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Best Outdoor Activities in Orange County

, 7 Options Found

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 are used year-round but especially in the summer as well as fire rings that can be used for bonfires. Avid surfers will relish the opportunities for surfing offered by the beach. Fishing, birdwatching and swimming are some other recreational options here. Keep your eyes peeled for California Brown Pelicans.

The Ocean Institute is located in beautiful Dana Point Harbor and offers ocean science and maritime history programs perfect for kids and adults alike. See hundreds of marine animals in aquariums, watch animal feedings, experience ocean-themed exhibits, and have fun with hands-on activities. For an extra charge, take a tall ship or a whale watching cruise. The Dana Point Marine Protected Area is steps away from the Institute.

The 36.5-acre Heritage Park is a place for everyone to have a good time. Sports enthusiasts can happily lose themselves among any of the twelve tennis courts, three pools, three basketball courts, three lighted soccer fields, two racquetball courts, and the volleyball court. The lively ducks welcome nature-lovers to join them in a peaceful time by the pond. Families and friends with children, be sure not to miss the two children's playgrounds and the verdant picnic area with 22 barbecues and 29 tables. If you're a fan of culture, pleasantly explore the library and the park's amphitheater. Heritage Park also hosts popular annual events, such as the Studio Arts Festival in June, and Target Symphony in the Cities in August.

Chino Hills State Park is a 14,173-acre (5,735-hectare) park in the vicinity of Santa Ana Mountains. The land was originally used for cattle grazing and visitors can see some remaining features from that time, including an assemblage of ranch houses and elegant windmills. Declared a state park in the year 1981, Chino Hills has been a popular attraction ever since, attracting adventurers from all parts of the country owing to its nearly 90 mile (144.84 kilometer) network of interconnecting trails that provide splendid opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Also a great destination for wildlife watching, the park's lush landscape of woodlands and grasslands are a sanctuary for majestic red-tailed hawks, California gnatcatchers and bobcats. Chino Hill State Park is one of the few parks in the country to shelter Chaparral woodlands.

Once known as the "Tin Can Beach", Bolsa Chica State Beach is now a popular beach which attracts visitors all year-round. It is an ideal place to go sunbathing, play volleyball, have a family day out and try other water sports. Surf fishing of fishes like croaker and corbina are among the other activities you can partake in here. Also, on this three-mile long sandy stretch is a designated place where you can camp in your RV vans. Bolsa Chica is a great spot to sit back and enjoy everything that the beach has to offer.

This small zoo has a lot to offer its visitors. There is a recreation of an Amazon rainforest that will awe and inspire both young and old alike. In the Children's Zoo youngsters can pet everything from a sheep to pot-bellied pigs. The Zoofari Express train offers a few thrills. Monkey Row is home to all kinds of primates, from lemurs to apes to Dusky Titi monkeys. The Australian Yard features wallabies and emus while the Endangered Species area features bald eagles and Diana Guenon monkeys. There is something to delight and educate just about anybody with a sense of curiosity about the wonderful world of animals.

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.

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