Expert Tips


10Best Stays in OC Style at the Beach (and with Mickey)

With 42 miles of coastline and rolling hills, your chances of finding a beach vacation-worthy hotel in Orange County are high.   It’s not difficult to find a hotel with a view which is why so many top-rated hotels and resorts are concentrated on the coast where the more touristy towns are located.  Families will find that the resorts offer additional kid-friendly activities throughout the summer to keep young ones entertained.

If you want a low key vacation try San Clemente in South Orange County.  It’s a surfing community with a vibrant pier and a few mom-and-pop type hotels.  It also has a real Main Street downtown, called Del Mar, lined with shops and restaurants.

Laguna Beach is a very popular summer vacation destination with hotels for all budgets and a beach for every surfer and sunbather.  Laguna, as the locals call it, is a small town with a big art community and a plethora of dining and boutique shopping choices.   Take advantage of the free trolley offered by the city during the summer; parking is challenging.

For those interested in a retail vacation, stay in Newport Beach and get the best of the boating world and the shopping scene.  You’re also just 20 minutes away from the nirvana of all shopping centers; South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Disneyland draws year round crowds and if the big mouse is calling your name, head inland to Anaheim, stay overnight and experience the parks at a leisurely pace.  There are three Disney hotels and dozens of less expensive Disney-close hotels, some just across the street.

If you’re visiting during summer, plan far ahead as Orange County’s beaches draw vacationers from around the world.




Shorebreak Hotel is part of the Joie de Vivre chain of hotels that consistently delivers an interesting stay. Complimentary wine hour paired with a location that's a 2-minute walk to the beach, bars and restaurants in a boutique setting makes...  Read More



Marriott's Newport Coast Villas is a Marriott Vacation Club property with a coveted location overlooking Crystal Cove State Beach with views of Catalina Island. The two-bedroom villas have fully equipped kitchens and a pullout sofa in the...  Read More



The Disneyland Hotel was built in 1955 and exudes Disney at every turn. The renovated hotel is a Disney fan's dream; there are hidden Mickeys scattered throughout, Jacuzzis shaped like mouse ears and an iconic water slide. The character...  Read More



With 517 guestrooms, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is a mini-city complete with restaurants, multiple pools, arcade, bike and surf board rentals and lounging areas throughout the spacious grounds that take in the ocean...  Read More



The Resort at Pelican Hill sits on a hill between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach overlooking the ocean. The resort is spread out over 500 acres including a 36-hole golf course. Service is emphasized at the luxury resort and guests are...  Read More

St. Regis, Monarch Beach
Photo courtesy of Kristi Marcelle


The St. Regis, Monarch Beach is an elegant slice of the Mediterranean located in Dana Point, CA. The resort is well known for golf, the spa and its private beach club. While not on the ocean the resort has panoramic ocean views throughout and a...  Read More



Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa evokes images of the great American lodges of the 1920's but with Mickey and friends added to the grandeur. The craftsman style hotel has a great room with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace that's a popular...  Read More



The Surf and Sand Resort has a boutique meets flip flops vibe where couples and families blend seamlessly. All but two of the 167 guestrooms have ocean views. The hotel is located impossibly close to the ocean and ear plugs are provided in all...  Read More



With pelicans flying overhead, surfers and dolphins playing in the waters below and Catalina Island on the horizon, a stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is the quintessential California beach vacation. The vibe is upscale mixed with beach...  Read More



The Montage Laguna Beach sits on a bougainvillea dotted bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The resort is luxurious with Craftsman style architecture and impeccable service that never feels stuffy. A walking path and stairs lead directly to...  Read More


Meet Kristi Marcelle

Originally from Wisconsin, Kristi Marcelle found her passion for travel after studying and volunteering in Quito, Ecuador for two years.  She’s lived in Southern California for over ten years...  More About Kristi