Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County boasts 42 sun-kissed miles of surf and sand. The region’s string of picturesque seaside towns has been compared to the French Riviera, and each has its own distinct vibe. Amid the legendary surf breaks and tide pools, you’ll also find some lesser known cultural gems, including the historic mission of San Juan Capistrano and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, one of the country’s largest performing arts venues.
Southern California’s Pacific coast is rich with marine life, from mighty whales to tiny hermit crabs. It’s not uncommon to spot dolphins and sea lions frolicking amid the waves, while closer to shore, kelp gardens provide food for fish, birds, otters, and other animals. Between December and March, gray whales can be spotted offshore as they make their annual journey from the icy waters of Alaska to their birthing grounds in Baja California. During summer and fall, humpback whales and blue whales can also be seen.
Terrestrial wildlife abounds in the canyons of Laguna Beach, with coyotes, bobcats, and mule deer counted among the local residents. In the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, which encompasses 4,500 acres, bird life flourishes as well; hawks, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles have all be sighted here.
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