Local Leaders Share Their Favorite Places Along The Coast in O.C.

Orange County natives, celebrities, and VIPs told us about the settings they love along the coast—excluding their own businesses and homes. You’ll see there are many wonderful spaces here to discover or revisit, no matter your passion.
Jasmine Roth; photograph by Emily J. Davis

Dog Beach
Jasmine Roth, host of HGTV’s “Hidden Potential”
“I live in Huntington Beach, and I think one of the coolest places here is Dog Beach. I have an English bulldog, and now she’s 12 years old. My husband and I got her when we were in college, and we moved to Orange County after college. … We took her to Dog Beach when she was a puppy, and we were really nervous. But she ran straight for the water. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, what is she doing?’ But she goes in, she swims away, turns around, waits for a wave like she’s body surfing, the wave crashes, and she completely disappears. All of a sudden, we see her. She has her tongue out, and she’s riding the waves in, happy as can be. It was just one of those aha moments: Not only can our dog swim—she can bodysurf!

Crystal Cove Historic District
Laszlo MariaHazy, professor at Saddleback College and Golden West College
“I remember the first time I took the path from the Los Trancos parking lot to the beach. The brief stroll took me down a paved pathway along a creekbed and small canyon. After a few hundred feet, I came upon a long pedestrian tunnel. When I stepped out the other end … everything was different. Frozen in time. A few dozen adorable clapboard cottages were strewn along the beach. To this day, when visiting, I cannot help but feel completely transported back in time.”

36th Street
Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco
“All of us older guys, we like to surf 36th Street in Newport Beach, which is the end of the boardwalk. We’re there when the waves are bad and when they’re good. And we have fun. So the people who show up (on big-wave days) who haven’t paid their dues … we’re like, ‘Get out of here!’  ”

Photograph by Nick Bellinger @ nickbellinger

Huntington Beach Pier
Gerard Widder, general manager of Fashion Island Hotel
“A big part of us being back in Southern California—bringing my wife home and where we live—is proximity to the sand and the ocean. Literally every day at 5:45 a.m., you’ll find me running along the beach, and every day at 6 a.m., I touch Ruby’s on the Huntington Beach Pier. So the beach is my happy place.”

Pelican Hill Golf Course
Teemu Selanne, NHL Hall of Famer, co-owner of Selanne Steak Tavern and The Penalty Box
“Obviously I love golf. Pelican Hill is my favorite. We try to go out quite often to eat and see different places. Luckily we have great options in Orange County. … We go boating. We have a little mahogany 30-footer, and we go to Newport and Laguna. Those spots are really great and unique.”

Bob Henry Park, Inspiration Point
Anna-Marie Claassen, owner of Anthology interiors
“When my son, who’s now 11, was 6 weeks old, I didn’t know many other moms, so I started doing a class called Stroller Strides. We’d meet at Bob Henry Park in Newport and at Inspiration Point in Corona del Mar. It just turns out that at that time there were probably around 10 other moms who also had little baby boys around the same age, and we all became wonderful friends. We started a play group with about 30 families, and even though our kids go to schools all over Orange County now, we still get together constantly.”

Newport Pier
Robert Olson, founder of R.D. Olson Development
“The Newport Pier. I put my surfboard on my bike and I live on Balboa Island, so I ride over on the ferry and head down the peninsula and pick out a good surf spot depending on where the break is.”

Louis Orozco; Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Louis Orozco, owner of Madison Salon, hairstylist at New York Fashion Week, and stylist for L.A. Charger Girls
“The reason I moved to Newport Beach to begin with is I’m a surfer. I surf Blackie’s almost every day. Someone recently inspired me by calling the beach the Fountain of Youth. So Blackie’s is my happy place because the waves are perfect—they’re not too big, not too small.”

Emerald Bay
Elyse Walker, owner of Elyse Walker and Towne
“One of the best parts, if not the best part, of spending time in O.C. is that everyone is out on the water. One time, we took a boat out with some friends and we went to Emerald Bay. We picked up lunch from Zinqué and Bear Flag, got on this boat, and we started singing show tunes; I think we even lost our voices. It was the most glorious day, and then when we were out on the water—I’m not even kidding—we saw a thousand dolphins. I’ve been to Mexico and seen them, and I see them in L.A. and sometimes you see five, 10, or 50. There were more dolphins in the water than there were waves—it was a sea of dolphins. I’ll never forget that day.”

San Clemente Pier
Meg Weidner, screenwriter and actress
“About six years ago, I started going to the beach at the San Clemente Pier to collect heart-shaped rocks with my husband and daughter. Lexie was 6 at the time. Someone had told me about the rocks but after 30 minutes of very diligent beachcombing, we did not find any. It was disappointing to say the least. But something in me would not let us quit looking. Then Lexie found one, and it was like a whole world of heart-shaped rocks opened up. We started finding more and more. We still go every Mother’s Day, and it’s always the same; we have to dig and dig for a really long time before we find that ‘one’—and then the love starts flowing again.”

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Crystal Cove State Beach
Andrew Sutton, culinary director of Disneyland Signature Restaurants
“I love Crystal Cove beach. It’s old California. The kids and I love to tailgate, sitting in the back of the SUV. We eat, enjoy the view, and then go for a long walk on the beach.”

Mike Scioscia, Angels manager for 19 seasons
“Crystal Cove. You park on one side of PCH, and they have that little tram to take you to the beach. It’s very relaxing. You look out over the beach and almost feel like you’re in the ocean. It’s beautiful.”

L. Song Richardson, dean of UC Irvine Law School
“It has to be Crystal Cove. It’s so calming. When I first came here in 2014, I would take photos of my feet in the sand with the ocean in the background and send them back to my friends in Iowa.”

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