Welcome to Coastal Orange County

Your mission is to find out which beach town suits you best. Seal Beach is the OC’s northernmost beach town. From there, crawl along Route 1, aka 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. The drive takes at least an hour (much more with bumper-to-bumper beachfront traffic on summer weekends). Don’t worry: it’s almost always worth it.

Top experiences in Coastal Orange County

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Coastal Orange County activities

$24.99 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Whale-Watching Cruise from Newport Beach

Round up your family and friends and set off on this 2.5-hour whale-watching cruise from Newport Beach. On a 65-foot (20-meter) boat, you’ll cruise down the Orange County coastline, watching for several varieties of whales, dolphins and other marine life.The coastal waters provide the calm conditions that attract these impressive mammals.This whale-watching tour is available year-round, and depending on the season you travel, different whales may be in the area. Giant blue whales like to visit in the summer and fall months. These whales are the largest mammals ever seen in existence, usually growing to approximately 200 tons (180 metric tons) and 98 feet (30 meters) in length! You may also see grey whales, which can live up to 70 years. Finback whales are also common in the summer months; they are the second-largest mammals after blue whales, and they grow to up to 72 feet (22 meters).During the winter and spring months, you'll typically see minke and humpback whales. The minke whale is one of the world’s smallest whales, only growing to about 23 feet (7 meters). The beloved humpback whale can grow to be about 52 feet (16 meters). Both whales love krill, and they ‘fluke’ (slap) their tails on the water in order to bring the krill up to the surface. Humpbacks are a very curious breed of whales and are often referred to as ’friendlies’ by sailors because they love to come up to ships. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life like seals, sea lions and several types of dolphins. Your friendly and knowledgeable captain and crew all come from strong backgrounds in marine biology and will be able to answer all your questions.

$35 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Whale Watching Excursion in Dana Point

Your vessel, the 95′ Dana Pride, was built exclusively for Dana Wharf whale watching customers. The Pride comes complete with a full-service bar and snack bar, flat screen TVs, large salon area and two-story seating arrangement, and it can accommodate up to 149 passengers. This adventure cruise offers rare glimpses into a huge variety of underwater wildlife and gorgeous scenic views, with narration from your captains. In addition to whales, thousands of dolphins, sea lions, sea faring birds and even sharks are found year-round in these waters, so there is always plenty of wildlife to see.

$20 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Newport Beach Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

Whale watching & dolphin cruises depart from the famous Balboa Boardwalk on Newport Harbor in Newport Beach.  Check in about 40 minutes before your departure time and receive your boarding passes.  Once on-board it is only a quick 15 minute cruise through Newport Bay before exiting and immediately entering the marine sanctuary where whale and dolphin sightings begin.  Whales and/or dolphin maybe found immediately or make take longer to locate depending on the mammals. During your whale watching cruise the whale watching captain & on-board naturalist will provide neat details about the mammals being seen as well as the marine habitat and lots of other neat details.  The giant marine park just outside Newport Bay also happens to have some of the most scenic coastline in California traveling along the Newport Beach and Laguna Beach coastlines.  While on your whale watching cruise refreshments of all types are available in the larger indoor salon for purchase at any point of your cruise.  Photos and drone video of your trip/mammals sighted are also available for purchase as you return to Newport Bay from your whale watching cruise. 

$75.50 Transfers & Ground Transport

Round-trip Ferry Service from Dana Point to Catalina Island

Hop on the Catalina Express ferry at Dana Point Harbor for a 1.5-hour ride to Catalina Island. With the harbor conveniently located off Interstate 5, this is a great way to experience more of Southern California if you’re visiting nearby San Diego or Orange County. If you wish, arrive early for your ferry ride to enjoy Dana Point’s two marinas, stores, restaurants, and park with picnic areas. Aboard this comfortable vessel, sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful waterfront views as you are delivered to Avalon, the southernmost city of Los Angeles County. Once you disembark your ferry, you are a 5-minute walk from the downtown area. The pedestrian-friendly town regulates how many cars are allowed on the island, so much so that there is even a waiting list to own a car there! Stroll along the quiet, picturesque waterfront to enjoy shopping, dining, sightseeing and entertainment—all at your own pace. You can stay on Catalina Island as long as you like, knowing that you're all set with this round-trip ferry service back to Dana Point. The ferry service operates daily (schedule varies by season) and accommodates bikes, surfboards and strollers, giving you the flexibility to travel how you please.

$95 Water Sports

Laguna Beach Guided Kayak Tour with Sea Lion Viewing

Experience the mind-blowing beauty of the Southern California coastline from ocean to harbor to bay. You will launch out of Fisherman’s Cove, one of the calmest, wave-protected coves in Laguna Beach, then paddle the North Laguna coastline, teeming with marine life in its crystal clear waters. You’ll see hidden reefs where bright orange garibaldi fish swim just beneath you, and giant starfish attach to the rocks. You’ll explore the expanding and magnificent kelp forest, growing up to a foot a day, and enjoy views of Main Beach and the hidden coves and beaches of North Laguna. And you’ll get up close and personal with a colony of sea lions at Seal Rock, a nature sanctuary. All instructors are all experienced watermen and women who will share their love of the ocean with your group.This guided tour is the perfect group activity to keep everyone together in an inclusive, exhilarating activity that promotes teamwork, fitness and the wonder of nature. This adventure is suitable for those who can swim and have a love of the ocean.

$150 Day Trips & Excursions

Hollywood Sightseeing 8-Hour Group Tour from Orange County

Get picked up from your hotel in Orange County and travel to Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see the most famous attractions. This tour is fully narrated so you'll know what you're seeing and what to look out for all along the way.Stop first at the Hollywood sign, located up on Mulholland Drive and overlooking the whole city, where you'll stop and take photographs.Continue to Hollywood Boulevard where you'll have 90 minutes on your own to see things like the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussauds, the Dolby Theater, and of course the star-lined sidewalk. The next stop is the legendary Sunset Strip where you'll see landmarks like Johnny Depp's Viper Room, The Whisky A Go Go, The Rainbow Room, The Roxy, plus many more.Cruise through Beverly Hills to see some celebrity homes, such as those formerly owned by Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Stop at the Beverly Hills sign. Enjoy another 90 minutes of free time on Rodeo Drive, where you can grab some lunch and shop.From there, continue onto Wilshire Boulevard Miracle Mile, where you'll see the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits.At the conclusion of the tour, you'll be returned to your original point of departure.

Coastal Orange County in detail