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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Buckman

5 of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Orange County, California (Featuring Laguna Beach, California!)

Updated: Sep 26

So, you've made it to the OC, the land of America's best beaches. The sun is shining (as usual) and your beach bags are packed but where are you going to go? Lucky for you, I am going to let you in on my favorite beaches in Orange County, California. As you may know, I have lived around Laguna Beach, California for the last three years and I have scoped out the beach scene. Read on to see my top 5 picks!

Sunset at Crystal Cove State Beach in Laguna Beach California
Crystal Cove State Beach

1. Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach, California - Best for Families

Coming in at number one is Crystal Cove State Park situated between Newport and Laguna Beach. This is my all-time FAVORITE beach in Orange County and the world (so far...)! Everything about this beach is grand and stunning. It is a must-see for visitors to Orange County. Unlike most beaches in OC, Crystal Cove has a restaurant on the sand. This is very rare for SoCal! The Beachcomber Cafe is nestled between the cabins at Crystal Cove and the famous Crystal Cove Shake Shack! It is one of my favorite spots to catch a sunset, as well, so make sure to stick around for the show!

How to get there and where to park:

Parking here is a bit tricky so I'll try to make it easy for you. There are multiple parking lots for Crystal Cove State Park as it is quite big. You will have to pay for a day pass which is around $16.

If you are planning on eating at the Beachcomber Cafe, park here.

Walk to the back of the lot behind the bathrooms, find the trail, and take the trail down under PCH through the tunnel to get to the beach. OR wait for the shuttle if you don't want to walk. The tunnel is pretty cool though so I recommend walking.

(Make sure to ask the restaurant for a parking ticket on your way out!)

If you want to head for a beach day, park here.

If you just want to check out Crystal Cove and go for a hike, park here.

Cove at Table Rock Beach in Laguna Beach, California
Table Rock Beach

2. Table Rock Beach, Laguna Beach, California - Best for Couples

Table Rock Beach is a small cove in South Laguna Beach. It is curvy and rocky with some fascinating waves. That being said, the swimming conditions are unpredictable and can get very dangerous. If you love to swim while at the beach, this may not be your place. However, the privacy of this smaller beach makes it a great beach day destination for couples!

How to get there and where to park:

Put Table Rock Beach into your GPS and park on PCH near Table Rock Drive. Walk down Table Rock Drive until you see the staircase on the left! Parking is free if you are on the side of the road!

Coastline of Strands Beach in Dana Point, California
Strands Beach

3. Strands Beach, Dana Point, California - Best for Younger Beach Go-Ers

Lo and behold Strands Beach! This beach is great for younger crowds as this is where all the youngins hang out. But as always, everyone is welcome! You will see a lot of action here, surfing, swimming, spike-balling, and more.

How to get there and where to park:

Park in the free parking lot just above Strands Beach and take the stairs on the left or right side down to the sand.

West Street Beach shoreline in Laguna Beach, California
West Street Beach

4. West Street Beach, Laguna Beach, California - Best for a Quiet Beach Day

West street beach is just below, you guessed it, West Street in South Laguna! There is a trolley stop right at the top of the stairs making it accessible to anyone in Laguna Beach! This is a beautiful beach that is not as crowded as beaches closer to Laguna's center.

How to get there and where to park:

Take the trolley to West Street or Park on PCH near West Street. Head on down the stairs on West Street to get to the sand.

Surfers with their surf boards lined up on the beach at Doheny Beach in Dana Point, California
Doheny Beach

5. Doheny Beach, Dana Point, California - Best for Surfers

Last but certainly not least, Doheny Beach! Or as the locals call it, Doho. This beach is great for families and surfers alike. Or anyone who likes to watch surfers! This is a beginner surf beach so don't be too intimidated by the ways. This beach has a variety of picnic tables, and firepits, where you can set up camp for the day. They also offer surfboard and wetsuit rentals if you want to catch a few waves. Don't forget to check out Doho Cafe for a snack or beverage!

How to get there and where to park:

Head to Doheny Beach and park in the main lot or the small lot.

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