Nothing connotes a family vacation like a road trip. Some of the happiest childhood memories are made from the back seat of a car, and road trips also indulge adults’ sense of exploration and adventure as they navigate endless highways. One of the nation’s most breathtaking roads is California’s state Route 1, known in most parts of the region as Pacific Coast Highway. Running adjacent to the shore of the Pacific Ocean, the road guides drivers along Orange County’s 42 miles of coastline, often with unobstructed views.
From Anaheim, a 19-mile drive leads directly to Orange County’s mecca for surfers, Huntington Beach, where an unforgettable daylong trip down the oceanfront
In 2015, Time Magazine named Huntington—known as Surf City USA— the Best Beach in America for its perfect weather and water conditions. It’s only appropriate to reserve a surfing lesson with the company founded by former Hawaii State Surfing Champion Sean Louden. Visitors will also love fishing, swimming and body surfing at Huntington Beach State Beach.
With a peninsula, numerous islands and a bustling harbor, Newport Beach has one of the most dynamic coastlines in Orange County. See the coast from the harness of a parasail floating 1,200 feet above the ocean, or board a seafaring ship wit Newport Landing Whale Watching.
A visit to the Crystal Cove Historic District nestled along Newport’s coast takes road trippers back in time to a 1930s seaside colony with pristine beaches and preserved cottages. Treat yourself to lunch and a sundae at The Beachcomber, then explore the nearby tide pools to see ocean life in its natural habitat.
Though Laguna Beach gets its arts colony reputation from the many galleries the summertime festivals, the town’s pristine coves also are te perfect setting for snorkeling. SoCal Snorkeling Tours provides all the rental equipment, boogie boards and even will bring a GoPro upon request to document the swim.
Believed to use Dana Point’s geography as a landmark during migration, gray whales can often be seen along the coastline. View them in their natural habitat by embarking on a one-of-a-kind catamaran with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, or stay on land and visit Dana Point’s Ocean Institute for an interactive and educational experience.
Finish the seaside excursion on foot with a gentle walk along the San Clemente Beach Trail, a manicured walking and bicycling path that tours nearly all of the town’s neighborhood beaches. The trip is an easy 2.5 miles, and the experience even more spectacular at night, with the crashing surf and starry sky.
Originally printed in the Visit Anaheim 2016-2017 Destination Guide