Orange County and Catalina Island Sights

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Orange County and Catalina Island - browse our top choices for the top things to see during your stay.

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Fodor's Choice


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Newport Beach 9

Huntington Beach 7

Corona del Mar 5

Disneyland Resort 4

Catalina Island 4


Avalon 4

Dana Point 4

Laguna Beach 4

Long Beach and San Pedro 3

San Juan Capistrano 2

Knott's Berry Farm 1

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Amusement Park/ Water Park 4

Beach–Sight 10

Building/ Architectural Site 1

Garden/ Arboretum 1

Library/ Archive 2

Marina/ Pier/ Dock 3

Museum/ Gallery 6

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 1

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 3

Neighborhood/ Street 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 2

Park/ Playground 1

Pedestrian Mall 1

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 1

Restaurant–Sight 2

Store/ Shop/ Mall 4

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 2

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Family 17

Orange County and Catalina Island Sights

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1,000 Steps Beach

  • Beach–Sight

Off South Coast Highway at 9th Street, 1,000 Steps Beach is a hard-to-find spot tucked away in a neighborhood with great waves and hard-packed...

Aquarium of the Pacific

  • Zoo/Aquarium

Sea lions, nurse sharks, and penguins, oh my!—this aquarium focuses on creatures of the Pacific Ocean. The main exhibits include large...

Baby Beach

  • Beach–Sight

Inside Dana Point Harbor, on its west end in Dana Cove Park, Baby Beach is very popular with families. Water quality can be an issue,...

Balboa Island

  • Neighborhood/Street

This sliver of terra firma in Newport Harbor boasts quaint streets tightly packed with impossibly charming multimillion-dollar cottages.

Balboa Pavilion

  • Nautical Site/Lighthouse

On the bay side of the peninsula, Balboa Pavilion was built in 1905. Today it is home to a restaurant and shops and serves as a departure...

Balboa Peninsula

  • Beach–Sight

Newport's best beaches are on Balboa Peninsula, where many jetties pave the way to ideal swimming areas. The most intense bodysurfing...

Beachcomber at Crystal Cove Café

  • Restaurant–Sight

Beach culture flourishes in the Crystal Cove Historic District's restaurant, the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove Café. The umbrella-laden...

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife lovers and bird-watchers flock to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which has a 1,180-acre salt marsh where 321 of Orange County's...

Bolsa Chica State Beach

  • Beach–Sight

In the northern section of the city, Bolsa Chica State Beach is usually less crowded than its southern neighbors. The sand is somewhat...

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

  • Zoo/Aquarium

Dedicated to the marine life that flourishes off the Southern California coast, this Frank Gehry–designed center gives an intimate...


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