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

FOOD:

  • 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
  • Babette’s
  • 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

GROCERY:

  • Mother’s Market (wish there was one in Florida – love it so much)
  • Whole Foods
  • Sprouts
  • 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.)

FITNESS:

  • Mantra South OC (the best pilates reformer class)!
  • Soul Cycle (Newport Beach)
  • Pacific Blue Yoga
  • Yoga Works (a few locations throughout Orange County)

BEACHES:

  • 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 

Guide to Orange County CAGuide to Orange County CA

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