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Best Hidden Gems in Orange County

By: Cityseeker
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Marconi Automotive Museum

Marconi Automotive Museum, a part of the Marconi Foundation for Kids, houses a vast array of cars that will delight not only children but also automobile connoisseurs. Visitors can view Foxfire Firetrucks, unusual Ferraris and Jaguars. Do not miss Frank Williams' FX Ferrari and the Top Fuel Dragster designed by Kenny Bernstein. This venue can be hired for weddings, business functions and fundraisers.

1302 Industrial Drive, Tustin, CA, United States, 92780
Lyon Air Museum

No one can deny the massive influence that World War II had on the history of the United States. As the war waged on, it spurned a remarkable growth in the aviation and automotive industries, leading to advances and discoveries that forever changed how the world viewed these man-made wonders. The Lyon Air Museum at Santa Ana seeks to pay homage to these mechanical beasts and the indisputable role they played during the 20th Century. The museum is home to a fantastic collection of exceedingly rare operational aircrafts, vehicles and related items from this era, including military motorcycles and vehicles, automobiles and airplanes. Docent-led tours of the museum and exhibits are available throughout working hours, however groups of 10 or more are required to provide prior notice so that tours may be customized to suit the group's interest. The venue is also available on hire for private events, providing a unique and unforgettable location that is perfect for any occasion.

19300 Ike Jones Road, Santa Ana, CA, United States, 92707
The Cheese Shop at The Mix

The Cheese Shop at The Mix is a somewhat of a mecca for cheese connoisseurs and fanatics of Costa Mesa, CA. Housed within The OC Mix, this charming cheese shop is associated with the popular restaurant The Cellar in San Clemente. The boutique itself is a work of wonder, with pretty, kitschy-kitchen interiors and of course, Clementine the Cow, their mascot. On offer here are a range of exquisite artisanal and domestic, daily-use cheeses along with gourmet snacks and eats that complement these cheeses and lots of cheese accessories - slicers, cutters, chopping boards and lots more. The Cheese Shop also features a small but excellent charcuterie section.

3313 Hyland Avenue, The OC Mart Mix, Costa Mesa, CA, United States, 92626
Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library and Gardens is located on Pacific Coast Highway and has extensive botanical collections with examples of plant life from desert regions to tropical regions. It is a veritable outdoor museum of plants. Walk along the paths and smell the fragrant flowers and listen to the bubbling fountains. It really is an oasis that will take you away to a calmer, more peaceful place. The place also has a library on site which a delight for art lovers and bibliophiles.

2647 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA, United States, 92625
International Surfing Museum

Huntington Beach does indeed live up to its "Surf City" title as the most surfed beach in the west. Appropriately enough, this is a shrine to all those who have mastered the long board. Surfboards, surfing films, surfing music and plenty of memorabilia can be found here. The main attractions, however, are the items related to the great Duke Kahanamoku. This Olympic swimmer popularized surfing back in the 1920s, and both a bronze bust and one of his original hardwood boards can be found in the museum.

411 Olive Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA, United States, 92648
Pacific Marine Mammal Center

The picturesque Orange coast is home to a wide variety of marine animals. Established in 1971 with the aim of rehabilitating such marine mammals along the coast of Orange County, Pacific Marine Mammal Center is an excellent rescue facility. Volunteers work hard to nurse the creatures back to health until they are strong enough to go back to their natural environment. Visitors to the facility can get an overview of the site as well as meet the mammals.

20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA, United States, 92651
1000 Steps Beach

Tucked away in a spot by the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, the 1000 Steps Beach takes some effort to get to. Once there, the beach rewards you with more than just stellar views. Its somewhat hidden location in busy southern California is a blessing, leaving the beach and its pristine stretch practically to yourself. Sandstone cliffs bookend the beach's golden sands, even as you watch the shore-break waves crash in resoundingly. The beach offers plenty of activities such as kayaking, paddle-boarding and kayaking. Prepare yourself for a steep ascent on your way back.

Off Ninth Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA, United States, 92651
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