Orange County's top attractions offer something for everyone, from theme parks to art museums. This family-friendly destination is home to Disneyland, a summer vacation mecca for families the world over, as well as Knott's Berry Farm, where the family can hang out with Snoopy and the gang while enjoying more than 150 acres of rides. Not a thrill seeker? There's plenty to do on the coast, where you can enjoy art galleries and boutiques in Laguna Beach or catch a ferry to Catalina Island.
Take It or Leave It:
If you're headed to Orange County's theme parks, be prepared to brave the crowds.
Many of Orange County's best hotels and resorts are found in Anaheim, offering easy access to The Happiest Place on Earth. If you book a hotel in the Downtown Disney District, you won't even need a car to reach Disneyland's main entrance. Prefer ocean views? You can take your pick from dozens of seaside accommodations. With the sand at your feet and rolling sounds of crashing waves filling the air, you'll get a true feel for the SoCal lifestyle.
Book early, especially if you're coming to Orange County in the peak summer months.
Whether you want to dine on the sand or with Disney princesses, Orange County has you covered. Many of the area's best restaurants can be found along the 42-mile shore in cities like Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point. You can dine alfresco to soak in the surf, sand and sun while enjoying everything from seafood and steaks to all-American hamburgers and California cuisine. College towns like downtown Fullerton are known for restaurants with both innovative menus and wallet-friendly prices.
Be Sure to Sample:
Creative sushi platters, local brews and food truck fare.
While the area is largely known as a family destination, Orange County offers plenty to do after dark. With its bars, lounges and live music, Downtown Fullerton is where college students head to unwind after a long day of classes. In swanky Costa Mesa, dozens of late-night venues offer everything from pool halls and watering holes to jazz bands and dance clubs. The coast stays out late, too, with bars in both Newport Beach and Huntington Beach partying into the wee hours.
Take It or Leave It:
College towns bring college crowds, which may or may not be your type of scene.
Fashionistas and trendsetters flock to Fashion Island in Newport Beach and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Other top shopping centers include Irvine Spectrum Center, Brea Mall and The Outlets at Orange. For vintage, antique and one-of-a-kind finds, you'll want to spend a day digging through Downtown Fullerton and Old Towne Orange. In quaint Laguna Beach, you'll find more than 100 art galleries and home decor boutiques where you can find the perfect souvenir to put in your home.
Mega malls like South Coast Plaza and Irvine Spectrum Center draw huge traffic on weekends.
Best Local Souvenir:
Customized Mickey Mouse ears or artisan crafts from Laguna Beach.