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Picking the best beaches in Orange County isn’t easy. Many of the best beaches in Southern California are in between San Diego and Los Angeles. Orange County has both large sandy beaches and small cove beaches. They have piers, rock arches, and tide pools galore. Some well-known surf breaks are in OC too.

Our list of the best beaches in Orange County puts each beach into a category that it is associated with. Most of these beaches are good for many different things including sunbathing. Scroll to the bottom of the list to see our favorite beach in Orange County.

Best Surfing Beaches

Huntington City Beach
The Wedge
San Onofre Surfing Beach
Seal Beach

Best Beginner Surf Spot

Doheny Beach

Best Bodyboarding Beach

North Beach San Clemente

Best Pier

San Clemente Pier Beach
See all the OC Piers

Best Tide Pools

Little Corona Del Mar Beach
See all the OC Tide Pools

Best Unique Beach Discovery

Mysterious Tower at Victoria Beach

Best Hidden Beach

Table Rock Beach

Best Kid-Friendly Beaches

Dana Point Harbor Beach

Best for Beach Walking

Crystal Cove State Park

Best Rock Arch

The Keyhole at Pearl Street Beach
See all the Rock Arches

Best Beach Camping

San Clemente State Beach

Best Sunbathing Beach

Newport Municipal Beach

Best Beach for Bonfires

Huntington State Beach
See all the OC Bonfire Beaches

Best Spot for Kayaking & SUP

North Star Beach on Newport Beach’s Back Bay

Best Dog-Friendly Beach

Huntington Dog Beach
See all the OC Dog-Friendly Beaches

Best Beach Bike Ride

San Clemente Coastal Trail

Best Bird-Watching

Ecological Reserve at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Best Overall Orange County Beach!

Laguna Beach Main Beach

Why is Laguna Beach Main Beach the best? Well it has so much to offer. It might not be the biggest or best at anything, but it has everything. Visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of restaurants nearby, plus lots of shopping options, and hotels if they are not from the area. Main Beach is a relatively safe place to play in the water as waves aren’t typically that big, but there are lifeguards on hand if someone needs help. Sports fanatics will find two courts behind the beach, volleyball courts on the sand, and room to toss a football or Frisbee at the water’s edge. Small kids have a playground to enjoy as well. Just to the north is Rockpile Beach where tidepools emerge when the water recedes. The wooden boardwalk behind Main Beach leads to Heisler Park, a well-landscaped bluff top park that is ideal for picnics. Want to enjoy a long walk on the beach? Just walk south and you have a mile of sand leading all the way to a rock arch known as The Keyhole at Pearl Street Beach.

Laguna Beach’s Main Beach

Below is our complete list of the best beaches in Orange County California.

Beaches on this list

  • Main Beach in Laguna Beach

    Main Beach is the simple name given to the main centrally-located city beach in Laguna Beach, California. Main Beach is a nice sandy beach in a broad cove that faces […]

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  • Huntington City Beach

    Huntington City Beach is the center of a long stretch of sandy waterfront for the city of Huntington Beach, CA. This huge asset and the fact that surf’s up regularly […]

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  • Trestles Beach

    Trestles Beach is the northernmost part of San Onofre State Beach and of San Diego County, but access is from San Clemente in Orange County. Surfers know this area near […]

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  • West Jetty View Beach – The Wedge

    West Jetty View Park is located at the end of Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, CA. The park is small, but the beach here is large. The waves at this […]

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  • San Onofre State Beach – Surfing Beach (Old Man’s)

    San Onofre Surfing Beach (the official state park name) is located next to Camp Pendleton in North San Diego County. Access to this public beach is via the Old Pacific […]

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  • Seal Beach

    Seal Beach (the beach) is located in the city of Seal Beach, a small beachside community wedged between Long Beach and Huntington Beach. It is the northernmost beach town and […]

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  • Doheny State Beach – North Beach

    Doheny State Beach has two separate beaches and day-use areas – north and south. This North Beach is located north of the San Juan Creek mouth and has a large […]

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  • North Beach

    North Beach in San Clemente is in front of the Ole Hanson Beach Club near the intersection of El Camino Real and Avenida Estacion. North Beach is wider than the […]

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  • San Clemente Pier City Beach

    San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente, California. The beach is a wide sandy spot on both sides of the pier between T-Street Beach and […]

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  • Little Corona Del Mar Beach

    Little Corona Del Mar Beach is a popular small beach at the end of a ravine called Buck Gully in the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona Del Mar. This is […]

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  • Victoria Beach

    Victoria Beach is a long white sandy beach south of Victoria Drive in Laguna Beach. The majority of this southwest-facing beach lies in front of the private gated Lagunita housing […]

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  • Table Rock Beach

    Table Rock Beach is a locally-known tucked away beach in south Laguna Beach, CA. This is an excellent sandy beach in a deep cove with homes high above. Rocks of […]

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  • Dana Point Harbor Beach (Baby Beach)

    Dana Point Harbor Beach, better-known as “Baby Beach,” is located on the protected waters of Dana Point Harbor. This is a small family-friendly beach with a roped off swimming area […]

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  • Crystal Cove State Park – Pelican Point Beach

    Pelican Point Beach in Crystal Cove State Park has a broad beach between Pelican Point and the park’s Historic District at Los Trancos Beach. The beach slopes gradually so it’s […]

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  • Pearl Street Beach

    Pearl Street Beach is located below a stairway that begins at the west end of Pearl Street in Laguna Beach. Pearl Street ends at Ocean Way just one block off […]

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  • San Clemente State Beach

    San Clemente State Beach has a large campground and day-use parking area on a prime piece of San Clemente California real estate. The state park was built from 1934 to […]

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  • Newport Municipal Beach

    Newport Municipal Beach is located on both sides of the Newport Beach Pier. The beaches are continuous here and the city beach stretches from Balboa Pier Beach to the south […]

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  • Huntington State Beach

    Huntington State Beach is a two mile long wide sandy beach that starts at Beach Boulevard and runs south to the Santa Ana River Channel. This state beach has volleyball […]

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  • Huntington Dog Beach

    Huntington Dog Beach is a dog-friendly strand at the northern end of Huntington Beach City Beach. The zone where dogs are allowed on the beach is located between Seapoint Street […]

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  • North Star Beach

    North Star Beach is one of the best access points for Newport Beach’s Back Bay. This small sandy beach is adjacent to the Newport Aquatic Center. NAC rents kayaks (singles […]

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  • Bolsa Chica State Beach

    Bolsa Chica State Beach is a three mile long wide sandy beach in Huntington Beach, CA. Due to its location and size this is a popular beach for sunbathing. With […]

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