Spend some time in Orange County
Unusual insomuch that the county is not centred around one major city, the OC’s largest cities are Anaheim which is known for tourism, Santa Ana which functions as the county’s governmental base and Irvine which is home to many of the county’s major businesses. Whilst not as large, Huntingdon Beach is also an important part of the county – known as Surf City USA, Huntingdon is the epicentre of American surf and beach culture.
Theme parks are perhaps the signature of the county, but there is dispute over which Walter was responsible for this – the famous Walt Disney or the lesser known Walter Knott, owner of a berry farm offering entertainment since the 1920s.
Regardless, the two men were great friends and founders of Disneyland in Anaheim and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, respectively. Whilst Disneyland needs no introduction, Knott’s Berry Farm is America’s oldest theme park and home to over 165 rides – a great slice of Americana. Disneyland, of course, is billed as ‘the happiest place on earth’, and is one of the world’s true ‘must visit’ attractions for families. For a slightly different experience, the Disney’s California Adventure park offers family fun celebrating the history and natural resources of the Golden State.
Waterparks are also a signature of the OC, with Knott’s Soak City in Buena Park offering a huge range of rides, wave pools and slides. The Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine offers much of the same, but with a focus on all-ages family fun. Just before your fingers go all wrinkly, a visit to Zoomar’s Petting Zoo and Bird Park in San Juan Capistrano is sure to delight, containing as it does over 100 friendly animals to meet.
When you visit Orange County, you simply can’t avoid beach culture – so why not make the most of it by visiting some of the beaches that many consider to be the best in the world? Laguna, Huntingdon and Newport are rightfully renowned the world over, but more unspoilt natural beauty can be found at the southernmost tip of the OC at San Onofre State Beach. Surf’s up!