The Best Beaches in Orange County!

We scoured the coast and came up with the top beaches in Orange County, no matter what you're in the mood for.

Seven First Date Ideas in Orange County

1. Take a HikePart of Crystal Cove State Park, El Moro Canyon is an undeveloped valley east of Newport Coast that offers miles of trails leading to stunning ocean views. (All-day parking is $15.) Opt for a relatively easy 3½-mile outing, or the more arduous 8-mile trek. Afterward, treat yourselves to lunch or dinner at The Beachcomber just steps from the sea. Need other trail options? Our October “Great Hikes” issue has nine more. Check them out at orangecoast.com/hikes. Crystal Cove State Park, 871 N. Coast Highway, 949-494-3539; The Beachcomber, 15 Crystal Cove, 949-376-6900, thebeachcombercafe.com

OC Answer Man: What was the first boat built in Newport Beach?

Edward J. Abbott—an ill-fated entrepreneur whose series of small-time business ventures never quite flourished—built a small steamboat, The Last Chance, for sightseeing excursions in...

Looking for Ways to Thank America’s Disabled Vets?

As crashing waves compete with the sound of shelling at Camp Pendleton, a beginner surfer makes her way to her board. “It’s strong,” Sarah...

Rough Water

When Steve Furniss won the bronze medal in the 200-meter individual medley at the 1972 Munich Olympics, no one paid much attention to his nylon briefs adorned with the stars and stripes as he powered through the water. Just as he had when he swam competitively as a 10th-grader at Foothill High School northeast of Tustin, he pitted only his athletic ability against the pool.

Best of 2014: Quality Sand

Orange County's ideal beach? While several county agencies routinely measure coastal water, none evaluates the sand, which, after all, is where many of us park ourselves for hours. Stanley Rosen, a dedicated beachcomber who knows his grains and works the O.C, shoreline with his metal detectors, recommends this sand. It's clean, extra fine, and soft, providing perfect cushioning for an afternoon nap.
21st Street and Oceanfront, Newport Beach