Every person who loved The Hillsand The O.C.swooned over the show’s opening shots of vibrant, luxe Orange County beaches. So when I finally got to see pieces of that SoCal coastline for myself, I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed.
Sure, there were miles of white sand, but driving down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) through Huntington Beach, I could only catch glimpses of the beach beyond crowded parking lots packed with hordes of RVs in pay-by-the-day spots. Where werethe seaside jewels Frommer’s has compared to the French Riviera and Costa Del Sol in the south of Spain?
Happily, I’d learn, those breathtaking beaches of television fantasy do exist. But you have to work to find glorious beaches relatively untouched by tourism.
To help you beat the crowds, we’ve rounded up the O.C. beaches locals love (and love to keep to themselves). Our advice? Don’t cheat yourself by trying to make this a day drive. Take a week to start at one end and make your way to the other. Unlike me during that first fateful trip, you won’t be disappointed.