There’s nothing like a day full of family fun at the beach. In Orange County, you may be overwhelmed by the number of incredible beaches to pick from. Not all are alike, and some are more ideal for the little ones than others.
Some families like to sunbathe, play in the sand, and snack at the beach. Others prefer to surf, hike, or play ball. Either way, Orange County has a beach for your tribe! So, what are the best beaches in Orange County for families? Let’s find out!
Huntington Beach has ample parking and is 3.5 miles long, making it convenient and easy to find a spot to settle down. There are many nearby restaurants, bathrooms, showers, and of course, the pier.
Kids will enjoy taking surf lessons or even just watching the numerous surfers ride the waves. The family can walk along the pier, make sandcastles, play volleyball – you name it.
Little Corona Del Mar Beach
This beach is great for all families; those who want to relax and sunbathe and those who’d rather explore. Little Corona Del Mar Beach has tide pools with small fish, crabs, starfish, sea urchins, and other water life that attracts snorkelers, scuba divers, and energetic children.
Free street parking and bathrooms are accessible, making it convenient for families with children. Little Corona Del Mar Beach is located between Balboa Beach and Crystal Cove. The entire family will be intrigued by the exciting rock formations seen during low tide.
Crystal Cove State Beach
Crystal Cove is a nature lover’s paradise. Enjoy the nature trail that’s perfect for bird watching, whale watching, and kite flying. This beach, located between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, has nearby restaurants and a small downtown area.
The tide changes this beach drastically. During low tide, you can access the different beaches just by walking along the sand. You have to access each beach separately during high tide since the water is blocking off the otherwise walkable shoreline.
The different beaches along Crystal Cove include Moro Beach, Reef Point Beach, Los Trancos Beach, Pelican Point Beach, Treasure Cove Beach, and Little Treasure Cove.
Baby Beach at Dana Point
As the name suggests, Baby Beach is ideal for young families with children. It’s located at Dana Point, a waveless harbor south of Badlands Park. Because the water isn’t directly exposed to the ocean, it’s super calm and perfect for toddlers to splash around safely.
Because there’s free parking, the beach gets rather crowded as the day goes on, so go early. Also, there are grassy picnic areas where you can eat your lunch away from the sand. If you get bored of the beach, you can also paddleboard or kayak in the harbor!
Newport Beach Municipal Beach
Newport Beach Municipal Beach is a day trip treat. Newport Pier is long and has plenty of room for fishing, birdwatching, and looking for fish and dolphins. The beach itself is very wide and sandy – great to set up shop with little ones.
Newport Municipal Beach is five miles long and has public parking, but you might have to park farther away than you want, so bring a wagon.
Seal Beach is located between Long Beach and Bolsa Chica Beach. It has a long pier that’s great for walking the kids down to look at the ocean and birds. The best thing about Seal Beach is its large playground.
The playground is fenced in and has a sandy side and a paved side. Enjoy the spacious beach and beautiful, unobstructed view of the sunset. It’s perfect for picnics and sandcastles! There are also grassy play areas and restaurants by the pier.
Aliso Beach is probably the most popular favorite in Laguna. It is on the family-friendly list for being easily accessible with close parking and restrooms. There are lifeguards on duty in-season and fun tide pools for the little ones to slosh around in.
DO NOT play in the water of the creek area. Though it looks tempting, it contains untreated runoff water and is not clean or safe. The ocean water can be too rough for small kids some days, and skimboarders flock to this beach to enjoy the shore break. If you’ve seen skimboarders, you know they jet along the waterline at top speed – keep this in mind!
Salt Creek Beach at Dana Point
There is a bit of a long walk to get to Salt Creek Beach, but you’re in for a treat once you get there. This beach is perfect for families looking for an enjoyable day of fun.
This beach has lifeguards on patrol during the summer. Older kids can climb the beautiful trees and walk along the shore with their feet in the water.
As for the amenities, there are restrooms, water fountains, affordable parking, and picnic tables. Make sure to bring a wagon or large beach bag. The walk down from the parking lot is a bit arduous, especially if you have smaller children to carry.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
Bolsa Chica State Beach is spacious, with plenty of room to set up for the day and let the kids run around. This beach offers valuable amenities, including bathrooms, showers, volleyball courts, a paved bike path, fire pits, campgrounds, and picnic tables.
Bolsa Chica State Beach is popular for surfers because of its offshore break and sweet waves. The beach is 3 miles long and known for never being too crowded. The sand is soft so young children won’t be uncomfortable, and it’s far enough from the city that you won’t be crowded with tourists.
Linda Lane Park Beach
Linda Lane Beach is a smaller beach but has a lot to offer. Just a short walk from the parking lot, the beach is a sandy paradise for small children. The waves break far out, providing exciting boogie boarding opportunities for the other kids (and the parents too).
There is a lifeguard present during the summer months, which puts everyone at ease. There is a playground, grassy area for games, and picnic tables, and the San Clemente Pier is just a short walk away.