If you’ve ever watched the TV show The O.C, you’d be forgiven for thinking this beautiful stretch of coastline was filled with wealthy teenagers with too much time on their hands. The popular drama may have catapulted the O.C onto the world stage, but the reality is much better than the small screen. Yes there are plenty of youngsters running around but they’re more focused on catching a wave, munching on French fries and hitting the shops – and they’re just a small part of the community that makes up this idyllic part of the world. Expedia’s Aussie travellers spend between three and four nights in the region, which is a smart move because there’s plenty to keep you busy. Here’s our guide to the Orange County.
Located 45 minutes south east of the LA International Airport, Huntington Beach is one of the major towns in Orange County and is a good base if you’re keen to recover from a long haul flight away from the traffic and big city vibe of downtown Los Angeles. From Huntington Beach, other popular towns such as Newport Beach and Laguna are easily accessible by car, bus or even bike if you’ve got the time to enjoy a cycle along the beachfront.
Huntington Beach is literally Surf City USA – yes, they have trademarked the name. For many surfers, this is the spot that’s on the bucket list. And it’s easy to understand why. Stretching along 13km, the long beach is gifted good surfing conditions by Catalina Island, which sits offshore. The wide stretch of sand is busy with kids, joggers, sunbakers and plenty of tourists but you haven’t seen the beach if you haven’t hopped on a board.
Surfing was introduced to the beach back in 1914, when George Freeth (considered the founder of Californian surf culture when he brought the sport over from Hawaii) arrived to surf the beach in celebration of the brand new pier. The beach was the site of the first USA surfing championships in the 50s and the Surfing Walk of Fame that stretches along Main Street is a pilgrimage for many a surfer.
With all that history, this is the perfect spot to give surfing a go. The long, shallow waters and rolling waves are great for a surfing lesson – there’s plenty of instructors around town.