Follow the Pacific Coast HWY as it hugs the coast along Orange County. Stop off in San Clemente, Dana Point. Explore the harbours, beaches and piers of Balboa and Newport. Tired of driving ? Then take a short cut on the Balboa ferry from Balboa Island.
Newport home of the TV series OC, is an area located around the two bays of Newport North and Newport South - the southern bay area is better known as Balbao Peninsula.
Newport Pier Newport
Newport Beach and Harbour is an affluent beach town south of Huntington in Orange County.
The pier at Newport is over 300 metres long and is longer than the pier a little further south at Balboa.
The original wharf was built around 1905 and served as an unloading pier and connecting point to the rail road which serve southern California.
Today the pier is a place of leisure, popular with anglers, diners and those just out for a pleasant sea side walk.
As the sun sets into the Pacific Ocean the skies can take out a range of orange yellow hues.
With an uninterrupted sea scape for over thousands of miles visitors descend on the area at evening time to marvel at the views.
New Port Harbour
Newport Harbour lies between the Balboa Peninsula, the mainland, Highway 1 and North Newport Bay.
The harbour was formed when the estuary was dredged at the turn of the 20th century.
Within the harbour there are several artificial islands made from the dredging debris, of which Lido and Balboa islands are the largest.
While at one time the harbour's economy was based around boat and ship building, today its recreational based.
New Port Harbour
The surfing off Newport Beach is excellent, north of the pier as far as the Santa Ana River.
A walkway runs about 4 km past the beach, and the two piers. The walkway caters for both walkers an cyclists.
On the beach and close to the pier is the Dory Fleet Fish market.
The fisher men haul their small boats from the water in the mornings and the fresh fish goes on sale around 9 am.
While Balboa is mainly residential, it is a pleasant area to visit, with a Pier, Fun Zone, quiet harbour and car ferry, plus some excellent restaurants.
Balboa Beach Balboa Peninsula
The beach is popular with families and surfers a like. On a good surf day hundreds of surfers can be seen riding the waves.
The Balboa Harbour is mainly a leisure and small craft marina. The speed within the harbour is restricted to 5 mph.
A car ferry crosses the harbour to Balboa Island on a regular basis.
A number of the water side homes are rental and offer private moorings.
The Balboa Pier was built in 1906 as a tourist amenity, being connected to the Pacific Electric Railway Red Car line, in order to encourage house buyers to buy lots on the Balboa Peninsula.
Today the pier is a pleasant place to amble on a fine day or to try ones hand at fishing - though be careful the Pelican doesn't get your catch.
There is a regular car ferry from the mainland via Balboa Island to the peninsula. The ferry covers the short 30 m distance in about five minutes.
Using the ferry takes considerable road distance off the journey to the Balboa car park, pier and Fun Zone.
The ferry business has been in the Beek Family for over 100 years.
Discover the miles of beach along Huntingtons coast line as far north as the Bolsa Chica Reserve. Huntington with it's four beaches is regarded as the surfing capital of the USA.
Huntington Beach Huntington
Surf City USA or Huntington Beach has over 12km of sandy beach, an all year round mild climate and is a favourite with families and surfers alike. The beach or HB has almost consistent surf all year, due to swells the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in summer.
The area was once a significant oil producing region, though while some extraction continues, the wells are seriously depleted.
HB is a series of four beaches which includes Dog Beach in the south, Bolsa Chica State Beach to the north, City of Huntington Beach and Huntington State Beach.
All four beaches face different directions increasing the surfing opportunities.
Bolsa Chica Beach
The beach extends about 5km starting just north of Huntington City Beach.
A bicycle route runs past the beach and continues on past Huntington.
The beach is popular with anglers casting their lines from the sand into the rolling surf.
During summer months Grunion come to spawn on the sands. On the opposite side of the road lies Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a designated coastal wetland area.
Bolsa Chica Beach
Dana Point and South
Explore Dana Point harbour and along the coast south to San Clemente
Dana Point Harbour Dana Point and South
The harbour at Dana Point is one of the only harbours along Orange County Coastline.
The area is called after the author Richard Henry Dana, Jr. who describe the area in his book "Two Years Before the Mast".
Though he described the anchorage in the area as poor, it has become a thriving harbour memorialising his name.
The beaches close to the harbour are good surf beaches, though it's legendary surf break "Killer Dana" was destroyed on the building and extension of the harbour break water.
Dana Point Harbour
Dana Point Marina
Th marina with over 1500 boating slips is one of tghe most popular marinas on the south west coast.
Dana Point Marina
San Clemente a coastal city in Orange County lies midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. The city is on the rail line and accessible from bot San Diego and Los Angles by train.
The city is known for its Spanish Architecture.
The city and beach is popular with families and those seeking a quieter relaxing break.
For surfers the area has man well defined surf breaks and has a strong surfing tradition.