Top 15 Things To Do In Orange County, California - Updated 2024

| 4 min read

Located in Southern California, Orange County is a beautiful port city offering hypnotic beauty and an incredibly luxurious feeling. The county has a gorgeous string of beaches. The beautiful Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City has one of the world’s best surfing museums. Another is the Newport Beach serving as an ideal harbour for boats opposite Balboa Peninsula. Laguna Beach has a beautiful range of tidepools. The Orange County is also famous for its Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm, a vast theme park offering super awesome experience. Other than beauty, the county has a lot to offer, some of which is listed below. Please find below the list of 10 amazing things to do in Orange County, California.

1. Take a tour of the Heritage Museum of Orange County

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Heritage Museum of Orange County on Saturday, May 4, 2019

This cultural center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Orange County and welcomes visitors of all ages. The centerpiece of the museum spans an area of 12 acres (4.86 hectares) and features several buildings from the 1890s nestled in the midst of floral gardens and citrus groves. You will find the Kellogg House among the buildings which is a popular field trip destination for teachers and students for over 30 years now.

The museum is currently campaigning for the restoration of the John A. Maag Farmhouse with plans of housing museum archives, offices, and exhibitions here. Two of the outbuildings house offices, meeting areas, and a gift shop at present.

Heritage Museum of Orange County

Address: 3101 W Harvard St, Santa Ana, CA 92704, United States

Website: Heritage Museum of Orange County

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 10am - 2pm (closed Mon through Fri)

Price: 10 USD (members enter free of cost)

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2. Go hiking in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Nestled on a sprawling 2500 acres (1011.72 hectares) of riparian and oak woodland canyons, this park features picturesque rock formations which include the stunning Red Rock Canyon. Visitors can spend a tranquil afternoon in the company of diverse flora and fauna by the banks of the meandering streams of Borrego, Serrano, and Aliso Creek.

The park has 23 trails of graded roads and single-track trails that serve as great spots for hiking and mountain biking. The Red Rock Canyon and Billy Goat Trails are for experienced hikers only.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Address: 26701 Portola Parkway Foothill Ranch, CA 92610 United States

Website: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 7am - sunset (closed Mon through Fri)

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3. Spend a day amidst plants in Niguel Botanical Preserve

Niguel Botanical Preserve
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CashewCraver used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Resting on land that spans 18 acres (7.28 hectares), the objective of this garden is to demonstrate the appropriate use of drought-tolerant plants. With over 2000 plant species in the park setting, visitors are introduced to unusual plant varieties that are collected from parts of the world with similar Mediterranean climates.

Dogs are welcome here. You can also bring your camera to take pictures of the abundant garden. You may refer to the map of the garden for exploring the place at your own pace. Members can request a guided tour for themselves. Free car parking facilities are available in the parking lot adjacent to the community center building.

Niguel Botanical Preserve

Address: 29751 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, United States

Website: Niguel Botanical Preserve

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

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4. Enjoy watching giant whales on a catamaran cruise (from USD 66.56)

things to do in orange county | enjoy watching giant whales on a catamaran cruise

Sail off on a catamaran yacht that starts from Newport Beach and enjoy a view of giant blue whales, humpback whales, and dolphins up close. A naturalist guide keeps you entertained with fascinating details about these majestic creatures. The captain takes you to places where the whales are more active which increases your chances of viewing them.

You can head to the front of the ship and experience dolphins playing under your feet. Lounge on the huge deck and enjoy the scenic spots that surround you.

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Newport Beach: Luxury Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Duration: 2.5 hour

101 reviews

5. See the Southern California coast through the eyes of an art historian guide on this tour (from USD 145.0)

If you are in Orange County and would like to explore the Southern California coast in its true glory, then this sightseeing tour is something you wouldn’t want to miss. Guests will be picked up from the hotel or resident location for convenience.

Each group will be assigned an experienced art historian guide who will make the tour worthwhile and enjoyable through his commentary about the coastal towns and the iconic attractions. The tour will cover some of the area’s most famous sights, such as Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and Dana Point.

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Orange County Coastal Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 6 to 7 hours

26 reviews

6. Experience an enthralling encounter with whales (from USD 29.0)

If you love blue waters or water sports or you are on a honeymoon and want to enjoy some quality time, then this place in Orange County is truly meant for you. Take a cruise or hire a private yacht or your own private touring boat and enjoy the cold breeze of the Newport harbour. On the other hand, you have Collin’s Island and the Balboa Peninsula, where you have great surfing spots.

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Whale-Watching Cruise from Newport Beach

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

672 reviews

7. Enjoy a lovely walk across the Fullerton Arboretum

Doctor Clark's Office at the Fullerton Arboretum.
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Terry Lucas used under CC BY 3.0

This place is the supreme bliss for nature lovers. You can enjoy a romantic walk with your loved one in the middle of the garden along a walking trail. This admirable botanical garden also has plants on sale. You can buy a pot of happiness and life and keep it as a souvenir for life. The Fullerton Arboretum also has a wide variety of exotic plants.

Fullerton Arboretum

Address: 1900 Associated Rd, Fullerton, CA 92831, USA

Website: Fullerton Arboretum

Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm

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8. Experience America's favourite pastime at Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium of Anaheim (31714556991)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user redlegsfan21 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you love to watch a baseball game, then this place is only for you. Plan a trip to Angel’s stadium to enjoy a game. This stadium is well structured, and the seating arrangement is well defined so that you get the best view of the field. There are so many food stalls which can satisfy your hunger pangs.

Angel Stadium

Address: 2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806, USA

Website: Angel Stadium

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9. Get close to nature at Orange County Zoo

The zoo is a must-visit with the family in Orange County. It gives a fascinating view of wildlife and is ideal for kids and young ones. Visitors to the zoo can experience wildlife right in the middle of the city. Orange County Zoo has all the native American animals. They also rescue animals and help and protect injured animals.

Orange County Zoo

Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869, USA

Website: Orange County Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

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10. Walk through fine arts in Bowers Museum

Bowers Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eric Stoner used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This amazingly gorgeous and rich cultural museum is an ideal place for art and history lovers. Please buy tickets in advance to avoid long queues. Spend your day admiring the ancient artworks of China to modern American art. Bowers Museum has also been voted as the “Best Museum in Orange County”. The American Alliance Museum has also accredited it and this honour has only been given to 5% of the museums in the States.

Bowers Museum

Address: 2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706, USA

Website: Bowers Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

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11. Take your children to Pretend City Children's Museum

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ermalfaro used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Do not consider the Pretend City Children’s Museum to be a conventional museum. This institution provides a learning environment for your child. Plan your day trip to this museum with your kids to give them a rich and hands-on learning experience. There are many activities for the kids guided by highly trained professional staff. It is the perfect place for every age, even adults!

Pretend City Children's Museum

Address: 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618, USA

Website: Pretend City Children’s Museum

Opening hours: Mon: 10am - 1pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm

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12. Plan a picnic at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach, California
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Children always want more fun on a vacation, and the Bolsa Chica State Beach will be the right place to enjoy a family picnic. Enjoy the sand and the water sports with a fantastic view of the sunset. Take an ocean walk, or enjoy a bike ride with your kids. The evening is the best time to visit this great location. It is a memorable place to spend your family time in Orange County.

Bolsa Chica State Beach

Address: California (north of Huntington Beach and south of the community of Sunset Beach)

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13. Dine at Orange Hill Restaurant

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

A vacation is not complete without fun and food, so give a treat to your taste buds. Orange Hill Restaurant provides you with the most memorable dining experience on your vacation in Orange County. The restaurant is on a hilltop and has great views of Catalina Island, downtown Los Angeles, Disneyland’s magical firework show and the most beautiful California coastline. It is the perfect place for a date-night dinner. They offer both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal options — a specialist in serving American and international cuisines.

Orange Hill Restaurant

Address: 6410 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869, USA

Website: Orange Hill Restaurant

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 4:30pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 2pm, 4:30pm - 10pm

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14. A kid's day out at Disneyland Park (from USD 885.0)

things to do in orange county | a kid's day out at disneyland park

Someone rightly said, “We all know reality is far better than fiction”. So why not be nostalgic and plan a day out with your kids to Disneyland. It gives you and your kid a lot of great memories. This place is full of different joy rides which will result in the best time during your family vacation. You can see your childhood memories coming alive in front of your eyes, while you immerse yourself in some of your favourite Disney activities.

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Private Tours at Disneyland and California Adventure

1 review

15. Explore the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (from USD 319.0)

explore the bolsa chica ecological reserve

Another day to plan your trip in Orange County, amidst nature. Bolsa Chica is the pleasant wetlands in Orange County. It is one of the best places for nature lovers and the Ecological Reserve provides you with a different experience in the city of beaches. You will see the distinct and vast varieties of birds that you may have never seen before. This will definitely make your day in Orange County.

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Orange County Beaches Helicopter Tour from Long Beach

Have an amazing stay at Orange County

If you wish to turn your boring vacation into fun and want to spend some excellent time with your near and dear ones, do visit Orange County in California. The above list of 10 amazing things to do in Orange County, California will help you plan your fantastic day accordingly.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Sameeksha Jain is a passionate travel writer. Known to weave captivating tales for over six years, each of her sentences is a ticket to destinations painted in prose. Her love affair with travel...Read more

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