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A Guide to Gay Orange County

Orange County

Now known as “The OC,” Orange County is the heart of Southern California, encompassing all the marvels that make a traveling spirit soar. Whether you drive, ride the Amtrak or fly into any of the four major airports within 50 miles, The OC itself can transport you from the doldrums to California dreamin’.

Knotts Berry Farm

Fun and fantasy reign at The OC’s world-famous Disneyland® Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm, yet they don't stop there. Stroll the beach, skate, surf and golf at the world-class venues of Orange County. Stay in a charming bed & breakfast or be indulged at a four-star luxury beach resort.

Nature’s certainly been kind to The OC– kissing the summer air with average temperatures of 79° along sandy white shorelines that greet the world’s greatest ocean. Ecological reserves thrive along the coastlines and wetlands, eastward to the wildlife sanctuaries in the canyons and inland hills.

Huntington Beach

Artists and performers of all walks-of-life color the 34 distinctive neighborhoods that make up The OC Art and music festivals, the US Open of Surfing and weekly farmers markets throughout the county celebrate the great outdoors and your place in it.

Sunsets fade to dressy nights-on-the-town in the midst of the stars – both kinds. With accommodations, shopping, dining and night life ranging from bohemian to vogue, from restful to rockin’– and back again – The OC has it all.

Huntington Beach, Surf City USA® is home to the longest recreational pier in the state, perfect for strolling. Great blue herons and snowy egret stake their majestic place among the nearly 200 species of birds you can see at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Try your first game of “Frisbee golf” at one of the nation’s first courses, or visit the equestrian center before settling down to a beach bonfire after dinner and dark.

Bolsa Chica Nature Reserve

Just east is the Irvine Ranch, Limestone Canyon Sinks and even a mini Grand Canyon. Visit the Irvine Spectrum Center for eclectic entertainment, food and shops. Acres of parks and wild, open land adorn the center of Orange County, or you can tee it up at one of The OC’s top-ranked golf courses, before a concert at the Verizon Amphitheatre, or a show at the Barclay.

Costa Mesa

Speaking of shows, Costa Mesa is alive with international acclaim. This “City of the Arts” is home to the new Orange County Performing Arts Center, the South Coast Repertory, and in nearby Santa Ana is the Bowers Museum – so you can see “Hamlet” on-stage and the Egyptian mummies all in one day. Get into the walking groove at South Coast Plaza – the first recognized “shopping resort” in the country – and enjoy delicious food to suit any palate.

Fashion Island

Newport Beach’s Fashion Island is an outdoor shopping center encircled by gardens, palm trees,and a huge koi pond. You can't miss the largest small-yacht harbor on the West Coast, two wooden piers and all the restaurants and shops along the water; or opt for biking, jogging, hiking or riding a Segway in the “Back Bay” ecological preserve. Catch the high-speed catamaran to Santa Catalina Island, or just enjoy a harbor cruise.

Laguna Beach

Head south a few more beautiful miles along Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Laguna Beach, and visit the Laguna Art Museum by day and the Laguna Playhouse by night. Renowned art festivals, famous galleries, historic districts and unique gift boutiques are guaranteed to fill you with appreciation for all your senses – as do the local restaurants. Designated a marine life refuge, and known for it’s tide pools, Laguna Beach also provides cliff-walking and picnics at the Heisler Park Ecological Reserve.

Orange County shares the best of the Southern California spirit – and leaves you California dreamin’.

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