Summer = #beachlife. Right? What’s summer if you’re not dipping your toes in some salty water and getting sand in your hair.
If I’m being honest though, as kid, I couldn’t stand the beach! Growing up in Southern California and living 15 minutes way from the beach my entire life, the beach never wowed me. I know, your mouth is dropping.
It wasn’t until my little gremlins were born that I decided my attitude towards the beach was oh so wrong.
So I made a strong effort to get over my dislike for the beach so that my kids could enjoy this simple pleasure. Talk about mom of the year. I’m kidding of course. But honestly I do really l-o-v-e the beach now.
We’ve made it kind of a thing that we hit up at least one beach a month- even in the cooler months or when it’s overcast and foggy. Because let’s be real, those foggy days are so much better. Best times to take advantage of building a sand castle.
Any who, let me get to my point since you’re all here for one reason. Here is my list of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Orange County. For the most part, they’re easily accessible, clean and with small playgrounds if your kids need to burn off some extra energy. Because I like my kids exhausted when we leave the beach.
Top Orange County Beaches
Main Beach, Laguna Beach – This requires a little bit of walk but it’s such an awesome place. There’s so much to do. You don’t even need to hit the sand. There are so many shops and restaurants within close walking distance to the beach. Plus, this beach has a volleyball court, playground and benches if you wanted to just sit back and people watch.
Aliso Beach, Laguna Beach – I recommend arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon if you’re trying to find parking, especially in the summer. This beach is on the smaller side, but there’s a small playground near the tide pools which makes for one more fun thing to do for your kids. And there’s also fire pits!
Baby Beach, Dana Point – The name says it all. The sand is incredibly soft and the water barely has any waves. I just recommend trying to visit during the week because on the weekends, you’ll be packed like sardines. And in summer, forgetta’ about it. The warmer months bring a huge crowd so again, aim for during the week.
Crystal Cove Beach, Newport Beach – This beach is one of my favorites. Be aware there’s two ways to get down to the beach from the parking lot. You can take a trolly (it cost $1) or walk down the hill. I recommend walking. One, I’m cheap and two, the walk down the hill is gorgeous. You’re walking along the trail which gives you a gorgeous view of the ocean. But other than that, it’s a gorgeous beach with two restaurants nearby. The Beach Comber and The Shake Shack. Also, parking cost $15 so I’d recommend making this trip worth your while and plan to stay for a few hours, at least.
Doheny State Beach, Dana Point – We love this beach for family gatherings. There’s so much space and so much to do. From just hanging out at the beach, plenty of space for barbecues or beach picnics, bike rentals, and even room for camping. And in summer, the snack bar is a lifesaver for your kiddos.
Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach – This beach has a very laid-back vibe which I love. You’ll usually find a ton of people surfing which is always fun. Tons of shops and restaurants walking distance. Definitely a fun spot to be at on the weekends.
Are there are a ton of other incredible beaches in Orange County? YES!!
I probably could have named a few more but I wanted to keep this list short. And these are just my favorites and the ones I find easy to take the kids too. Kind of easy, because it’s never really easy taking toddlers to the beach!