The Best things to Do in Orange County This Weekend
It’s no secret Orange County is home to some of the best beaches, attractions and activities the United States has to offer. Whether you’re visiting from up north, the east coast or beyond, the multitude of things to do in Orange County this weekend is endless. But why wait until the weekend? Kickstart your OC staycay with some midweek fun! From celebrated theme parks like Disneyland and places to see a live musical like the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to the region’s charming coastal towns like Newport Beach, it’s no wonder this iconic county attracts visitors from around the world. So get ready to add some fun to your calendar because we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Orange County!
So Many Things to Do in Orange County
Whether it’s a Tuesday or a Sunday, the neverending assortment of things to do in this sunny neck of the woods could fill up anyone’s calendar for months on end. Think world-class restaurants, high-end shopping, celebrated theme parks, scenic shorelines and more! And while inland cities like Santa Ana are great, when it comes to a true “west coast” experience, a beach staycation is a surefire way to soak up the sun and live like a true OC local. But before you pack your bags and head to the nearest town, we’d like to shed light on one of Orange County’s most treasured coastal communities: the city of Newport Beach.
Known for its beautiful boat-filled harbor, soft sandy beaches, barreling blue waves and charming local flair, this quaint town offers locals and visitors a slice of pure paradise. Whether you’re catching waves at Newport Pier, shopping at Fashion Island or enjoying a sunset dinner on the bustling Balboa Peninsula, you’ll fall in love with everything this city has to offer. Plan a Newport Beach day trip or rent a beach house for a week of sun-drenched fun! However long you’re in town, we’ve got the ultimate guide to Newport Beach that’ll jumpstart your adventures and send you on your way.
Try the Tide Pools
With sunny-and-75 weather most of the year, the opportunity for outdoor activities is endless! One of Newport Beach’s best-kept secrets is the tide pools at Little Corona Beach in the neighborhood of Corona del Mar. The tucked-away beach is flanked on both sides by rocky reefs and is protected from swells and surf, making it a great spot for snorkeling and diving. Other popular spots for tidepooling include Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Park—a 3.2-mile stretch of coastline with rugged bluffs and breathtaking coves. Take a stroll down to the water to spot sea urchins, starfish and other creatures who call the tide pools home. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and check the tide schedule before you go!
Have an Adventure at the State Parks
Southern California, specifically Orange County, is home to several state parks and beaches, including Crystal Cove State Park, Doheny State Beach, Huntington State Beach, San Clemente State Beach and more. These pristine stretches of the coastline offer an assortment of activities for any day of the week, whether it’s a weekend of RV camping or a midweek bonfire with friends.
If you’re in the market for some killer waves, Huntington State Beach is a must-visit. This 121-acre state beach is known for its fantastic break and also features basketball courts, volleyball courts, fire rings and a multi-use trail. Doheny State Beach is also a superb surf spot and is ideal for beginners looking for a smaller wave. And if you’re in search of fun for the whole family, Crystal Cove State Park boasts a slew of amenities, from coastal cottages for rent to its waterfront restaurant, The Beachcomber Café.
Hit the Fun Zone
When it comes to kid-friendly fun, the time-honored Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach is an ideal place to spend a day. The amusement area is stationed between the Balboa Pier and the Auto Ferry and features an arcade, Ferris wheel and more! Take in views from the top of the Ferris wheel, let the kids play in the old-school arcade, and grab a bite at one of the many surrounding restaurants. On the weekends, the Balboa Fun Zone can get crowded, but weekdays tend to be more moderate in terms of tourists. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, take the ferry across to Balboa Island, where you’ll find a peaceful enclave surrounded by the calm waters of the bay. Saunter down Marine Avenue and discover the island’s assortment of charming shops and family-owned restaurants. Other nearby attractions include theme parks like Disney California Adventure and the up-and-coming city of Costa Mesa.
More Than a Beach Town All the Time
While Newport Beach and its neighboring cities may be famed for their beautiful beaches, the area also boasts a variety of inland activities, including farmers markets, world-class shopping and plenty of places to dine with a view. Jumpstart your day with a trip to the Corona del Mar Farmers’ Market or Newport Beach Farmers’ Market, where you can purchase everything from seasonal vegetables and exotic fruits to farm-fresh eggs and baked goods!
For those in search of some retail therapy, Fashion Island and Lido Marina Village offer a range of boutiques and name-brand stores that’ll give your wardrobe the upgrade it needs! Shop labels like Jenni Kayne, Cynthia Rowley and Warby Parker at Lido Marina Village or head to Fashion Island for iconic stores like Anthropologie & Co., Lucky Brand, Lululemon and Kendra Scott. Both of these lifestyle destinations also present a slew of amazing restaurants that’ll please any palate.
Looking for a fun day trip? Newport Beach’s neighboring towns like San Clemente, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and San Diego are just a short drive away and each have their own local charm. Spend a day admiring the Spanish architecture and quaint coastal ambiance of San Clemente, catch some waves in Surf City USA (Huntington Beach), or make a trek down to San Diego and experience the burgeoning craft beer scene and stunning coastline!