South Orange County Beach Guide

Dana Point Harbor Beach

If the name doesn’t already give it away, this beach is located along the harbor of Dana Point. It is a smaller beach, but great for a calm, family day. There is a swimming area for children, and a grass park behind the beach for picnics and barbecues. This beach is the way to go if you’re trying to avoid lots of  traffic and difficult parking.

Doheny State Beach

One of Dana Point’s more popular beaches, the Doheny State Beach is split up between north and south. The north side of Doheny State Beach is where more active beach goers like to visit because it offers beach volleyball courts, paddle boarding rentals and low tide surfing for beginners. The north beach also has a visitor’s center equipped with indoor tide pools, an aquarium and family-friendly exhibits. The south side of the beach is great for swimming as well, but also has campgrounds if you wish to sleep under the stars.

Aliso Beach

Aliso Beach, located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, is somewhat famous amongst the skim boarder crowd of Orange County. Visitors can find a slew of skim boarders doing tricks, flips and riding the waves at anytime during the day, especially in the mornings. Aliso Beach has a strong current that creates, tall, crashing waves on the shore. One thing about Aliso Beach, that not many Orange County beaches have, is a large parking lot, so it is easily accessible!

Crescent Bay Beach

One of the larger beaches in Laguna, Crescent Bay, located off Cliff Drive, is a well-known spot for tanning, scuba diving and whale-watching. There are two popular spots for scuba diving- Dead Man’s Reef and Seal Rock. During low tide, visitors also like to explore the tide pools, filled with marine life that appear on the rocks of the beach.

Thousand Steps Beach

Beach and workout in one? If you’re prepared to work for your beach day, then head down to Thousand Steps Beach. Although you do not have to climb exactly a thousand steps to get to it, there are quite a few. Many Orange County locals like to get their morning workout in at Thousand Steps Beach. The walk down the stairs isn’t quite as bad as the walk back up, so you have to be prepared. People love Thousand Steps Beach because of the intimate feel, and the seclusion. It’s also great for tide pools and exploring caves!

Calafia Beach

A great destination for a sunny day, Calafia Beach is one of the best beaches in San Clemente! If it’s a hot day, be sure to get here early because parking can fill up very fast. No need to pack a lunch for the family if you are going to Calafia Beach, because there is a cafe right on the sand!

Mariposa Beach

This secluded beach in San Clemente is great if you are looking for a quieter day on the sand. It is a little tricky to find. The beach can only be accessed through a pathway underneath the footbridge for the San Clemente Coastal Trail. The pathway goes under the railroad tracks and brings you to the calm beach. However, if you are planning a day at Mariposa, be sure to check what the tide is like, because on days with high tide this beach becomes very small.

San Onofre State Beach

This long beach stretches from San Clemente to the edge of Oceanside. The beach is technically in both Orange County and North San Diego County. The most popular area of San Onofre State beach is called Bluff’s Beach. There is parking all along the beach and can be accessed through six different trails. There is also another part of San Onofre called the Surfing Beach that is said to have the best surfing breaks in all of Orange County.

 

For more great advice on South Orange County, check out some of our other articles! To learn more about the housing market in South Orange County contact one of our realtors today!

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