or more. Call (714) 531-2050 for details.


Cultural, Historical & Architectural Tours and Experiences

Balboa Walking Tour Newport Beach

(949) 285-7558

Every Saturday at 10:00 a.m., Newport at Your Feet offers a 2-hour walking tour of Balboa with professional guide, owner Carolyn Clark. Discover fascinating landmarks, fun and fabulous boutiques, surf shops and the “gotta see” hot spots in an area of unparalleled natural beauty: Newport Harbor, the Historic Fun Zone and Pavilion, the Balboa ferry, Balboa Island, the Balboa Pier and the wide blue Pacific. Cameras highly recommended. Reservations required. Newport At Your Feet can also customize other special interest tours.

Crystal Cove Historic District 

Crystal Cove State Park

8471 N. Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(949) 494-3539

Experience an authentic piece of California’s coastal history on a two-hour guided tour through this historic seaside colony, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours take place the 2nd Saturday of every month and are led by Laura Davick, founder and President Emeritus of Crystal Cove Alliance, the nonprofit instrumental in saving and restoring the historic beach cottages for public use.


Crystal Cathedral Garden Grove

12141 Lewis Street

Garden Grove, CA

(714) 971-4000

The Crystal Cathedral, designed by American architect Philip Johnson, was completed in 1980, bringing Reverend Robert Schuller’s dream of a glass structure to reality. Richard Neutra and Richard Meier designed several of the other facilities on the church property. There are many sculptures on the grounds which depict biblical stories, the most prized of which is American sculptor Frederick Hart’s “Christ Rising.” The Cathedral is home of the internationally broadcasted Hour of Power and one of the largest pipe organs in the world. Tours of the property are available Mon. – Sat., 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Downtown Fullerton—Docent-led Walking & Trolley Tours Fullerton

(714) 740-3051

Founded in 1887, Fullerton’s vibrant downtown is home to more than 70 historic buildings dating from 1905-1949. Thirteen downtown buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided walking or trolley tours of historic Fullerton are offered on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., departing from the Fullerton Museum Center (at Wilshire & Pomona.) Tours last approx. 2 hrs and cost $5. Reservations are recommended for the walking tour and are required for the trolley tour. Call to reserve a spot, or send an e-mail to tours@ Be sure to include your contact information.


Laguna Canyon Premier Artists (Private Studios) & Wine Tasting Laguna Beach

OC Wildlife & Beach Tours

(949) 500-6981

Meet some of Laguna’s celebrated artists as they show you their latest works of art in their private studios, as well as the process and tools they use to realize their inspiration. Many of the artists you’ll meet have received prestigious awards and are renowned around the world. Enjoy contemporary art, plein air, mixed media/abstract, bronze sculptures, figurative art, sculptured glass jewelry and more. There’s also a stop at Laguna’s famous Culinary Arts for wine tasting and cheese.


Old Towne Orange Haunted History Ghost Walk Orange

(866) 446-7803

Are you prepared for a night filled with dark history and the macabre? On this two-hour evening walking tour around historic Old Towne Orange, relive the chilling details of death and that which truly will not die. Ghosts, poltergeists and other things that go bump in the night await us and have stories to tell.


Old Towne Orange Historical Walking Tours Orange

(714) 998-0330

Old Towne Orange Historic District is the largest National Register District in California. Within the one square-mile district surrounding the original plaza is the state’s second largest concentration of historic buildings. At its core is a vibrant commercial district containing Orange County’s oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain. Surrounding the commercial core are four residential neighborhoods with examples of architecture ranging from the 1880s to the 1930s.

Orange Community Historical Society offers walking tours from April through October on the 2nd Sat at 10 a.m. and 4th Sun at 4 p.m. The tour lasts 90 min. and begins at the Historic Water Fountain at the entry to the Orange Library & History Center, 407 E. Chapman Ave. $5 donation. Tour reservations are highly recommended; check availability at (714) 998-0330 or e-mail


Photo Walking Tours Newport Beach

422 ½ Carnation Ave.

Corona del Mar, CA 92625

(888) 9PHOTO9

Small group and individual photo tours of Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor, guided by professional photography instructor and author Ralph Velasco. Learn basic camera techniques and how to improve your photography. All levels welcome, any camera, rentals available.


San Juan Capistrano Architectural Walking Tours San Juan Capistrano

(949) 489-0736

Architecture buffs can take a stroll through 200 years of California architecture within San Juan Capistrano’s historic downtown. Offered every Saturday at 10 a.m., the walk lasts about 2 hours. Meet your guide at the railroad depot platform on Verdugo Street. Prospective walkers should call in advance. $5 per person donation supports the Friends of the Library.


San Juan Capistrano Historic Walking Tours San Juan Capistrano

(949) 493-8444

Explore San Juan Capistrano’s colorful history—including ghosts, pirates and buried treasure. Offered every Sunday at 1 p.m., this 90 minute guided tour covers points of interest within the historic downtown and the adjacent Los Rios District, the oldest neighborhood in California. Meet your guide at the railroad depot platform on Verdugo Street. $2 per person donation supports the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society.


Sawdust Studio Art Classes Laguna Beach

(949) 494-3030

Experience the magic that comes from being an artist by booking a unique hands-on art workshop. Workshops are offered every Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., taught by professional artists. Each two-hour workshop enables students to design a unique art piece to wear or share. Choose from jewelry, pottery, ceramics or tiles.


Segerstrom Center for the Arts—Behind-The-Scenes Tour Costa Mesa

600 Town Center Dr.

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(714) 556-2122 x. 4246

The architectural splendor and technological wonders of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts can be experienced firsthand every week during docent-led tours of the Center’s various theaters. These free excursions through the world-renowned halls and backstage areas make guests “insiders” to the star-studded world of theater, music and dance. Tours of Segerstrom Hall and Founders Hall are offered every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Tours of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Samueli Theater are offered on Saturdays, also at 10:30 a.m. Certain dates may be restricted due to performances and other events, so call in advance to make sure the tour is available on the day you wish to attend.


Guided Kayaking, Surfing & Paddleboard Experiences

China Cove Kayak Adventures Newport Beach

1125 W. Balboa Blvd.

Balboa, CA 92661

(949) 632-4694

Start your day off with coffee and amazing, freshly-made pastries. Then hop onto your Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL and enjoy a guided kayak tour of Newport Harbor that provides close-up viewing of multimillion-dollar yachts and movie star homes. Stop for a swim at Pirates Cove beach, which has made numerous appearances on film and television. Along the way, enjoy pelicans, sea lions and seals frolicking in the bay. Daily kayak tours depart at 8:45 a.m., from I Street and Balboa Blvd., at the end of the Balboa Peninsula. Tours are approx. 2 hours 15 minutes. Reservations required.


Guided Kayak Tours and Nature Walks of Upper Newport Bay Newport Beach

Newport Bay Conservancy

(949) 923-2269

Join a trained naturalist every Saturday and Sunday morning, year-round for a 2-hour guided kayak tour of the Back Bay in the heart of Newport Beach. Upper Newport Bay is one of the largest of only a few remaining unspoiled estuaries in Southern California. It is home to nearly 200 species of birds and is an important stopover for migrating birds on the Pacific Flyway. Glimpse up to 30,000 birds a day during winter months. Bring sun protection and be prepared to get wet. Fee is $20; $10 for Newport Bay Conservancy members and CA Wildlife Campaign members. Reservations and pre-payment required. Tours leave from the Newport Aquatic Center at 10 a.m. The Conservancy also offers a nature walk, usually held on the first and/or third Saturday of the Month. Call for details.


La Vida Laguna—Eco-Adventures Laguna Beach

673 N. Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach, CA 92651