Orange County is one of Southern California’s most prominent getaway destinations. The city of Newport Beach, which is part of Orange County, has an abundance of fun activities to offer visitors of all ages. Nature enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the stunning beauty of the Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, which makes up over 1,000 acres of wilderness and is perfect for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. There are plenty of other exciting attractions just a short drive away, including the Balboa Pier, Balboa Island Ferry, Fashion Island, Crystal Cove State Park, and Orange County Museum of Art. Book a stay at one of numerous Newport Beach vacation rentals today. Check out the top cities to visit in and around Newport Beach.
1. Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach gained quite a bit of fame from the reality show that shares its name, but don’t judge this book by its cover. The area offers many family-friendly things to do and see. It’s an upscale beach town located just 11 miles south of Newport Beach, perfect if you’re looking for a luxurious vacation rental on the water. Enjoy a leisurely day sunbathing and swimming at one of the area’s pristine beaches. Crystal Cove State Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park both offer thousands of miles of gorgeous nature to explore on foot or on a bicycle, including fascinating tide pools and coves. Laguna Beach is well-known for its thriving arts scene, so visit one of the many galleries, or take a tour of the Laguna Art Museum.
2. Aliso Viejo
Nestled right between Los Angeles and San Diego, and just a quick drive from Newport Beach and the rest of Orange County, Aliso Viejo is a great option if you want a vacation rental in the heart of SoCal. This family-friendly residential neighborhood is perfect for avoiding the touristy areas while still maintaining quick and easy access to all of the area’s hot spots. Swim a few laps at the Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center, and then head to the Aliso Viejo Ice Palace for year-round indoor ice skating.
Fullerton is a laid-back city with lots to do for fun-seekers of all ages. The Fullerton Arboretum and Botanical Garden offers 26 acres of land with over 4,000 different types of plants, complete with trails for exploring and a museum for learning. If you’re feeling adventurous, charter a private plane and enjoy a breathtaking view of Orange County. Laguna Lake Park is a fantastic place to spend the day boating, fishing, or just enjoying the leisurely picnic area. It even has an equestrian center if you feel like going for a trot on a horse.
Irvine is one of the largest cities in the Orange County area. It tends to be a little less expensive than other beach resort towns nearby, so it’s a great place to look for vacation rentals on a budget. Don’t be fooled by the lower prices — Irvine is just a stone’s throw away from all of the area’s luxurious attractions. If the weather permits, head to The Great Park for a scenic hot air balloon ride. Pretend City is a fantastic kid-friendly, hands-on museum where kids can do activities that imitate real city living.
5. Yorba Linda
One of the wealthiest cities in Orange County, Yorba Linda is a wonderful upscale community with a charming small-town vibe. Have you ever wanted to walk scenic trails with a pack of llamas? Of course, you have! Head to ShangriLlama to do just that. Yorba Linda is a haven for golfers, with a wide variety of luxury courses available. Bring the kids to Jessamyn West Park where you’ll find playgrounds, volleyball courts, a central garden, and plenty of beautiful grassy areas to relax.
6. Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach provides gorgeous beaches, and if you’re lucky, you may find an oceanfront vacation rental. It’s a surfer’s paradise, but you don’t need a board to enjoy sunbathing, building sandcastles, swimming, and taking a romantic evening stroll. If you’re traveling with a four-legged friend, head to the Huntington Dog Beach. This area is known for its vibrant nightlife and thriving arts scene, and there are plenty of fantastic places to eat and shop.
7. Lake Forest
Lake Forest surrounds an artificial lake. This city is most famous for its well-kept state parks. Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center has a whole lot of all-ages activities available, not to mention 86 acres of natural beauty where you can go for a stroll or enjoy a picnic lunch. If you or the kids are into extreme sports, Etnies Skatepark is one of the nation’s largest skate parks with over 40,000 square feet of terrain for all skill levels.
8. Garden Grove
Garden Grove is a scenic city known for its lovely-scented orange blossoms and lush plant life. Fans of architecture will be blown away by the majestic Crystal Cathedral church, one of the area’s must-see attractions. Bring the kids to Atlantis Play Center for a fun day at the water park and playground. If you’re interested in the city’s history, take the tour at Garden Grove Historical Society’s Stanley Ranch Museum and Historical Village, where you’ll see many fascinating structures, including the garage that Walt Disney used as a studio to get his start.
Anaheim is the home of the much-beloved Disneyland, a must-visit for visitors with children, or for anyone who just appreciates Walt Disney’s magic. This thriving city has plenty of other attractions aside from Mickey and Minnie’s wonderland. There are quite a few other theme parks in the area that are perfect for thrill-seekers of all ages. Anaheim is also known for its excellent shopping and dining establishments, so spend some time exploring the city after you experience all that Disney has to offer.
10. Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo is one of the more expensive places to look for vacation rentals, but it’s worth it if you’re willing to splurge. The small city is built around a large lake with rolling hills in the surrounding areas, giving it a unique mountain community feel. This area is known for its world-class shopping facilities. Catch a flick at the Kaleidoscope Courtyards, or bring the kids there to play arcades. Mission Viejo has plenty of fine dining options, so be sure to show up hungry.