In addition to 42 miles of pristine beaches, The OC is home to some of the nation's most beautiful coastal parks and trails. Enjoy a picnic or a morning stroll with a majestic view of the Pacific as your backdrop. For more information on Orange County parks and nature trails, click here.
Aliso And Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
28373 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
This expansive park sits at the south end of the Laguna Greenbelt. Its canyons harbor a pastoral feel unmatched in Orange County. Aliso & Wood Canyons are natural wonders still to be enjoyed.
Bolsa Chica State Beach and Ecological Reserve
17851 Pacific Coast Highway
(between Warner Ave. and Seapoint Ave.)
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Stretching some 3 miles, this beach is popular with sunbathers and surfers throughout the year. It's also as popular by night as it is by day because of the fire rings used for after-dark bonfires. Amenities includes restrooms, concession stands and paid parking. Lifeguard patrols take place year round, but towers are staffed only in the summer. The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve parallels the beach, across Pacific Coast Highway. Beachside RV camping is available at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Enjoy volleyball, basketball and other beach activities. During the summer months, a concession building offers fishing gear rental and sales, food and beverages, and beach supplies.
Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
One of Orange County's largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore, Crystal Cove State Park offers rolling surf, wide sandy beaches, tide pools, along with deeply wooded canyons and ridges. From the El Moro Canyon parking lot, backcountry trails are open for hiking, bicycling and equestrian use. Beachgoers can enjoy seven separate coves along 3.2 miles of beach. Sunbathing, swimming, surfing, diving and tide pool exploring are all popular activities. Explore the Crystal Cove Historic District-a favorite with artists and as a location for many early films. Dine within feet of the water at The Beachcomber Café. (Be prepared to wait! Or catch a faster bite at the Shake Shack on the bluff above.) For nearly 100 years, Crystal Cove has been a popular place to pitch a tent or rent a beach cottage. Bluff top camping is now available once again, complete with stunning ocean and sunset views. Or rent an historic beach cottages (they rent six months in advance) and enjoy one of California's quintessential beach experiences.
Laguna Niguel Regional Park
28241 La Paz Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Discover suburban recreation at its best, with a wide selection of outdoor activities, including tennis, volleyball, jogging and bicycling in a spacious, well-landscaped setting. Also enjoy fishing and boating on the park's 44-acre lake.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
18751 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949)923-2235 or (949)923-3702
Lush, sycamore-shaded canyons and high ridges offering views of the Pacific Ocean create a spectacular environment for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Designed to preserve the delicate balance of the natural habitat, a major portion of the park's 6,500acres is open for use on a limited basis.
Salt Creek offers access to 18 acres of public beaches. It is a popular surfing location, with a small, offshore reef that creates some of the best left swells along the entire shoreline. Swimming, body surfing, sunbathing and tide pool exploration are other beach activities. The parking is located on the bluff above the beach; the beach can be reached via a set of stairs or a funicular.
Surfside Beach and Sunset Beach
Pacific Coast Highway (between Anderson & Warner Ave.)
Sunset Beach, CA 90742
Spanning a 3-mile stretch, Surfside Beach and Sunset Beach have excellent visitor amenities and provide ample space for recreational activities, including swimming, body and board surfing. A surfing zone is on the north end of the beach and lifeguard services are provided. Quieter beaches, less known to tourists. Close to restaurants along Pacific Coast Highway.
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 923-2290 or (949) 923-2275
Bordering Newport Back Bay, the Nature Preserve provides vistas of the coastal wetlands, which are reminiscent of the historic landscape of much of Alta California. Renowned as one of the finest birding sites in North America, several endangered species make this natural preserve their home. The Muth Interpretive Center overlooks the shimmering estuary, offering the visitor a portage to bay life.