Orange County climate
Orange County covers an area that stretches from the coast to inland foothills and its climate varies as a result. The best weather can usually be found on the coast where the Pacific Ocean serves to cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Nearly constant sunshine – and needless to say very limited rainfall – as well as an average annual temperature in the mid-20 degree range really do come close to climate perfection.
When to fly to Orange County
Because of the lack of seasonality in Orange County, peak times tend to be dictated by school holidays when families in the area and abroad visit.
The periods between school holidays – i.e. mid-September through to mid-November, mid-January through to mid-March and mid-April through to mid-May – tend to be quieter, particularly at family destinations such as Disneyland. However, many of the attractions cut down on their opening times to compensate and may also carry out refurbishment programs at these times so do some research before booking flights to Orange County.
Getting around Orange County
This is California, the world’s capital of the car, so it is not surprising that the best way to get around Orange County is to use one. Of course everyone else uses one as well so the motorways tend to fill up at busy times. Avoid using them during the morning and afternoon rush hours (7am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm).
Major car rental companies are represented at all airports in the region. Shuttles to hotels and nearby towns are also available as are taxis.
Trains are not as popular a mode of transport in California as they are in other parts of the US but Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner does serve most of the Orange County communities.
Buses are the best public transportation option and bus services run throughout the county.
Orange County insider information
- Orange County’s Little Saigon is home to the largest concentration of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam. It is also home to sizable Chinese and Korean communities, particularly in western Orange County. There are many exotic shops selling Asian foods and of course no shortage of Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean restaurants.
- Huntington Beach, or Surf City USA as it is also known, is the local centre of all things sun, surf and sand. Its other claim to fame is the longest recreational pier in California.
- Laguna Beach is another beachside community in the county. However, there is more to it than just another beach. The Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Playhouse provide an establishment cultural backdrop to a place that is already renowned for its art festivals, galleries, historic districts and unique gift shops. Its restaurants are not half-bad either. Laguna Beach is also a designated marine-life refuge while Heisler Park Ecological Reserve is the perfect setting for some cliff-walking.
- Fashion Island is an outdoor shopping centre in Newport Beach that features a massive koi pond and gardens to calm the senses after a hectic shopping schedule. The area’s coastline is home to a huge marina, the largest small-yacht harbour on the West Coast. It goes without saying that harbour cruises are available though the best bet for an excursion is the high-speed catamaran to nearby Santa Catalina Island.
- This would not be California without the unexpected and despite the fact that Orange County features as mild a winter as is possible without crossing the equator, Winter Wonderland features the arrival of 100 tons of snow at Bonita Creek Park in Newport Beach. Sledding, snowball fights and pictures with Santa are all on offer.