We dare you to not fall in love with the succulent starfish wall sculpture on the pocket patio recently fashioned from fallow space behind the Captain’s Cabin. Other living art includes vibrant flowerbeds and hanging herb gardens by Kathryn Agresto, designer of gardens at Park Ave and Montage Resort. Strings of tiny lanterns add twinkle to the 30-seat alfresco refuge.
630 Lido Park Drive, Newport Beach, 949-675-3474, bluewatergrill.com
Cool factor: Probably Orange County’s most dramatic cave landscape. The entrance takes you into the rocky cliffs at this South Laguna beach. Visit during low tide when access is easier and safer.
Where to find: Concrete stairs at Ninth Avenue and South Coast Highway to Thousand Steps Beach, walk to the south end