Paul Chai

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters from The OC – Marissa, Seth, Ryan and Summer – when you road trip to through California’s Orange County.

When you take the curvy turns of the Pacific Coast Highway to California’s Orange County you might be heading to Disneyland Resort, but you are probably humming the theme tune to The OC, wanting to get a taste of the high life that looked so amazing on TV.

You are Ryan, arriving starry-eyed at the gates of his new foster home staring at the manicured lawns, shabby-chic beach houses

and ultra-cool bars of this playground of the rich and famous.So how do you get a glimpse of the high life without owning one of the OC’s clifftop mansions? Come with us and we’ll show you.

 

The Beaches

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So much of OC life revolves around the beach whether it is grabbing a beachside cocktail or just watching the surfers as they take the waves. Huntington Beach Pier is one of the longest on the west coast and one of the most photographed, you will find an Insta-worthy sunset here most nights to drive your friends mad with envy.

Step back in time at one of the retro beach cottages at Crystal Cove. Here, mid-century beach shacks have been given a very modern makeover and they are one of the most iconic stays in the area.

Or grab a cocktail overlooking Laguna Beach at The Rooftop Lounge, where the OC’s great and good assemble for the going down of the sun.

 

The Bling

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For fabulous OC shopping get yourself to South Coast Plaza one of California’s top shopping malls, with over 1.5 billion dollars in annual sales! This shopping mecca has everything you need, and plenty you can’t afford, to get you looking like an OC native.

Down at Newport Beach is Fashion Island another great place to stretch your credit card on fashion and food. Check out the personal shopping service if you really want to go full OC, then grab lunch at Mariposa restaurant in fashion store Neiman Marcus.

 

The Natural Beauty

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Not all the beauty in the OC is in a shop window or strutting along the sand. This rugged coastline has some incredible spots to hike or wander. The Crystal Cove State Park is one of the last protected pieces of coastline. But those in the know head inland to the densely wooded Moro Canyon and Moro Ridge on secret backcountry trails that highlight the area’s amazing natural beauty.

Explore the coastal canyons in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park where you can find California as it looked long before money and bling took over the OC.

 

READ: A single, 30-something’s guide to Disneyland

READ: 8 things to do during Pixar Fest at Disneyland in California

READ: 5 new reasons to love Tahiti

Have you travelled to Orange County?