strands beach kids

Photo credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

In Orange County, ‘going to the beach’ is not quite as simple as it sounds.  With each block of Laguna Niguel being its own beach and the expansive coastline of this beautiful county, each beach offers a unique feel that ultimately helps create a fan base for each beach. These are three of the best beaches for families in Orange County. Each has a different feel; simply pick the one that matches your desires for the day and toss your beach gear in the car.

Strands Beach – Dana Point

I want to live here. Strands Beach is our oasis and beach where we dream big.

With some of the most beautiful homes in Orange County overlooking the waves, Strands Beach is an Orange County favorite. Located in Dana Point just off of Pacific Coast Highway and Selva Road, parking is incredibly easy–and free–on the street parking and in a parking lot. Each parking area accesses a different point of the beach; head to the south end of the beach for a quieter feel, the middle of the beach for surfing, and the north for a busier beach feel.

Whichever area of the beach you decide to target, skip your morning workout for the abundant stairs you will walk in order to reach beach heaven.  Strands Beach is worth each and every stair; pack snacks, food and plenty of sunblock so you can enjoy your day down at the beach. We also love the uber clean restrooms and showers that are easily accessible at this beach.

Woods Cove Beach

Photo Credit / Amy Barseghian Orange County Traveling Mom

Woods Cove – Laguna Niguel

When you want a smaller beach feel, Woods Cove is the beach for you in Orange County. Located between Pearl and Diamond streets, it can be easily overlooked because of the busy traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway. Parking is available on the city streets; it is best to arrive earlier in the day to ensure parking.

Woods Cove is optimal on a calm day as the cove forms the perfect nook for body boarding.  During high tide and days with larger waves, grab your surf or boogie board as the waves crash into the cove. Take the stairs down to this hidden beach gem in Orange County and bring everything you need for the day.

Insider tip – when you get hungry, grab take out from Maro Wood Grill off of PCH directly between Pearl and Diamond. We recommend the grilled peppers and sharing a burger back on the beach.

Crystal Cove Beach

Photo credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

Crystal Cove State Beach – Newport Beach

Ready for a peaceful walk on the beach, or do you want a day where you can swim with the family? Crystal Cove State Beach is located at 8471 N Coast Hwy in Newport Beach and is one of our favorite beaches in the area. We can do all of these activities while enjoying some of the most beautiful coastal views in the area.

Parking is available opposite the beach toward the south end of Crystal Cove State Beach; this is the perfect area for swimming, boogie boarding, and setting up for the day. A bit further north is another parking lot which overlooks another stretch of Crystal Cove State Beach. We love taking the steps down for a family walk on the beach as the kids explore the tide pools.