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Visit Old Towne Orange Historic District and step into yesteryear. This district is centered around the original Orange plaza and contains so many historical buildings, the entire district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places! Walk around the one-square mile district and see different architecture, including Victorian and Spanish Revival buildings. The district is also known as a top shopping destination and you'll find plenty of art galleries, boutiques and antique stores near the plaza.
Orange County's Great Park is a popular venue for concerts, plays and other events. It's also known for its giant orange tethered balloon, which visitors can ride for a fee. Soaring 400 feet in the air, on a clear day you can see 40 miles out. Other park attractions include a beautiful carousel, a playground, and a visitor center where you can rent sports equipment for free. Great Park is also home to the Orange County FC.
Balboa Island seems to have the best of both worlds: a lazy, relaxing island atmosphere, yet only minutes away from the mainland. From festivals and parades to chic boutiques and restaurants that run the culinary gamut, this man-made island offers the ideal vacationing spot. Boats and cruise ships ply through clear blue waters, while the sprawling promenade is lined with a melange of stately, waterfront cottages. Its sleek boulevards are ornamented with soaring palm trees, whereas a string of attractions like markets, patio-fronted coffee shops, quaint and cozy bookshops, and the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society lend it a touristy appeal. The island is also a stronghold of adventurous water sports like surfing and offers something for everyone, no matter your interests!
For those who can make only one stop in Corona del Mar, make it the Corona del Mar State Beach. This area alone can make everyone fall in love with CdM, a laid-back multi-million-dollar neighborhood accented by the Pacific, with streets lined by palm trees and flower beds. On the bluff, three signs mark beach access: Lookout Point, Main Beach and Inspiration Point. Each point has a different view, but all share Catalina Island in the background, and Newport Bay and Balboa Island in the foreground. A few steps towards the south end of Ocean Boulevard is a secluded cove near the Robert E. Badham Marine Life Refuge, and some of the most extravagant mansions follow.
Located on the Balboa Peninsula, the Balboa Pavilion is a fun center for marine sports enthusiasts. Boat rentals are available for sport fishing and whale watching. Catalina Flyer, the catamaran, takes you across to the Avalon at Catalina Island where you can watch whales. Harborside Restaurant and Grand Ballroom is a waterfront dining and socializing venue. This pavilion has provided for action-packed marine expeditions since 1906 and is regarded as one of the finest marine recreation centers in the area.
Huntington State Beach is one of the best beaches in southern California. It is popular with both locals and tourists alike. It has barbecue pits that used year-round but especially in the summer as well as fire rings that can be used for bonfires. It's a great spot for families and children because the waves are not that big and there are several lifeguards on duty. There are all kinds of snack shops and places where you can rent bodyboards and other beach gear. Huntington State Beach is also known for its bird watching, keep a look out for California Brown Pelicans.
Stretching 1853 feet (564.80 meters) into the Pacific Ocean, the Huntington Beach Pier is one of the West Coast's longest piers. This attraction is visited by millions of people each year, creating an eccentric crowd. It is home to several important events, such as the U.S. Open of Surfing in July, Kite Party in February and Huck Finn Fishing Derby in August. You’ll also find excellent oceanfront dining at both ends of the pier.
A short walk from the bustling downtown Laguna Beach, this park is an amazing hidden oasis. The grassy bluff and the sandy beach with giant rocks and hidden caves makes this park a favorite spot for photographers, brides and grooms, sunset watchers, picnickers (barbecue grills are provided, first come first serve), and even sea birds. There are also a variety of art stands selling local artwork. Keep your eye out for the one-of-a-kind sculpture benches. Heisler Park is considered one of the best parks in Orange County.