Guide to Orange County, CA
My dad has been living in Orange County (San Clemente) for 8 years now and I go out to visit him about two times per year and have quickly fallen in love with the area. If I was ever going to move anywhere it would be to Southern California. This past week my mom and step-dad rented a house near Dana Point (just south of Laguna Beach) for a week for a family vacation. For the first time since I started visiting 8 years ago I felt like I really knew my way around and had a good handle on the food spots I love, places to grab a coffee or matcha, great beaches to visit as well as kid-friendly spots. Below are my recommendations.
COFFEE / MATCHA:
- Juice Press (locations in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach) has an amazing Keto Coffee or Matcha that I love!
- Organic Tree Café (Dana Point) – superfood lattes!
- KIT (Newport Beach) – love their coffee
- Café Gratitude (Newport Beach) – head here for superfood lattes!
- Bear Coast Coffee (locations in Laguna Beach and San Clemente) – a large selection of coffee and lattes
- Juice Press (locations in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach) – love their smoothie and they happen to have the best waffles!
- Organic Tree Café (Dana Point)
- KIT (Newport Beach)
- Café Gratitude (Newport Beach) – delicious vegan food!
- Bear Coast Coffee (locations in Laguna Beach and San Clemente)
- Sejuiced (Corona Del Mar) – love their smoothie bowls!
- A Market (Newport Beach)
- True Food Kitchen (Newport Beach)
- Bear Flag Fish Co – the freshest seafood!
- Wild Taco
- Circle Hook for local and sustainable seafood
- Eat Drink Vibe (Newport Beach and Dana Point)
- Flower Child (Newport Beach)
- Malibu Farm
- Pressed Juicery Freeze for something to satisfy your sweet tooth
*My favorite restaurants that aren’t notably ‘healthy’ but surely are notably GOOD:
- Starfish – incredible Asian cuisine
- Gen Kai – the best sushi I’ve ever had!
- Javier’s – amazing Mexican food on Newport Coast
- Mother’s Market (wish there was one in Florida – love it so much)
- Whole Foods
- Farmer’s Markets (San Clemente on Sunday or Irvine on Saturday are the two I’ve been to, but there are SO many amazing farmer’s markets to check out.)
- Mantra South OC (the best pilates reformer class)!
- Soul Cycle (Newport Beach)
- Pacific Blue Yoga
- Yoga Works (a few locations throughout Orange County)
- Crystal Cove (Newport Beach)
- Shaw’s Cove (Laguna Beach)
- Victoria Beach (Laguna Beach)
- Diver’s Cove (Laguna Beach)
- T Street (San Clemente)
- The Beach at the San Clemente Pier
TO DO WITH KIDS:
- Walk around Fashion Island – there’s a koi pond that Emma loves!
- Irvine Spectrum Center – we love riding the train around
- Zoomar’s Petting Zoo – My girls loved feeding the animals and riding the train
- Balboa Island
- Explore Lido Marina Village
- Visit the San Clemente pier – grab some ice cream while you’re there!
- Have a sunset picnic dinner on the beach
- Disney Land – about 25 – 45 minutes from Orange County depending on traffic
- Of course take your kids to all of the amazing beaches that I listed above as well!
ADULTING: (if you’re here without kids or have someone to watch your kids)
- The spa at The Monach Beach Resort (Miraval Spa located in Dana Point). Get a massage here and then treat yourself to a blowout at Drybar (located in the hotel as well)
- Shopping/dining at Lido Marina Village or boat rentals
- Shopping at Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa
- Visit the fabulous beaches I listed above
- Stroll through Laguna Beach – so many amazing art galleries, shops and restaurants
- Visit Dana Point Harbor