There are 50 states to visit in the United States but if there is one area that should be at the very top of our travel lists, it has to be  The Golden State, California. As one of the top tourist destinations, California has countless hotspots to visit. From streets that Hollywood celebs frequent to pristine beaches, there is no denying that the Golden State is already a name that is synonymous with the high life. For all its worth, it isn’t always about the glitz and the glamour in the state and if there is one that often gets overlooked, it has to be Orange County. Those who have been here never want to leave and those that reside here are happy and contented. That is saying a lot considering it has a ton of competition in California.

Getting to Know Orange County

Orange County is the third most populous in California and it is the sixth most populous in the U.S. There are thirty-four incorporated towns and cities in the county with the latest addition being Aliso Viejo, added in 2001. The very first city incorporated into the county was Anaheim which was added in 1870.

The county is different from its other counterparts in California in a sense that it as no single major downtown or major urban center. Its cities alls have small high-rise commercial business districts (CBDs). Way at the northern portion of the county, the living areas are densely populated and heavily urbanized. As one of the county’s with the most development, Orange County is part of what many refer to as the Tech Coast.

The rise of Orange County began during the bottom half of the 1800s. At the time, legislation were working towards making a portion of Los Angeles County an entirely new county to be called as “Orange.” The birth of it was on August 1, 1889. After being made into a county of its own, the court then had to choose which between Anaheim or Santa Ana would be turned as the county seat. The latter ultimately won in the end.

The origin of its “Orange” name is said to have been derived from the actual citrus fruit. The leaders at the time believed that it would be the perfect way to promote immigration as it suggested that the area was a semi-tropical paradise. Basically, Orange County was advertised as a place where anything could thrive. Of course, the county did thrive into a bustling county.

From being a small contested land, Orange County continuously grew into something bigger. During the 1980s, it was named as the second most populous county in Los Angeles. From then, its urban and business districts continued to develop into what we see today. It has been a part of California’s tech revolution all the way.

Now, Orange County is considered as a tourist center. It has attractions such as Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and of course, a ton of famed beaches. Moreover, Orange County is nearby other amazing destinations in California, making it the perfect place to stay in.

This county is perfect for all sorts of travelers including solo backpackers, families, couples, groups of friends, and more. Orange County is very large and there are sure to be activities that fit all demographics too.

We’re sure you are excited to get to Orange County but an unprepared traveler is an unhappy traveler. Here are some vital things you should know before making a visit.

How To Get To Orange County?

The best way to get to Orange County if you are coming from other parts of the U.S. is through the John Wayne Airport. It as regular flights to and from Orange County. If you are coming from somewhere far off, then you should book a flight that gets you to the Los Angeles International Airport. From there, you can grab a bus or taxi. LAX is over 40 miles from Orange County and please expect street congestion along the way.

Once you are in Orange County, we advise you to find a rent-a-car service that will help you get around the county easily. Since it is dense, it may be hard to navigate on foot.  Although taxis are pretty common, you could save more by renting a car especially if you are staying for a few days.

Keep in mind that LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world. It accommodates millions of passengers each year. That being said, we’ve got a few tips regarding your trip to LAX.

  • Book Your Flight Early – In some airports, it’s nearly impossible to run out of seats but in LAX – the world’s busiest airport, that is a huge possibility. Not only will you be able to reserve your seat, but you’ll also be able to land some amazing deals.
  • Keep An Eye Out For Your Bags – Make sure to use a bag that you can never misplace. Since there are many other passengers at LAX, you wouldn’t want your luggage switched with someone else’s.
  • Book A Rental Car Before Arriving – If you are thinking about exploring Orange County on a rental, make sure to reserve your vehicle ahead of the trip. There are a lot of people hoping to do the same so by booking a car early, you’ll guarantee yourself a slot and you’ll avoid heavy lines.

What Is The Climate In Orange County?

The temperature in Orange County ranges from humid to hot. Snow and rain are very uncommon year round so it is easy to avoid getting wet in the area. If you want to maximize your time at the beach, you should visit during the months of July, August, and September. These are the hottest months of the year with temperatures reaching around 85.8°F (29.9°C). If you want to bask in the hot California sun while laying on the beach, then these are your dates to visit.

The winter season in Orange County, and in California as a whole is very bearable. There is no need for you to bring any thick jackets or any other snow day clothing as well. However, if you are going to visit during the summer, make sure to wear thin clothing as the heat can get too intense especially at the peak of the season. On the other hand, it will be a good time to visit beaches.

Best Time To Visit Orange County

Orange County is a major tourist attraction so expect to bump into many visitors whenever you visit. It may be hard or impossible to avoid crowds but there are a few months you should avoid specifically.

Obviously, the busiest months in Orange County are from July to August. The beaches are especially crowded during these times. Aside from the crowd, you’ll also have to bear with high airfare and hotel rates. However, if you really want to spend the summer in the beaches of Orange County, then book your tickets and rooms months ahead of the flight.

The least busy months are November and December. Not only are there fewer people to brush shoulders with, you can also get great deals on flights and hotels during these months. You can even book trips and rooms a few weeks ahead of the schedule and you still won’t have to suffer from expensive fees.

The thing about Orange County during peak seasons is that the place is more fun the more people there are the better it is. Orange County boasts a lively night life that you shouldn’t miss out on. There are parties happening at clubs and bars around the city, and there are parties going on in other areas as well. If you don’t mind long lines then you should definitely visit from July to August.

Now let’s get down to the best part which are the attractions in Orange County. Here are some of the things and sights you can visit in California’s crowning glory.

Activities in Orange County

We often travel to relax and unwind but if you travel to experience some more adventure, exploring Orange County is what we highly recommend. Orange County still has a lot of spots for those seeking relaxation and tranquil environment, though. But this place has exciting extreme activities to offer that you shouldn’t miss as it will surely make your visit even more memorable.

1Visit its theme parks

Knott’s Berry Farm’s GhostRider (Source)

Orange County, California is known for Disneyland. In fact, it’s one of the first places that many tourists have listed at the top of their travel itineraries and it’s one of the places that many people look forward to visiting when Orange County is being talked about. It sure is great for families as you will not just get to try out some rides but you can also get to see the friendly faces of many Disney characters that you used to look up to. However, it’s more of a family-friendly theme park and doesn’t offer much thrill that’s enough to keep your heart pumping.

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If real thrill is what you’re seeking but don’t want a lot of physical activities, visiting Orange County’s other theme parks aside from Disneyland is the best activity that you can do. Orange County has a number of theme parks other than Disneyland that can offer exciting rides to fill you with adrenaline. Here are some of Orange County’s must-visit theme parks.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Disneyland may be one of the well-known theme parks all over the globe and Orange County may be known for it too. However, OC’s Disneyland is more on wimpy rides rather than thrilling ones. Knott’s Berry is Farm, however, is the best theme park to visit in Orange County if you crave for extreme adventures. It has real rides that will fill you with adrenaline rush. One of the popular rides in this theme park is its GhostRider, the largest roller coaster in park history. Its length, height, and speed are unparalleled on the West Coast.

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A look at Knott’s Berry Farm’s newest ride, HangTime, at night (Source)

The park’s newest ride, and is also one of the most-thrilling rides that you need to try out in Knott’s Berry Farm is the HangTime. As its name suggests, the ride features mid-air suspensions and a steep vertical drop (the steepest drop in California).

Soak City

If you want some fun water activities, Knott’s Soak City has some activities for you too. This water park has more than 10 giant water slides for you to enjoy. Have we mentioned that these slides are unique as well? One of the crowd favorites is the Laguna Storm Watch Tower where you’d hop on an inflatable raft and slide on a 43-ft. tower.

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Visitors inside Knott’s Soak City’s Shore Break’s Aqua Lauch chambers (Source)

If you’re brave enough, you can hop aboard one of the Aqua Launch chambers in Shore Break and wait for the chamber’s floor to move beneath your feet and send you on a high-speed free fall down a 7-story slide with exhilarating drops and hoops.

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Before you visit these theme parks, there are some things that you need to know.

  • Plan Your Trip – Obviously, you wouldn’t want to go on a trip unprepared. That is especially the case if you are visiting a theme park. Keep in mind that there are some attractions or rides which are more popular than others so you need to organize your trip in a way that you finish these attractions first before the line begin to pile up.
  • Arrive Early, Leave Early – Whether you are visiting an amusement park or a water park, the key to enjoying your time fully is by arriving early and leaving early. This way, you’ll get to avoid the long lines in the early morning and you’ll also avoid the congestion in the parking lot.
  • Mind Your Head – Since these are theme parks we are talking about, keep in mind that there are height requirements to certain heights. If you are traveling with kids, make sure to help them understand that they simply can’t ride everything that is on the park. It is for their safety after all.
  • Travel Light – Never go into an amusement park or water park with heavy baggage. Leave most of your belongings in the car or at your hotel. It will be very troublesome to travel and ride around while you are carrying something heavy. Most importantly, you’ll be able to avoid misplacing or losing any of your important belongings.

2Go surfing

A view of Salt Creek Beach Park in Orange County from above (Source)

Speaking of water activities, surfing is also one of the extreme things to do in Orange County. California is known for its beaches and, of course, Orange County has several beaches to offer too, particularly to those who are after some thrilling activities. Here are some spots for you to enjoy if you want to ride the waves of Orange county’s beaches.

Salt Creek Beach Park

Salt Creek Beach Park is one of the most popular destinations that are perfect for those who want to go surfing. Its waves are perfect for this activity. Salt Creek Beach Park also has tidepools for you to enjoy. Salt Creek Beach Park also offers several water sports for everyone.

The Wedge

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The beautiful colors of sunset that you can get to see at Orange County’s The Wedge beach (Source)

The Wedge is also a hot spot for body surfers as well as skimboarders and surfboarders. The big waves, that you can catch during summer and fall, will surely satisfy your cravings for some water adventure. In fact, the waves can reach up to 30 feet in height. The best part of being here is that this place offers some of the nicest views of sunset throughout the year.

Huntington Beach Pier

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A beautiful shot capturing Huntington Beach Pier’s beautiful sunset view and its perfect waves (Source)

Huntington Beach Pier is also a famous surfing spot in Orange County. In fact, it’s so popular among surfers that people call it “The Surf City.” Huntington offers consistent and perfectly shaped waves that allows it to host surfing-related events. One of the biggest events that are often held here is the Vans US Open which is a nine-day lifestyle festival and surf competition. Don’t fret much if you’re still a beginner, though, as Huntington Beach Pier’s waves are all the more perfect even for starters.

3Experience flying a biplane

One of the bi-planes that you can get to fly in Orange County;s aerial tours (Source)

Many of us probably enjoy riding a plane, especially because of the sights that you can see from above the ground. But what if you can get to fly it on your own? Flying a biplane is one of the extreme things to do in Orange County that you shouldn’t pass on.

You’ll hop on a fully restored 1943 WWII Stearman Bi-Plane and your instructor will teach you the basics. If you’re good to go, then, he or she will leave the controls to you. It’s a new yet a bit of a scary experience. Even so, you’ll not just get to learn how to fly a biplane but you will also see Orange County the way you’ve never seen before.

If you’re feeling even braver, you can choose a thrilling aerobatic ride. In this ride, though, you will not get to fly the biplane. But your pilot will perform acrobatic maneuvers that will definitely keep your heart pumping.

4Skydive

A man doing his solo dive (Source)

Dubai may be known as one of the best places to go skydiving. But you don’t have to travel far and wide as California can let you enjoy this extremely fun and exciting activity and you can even learn how to do it on your own.

Learn How to Skydive

Skydive El Sinore, for instance, offers skydiving courses for adrenaline junkies who want to learn how to do it by themselves. Their training consists of two phases so you’ll surely get the hang of it. The first phase comprises of eight levels of jumps. Don’t worry, though, you’ll be jumping with an instructor. Of course, its levels features objectives that you need to accomplish to advance to the next level. Once you complete the first phase, you’ll then be making solo skydives under an AFF qualified instructor’s supervision via radio communication.

Tandem Skydive

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A perfect shot of tandem skydivers who are about to jump from the plane (Source)

If you just want to try it out first, you can opt for tandem skydiving. Enjoy a 4- 5-minute descent as you fly through the air at speeds more than 120 mph. Aside from the thrilling feeling, you will, of course, get to see the beauty of some parts of California from above.

Indoor Skydiving

If you want to test the waters first to see if skydiving is for you, you can try out indoor skydiving. For starters, you’ll enter a vertical tunnel wind and you’ll be guided by an accredited instructor throughout the experience.

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A man trying out indoor skydiving with his instructor on his side (Source)

It’s still one of the extreme things to do in and around Orange County, California as it would still make you feel what it’s like flying through the air. The best part of it is that people of any age can try it. The downside, though, is that you will not get to see the beauty of California from above. Even so, it’s still an activity that will surely keep your blood rushing.

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Orange County may be known for Disneyland but if you’re looking for some excitement, these extreme things to do in Orange County are what we can recommend. Most of these are not for the faint of heart, though. So if you’re feeling a little braver, why not add these to your travel itinerary. Some activities may cost you some dollars, though, but it will surely be all the more worth it. You’ll not just take home some smiles and good memories but you’ll definitely feel a bit more confident once you conquered them all.