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Orange County Beaches/USA

Introducing Orange County Beaches

It’s true you’ll find gorgeous sunsets, prime surfing and just-off-the-boat seafood when traveling the OC’s sun-kissed coast. But it’s also the unexpected, serendipitous discoveries you’ll remember long after you’ve left this blissful 42 miles of surf and sand behind. Whether you’re learning to surf the waves in Seal Beach, playing Frisbee with your pooch in the surf at Huntington Dog Beach, piloting your own boat around Newport Harbor, wandering around eclectic art displays on a bluff-top trail in Laguna Beach, or spotting whales on a cruise out of yacht-filled Dana Point harbor – you’ll discover that each beach town has its own brand of quirky charm.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out which beach town suits your personality best. Starting near the LA County line, Seal Beach is the OC’s northernmost beach town. From there, you can crawl along Route 1, aka the Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH), south along the ocean for more than 40 miles, passing through Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente just before reaching San Diego County. The drive takes at least an hour, but with bumper-to-bumper beachfront traffic, especially on summer weekends, expect it to take two or three times that long. But don’t worry: it’s almost always worth it.