Orange County is one of the most beautiful parts of California (and the United States). While most first-time Cali visitors tend to stick to LA, there’s a lot to be seen in the county that lies just south, and we’re not just talking about Disneyland. Make 2018 the year you book a flight, secure your car rental reservations Orange County through Super Cheap Car Rental, and explore this amazing area.
Of course, a weekend in beautiful Southern California isn’t enough… and sometimes, even a full week is too short to see everything you’re hoping to see. Luckily, Super Cheap has some excellent Orange County long-term car rental terms to ensure you’ll have your perfect vehicle for as long as you need it.
If you’re coming to Orange County this year, enjoy this list of must-see attractions. While you could come to the OC a dozen times and never see everything, these spots will give you an incredible start.
Without a doubt, Laguna Beach is the absolute gem of Orange County. Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, it’s a true year-round paradise. The little oceanside town is downright charming, and the beach itself is beautiful.
Aside from long beach walks (which you’ll want to enjoy frequently), a few of the best things to do in Laguna Beach include whale watching, shopping, the Laguna Art Museum and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. There are also plenty of tasty restaurants to enjoy.
Long Beach is basically one giant playground with something for everyone. Home of the historic (and haunted) ship, the Queen Mary, this tourist-friendly town is a must-see. Check out the Aquarium of the Pacific, stroll along the pier, and catch a show at the Art Theatre of Long Beach. You’ll never be bored here.
Sherman Library and Gardens
Located in Corona del Mar, the Sherman Library and Gardens is a 2.2-acre horticultural retreat. You’ll discover a museum of living plants, breathtaking gardens, and conservatories linked together by brick walkways lined with flowers. Frequent events, such as movie nights an afternoon tea services, are also a big draw.
Huntington Beach Pier
Huntington Beach captures the spirit of “Surf City,” and the pier is a local icon. The structure dates all the way back to 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A severe storm in the 1980s tried to take it out, but it was quickly rebuilt and now stretches 1.850 feet into the ocean. That makes it the longest pier on the entire West Coast.
For a mere $5 donation, you can spend an afternoon relaxing in nature. The Fullerton Arboretum is open daily from 8 AM until 4:30, and it’s full of beautiful gardens and exhibits. If you can bear to be away from the beach for a day, these sights will make it all worth it.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely want to see San Juan Capistrano’s mission. Founded by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order in 1776, it’s incredible that the majority of it is still standing. You can take a guided tour here for a mere $3, or wander around yourself and explore the beautiful grounds.
Crystal Cove State Park
Visiting Crystal Cove State Park, which is located off the Pacific Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, feels a bit like going back in time. As one of Orange County’s last remaining examples of open space and natural seashore, it features over three miles of beach and a whopping 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness. Make sure you check out the Historic District, a cluster of 46 vintage cottages built in the 1930s and 40s that are available for rent (but tend to be booked almost a year in advance).
If you get the chance to check out Newport Beach, head to the iconic Balboa Pier to catch the sunset. Constructed in 1906 as a sister project of the Balboa Pavilion, it has attracted multitudes of beachgoers over the years. If you’re hungry, enjoy a meal and a milkshake at Ruby’s Diner, which sits right on the pier.
If you love shopping (or if you just forgot some vacation essentials and you need a few things), you’ll love Fashion Island, Orange County’s largest shopping center. Not only will you find some great familiar stores, but if you have time, you can even enjoy the wardrobe and styling experiences of your own personal shopper. Fashion Island is located at 01 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Located in the beautiful Huntington Beach community, Bolsa Chica State Beach is known as a nirvana for newbies. Known for welcoming novice surfers, swimmers and fisherman (due to the shallow water and small waves), this is a great place to visit if you’re curious about surfing… or if you’d just like to watch others attempt it. The beach has outdoor showers, public restrooms, volleyball courts and basketball courts, and the 200 fire rings are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This one goes without saying… but we had to mention it. After all, how can you visit Orange County without going to the Happiest Place on Earth? Disneyland remains just as magical as it always was, and now there are plenty of other nearby theme parks to choose from should you decide that the Magic Kingdom isn’t for you.
Maximize your Disney time by visiting in the offseason (avoid holidays and school vacations). Buying tickets online will save you from waiting in line, and if you pack in your own picnic food, you’ll save both money and time.