Dream Summer Destinations in Orange County and the San Diego Area

Dana Point | Daniel Salcius

Orange County and the San Diego area make up a large slice of gorgeous coastal Southern California and are renowned for having some of the country’s top beaches and most scenic communities. This region is a must-visit for anyone seeking a tranquil oceanfront getaway during the summer. Let’s look at some of the communities in this part of Southern California that are best for a summer escape.

Dana Point

Dana Point, an Orange County destination, embodies the finest offerings of the region, including gorgeous beaches and deep blue water. At Doheny State Beach, visitors can relax on a soft-sand shoreline or hit the water and enjoy some incredible surf. Dana Point also stands out as a premier destination for whale and dolphin watching. 

The massive Dana Point Harbor houses thousands of boats, many of which serve as tour and excursion vehicles. Whether you are hoping to do some deep-sea fishing, surf, or just relax by the water, exploring the surrounding waterways is conveniently accessible and fun at Dana Point.

Dana Point Harbor | Frames For Your Heart

Newport Beach

Newport Beach, one of Orange County’s most popular destinations, is a sun-soaked paradise with some of the best beaches in California. It boasts a vast, open shoreline, and its famed beaches include North Star Beach, Corona del Mar State Beach, and The Wedge, a surfer’s paradise.

There is much to do in Newport Beach throughout the sunny summer season. A stroll along Balboa Pier, a classic oceanfront pier with amusement park rides and restaurants, promises a delightful and family-friendly day. If you prefer to immerse yourself in the city’s culture, visit Newport Beach’s many art galleries or dine at one of its renowned local restaurants.

Balboa Pier | Gustavo Zambelli


Oceanside, located north of San Diego, is a slice of coastal paradise famous for its beaches and its long-standing legacy as one of the country’s surfer meccas. It boasts prime surfing conditions and is home to the California Surf Museum. During the summer, visitors come en masse to enjoy Oceanside’s sandy destinations, including Harbor Beach and Strand Beach.

While the beaches are excellent, there is much more to experience around the city. Oceanside has high-quality shops and restaurants, with many concentrated in scenic Harbor Village. Summer also brings many exciting events to the city, including the Oceanside Plein Air Festival, local farmers markets, and outdoor concerts.

Oceanside | Spencer Bergen


Carlsbad, located near San Diego, is a charming city popular for its dramatic coastal scenery. This busy tourism hub has something for everyone. Visitors often seek out Tamarack Surf Beach, known for its crashing waves, or the serene South Carlsbad State Beach, where hiking trails pass through isolated beaches and incredible outdoor scenery.

Others prefer to experience Carlsbad’s best-known attraction, the family-friendly theme park of Legoland California. Also, Carlsbad’s perfectly maintained golf courses, high-end resorts, and outstanding shopping destinations ensure it has something for everyone. During the summer, Carlsbad hosts weekly farmers markets, a massive Independence Day celebration, and numerous outdoor events.

Carlsbad | Samantha Jean
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