When I am sitting in my yard in Rhode Island, where I transplanted to from California, my memories of home always include being by the beach. Although there are many great family hikes not by the water in Southern California when my family visits, we tend to take walks by the sea. Enjoy two of my favorite easy hikes by the ocean in Orange County.
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Dana Point Nature Preserve Trail, Dana Point
Set in vegetated bluffs over the Pacific Ocean, this is one of the most beautiful hikes by the water in Orange County.
Length of Dana Point Nature Preserve Trail
.9 miles of sandy trail, but if you continue the path opposite the nature center into the neighborhood, you can walk farther to Strand Beach.
The Difficulty of the Dana Point Nature Preserve Trail
The trail is short but dirt and, at times, uneven. It is not a good trail for strollers or disabled individuals.
Features of the Dana Point Nature Trail
There is an educational center at the parking lot, but the opening is delayed due to COVID. You can monitor that here. The trail goes through vegetation to various ocean overlooks with benches. When we visited, we saw many seabirds and squirrels.
Visit Dana Point Nature Trail if you want
an easy nature trail with great reward.
Back Bay Loop, Newport
I have been visiting Back Bay since high school. I even got married with my feet in its sands. Back Bay is an estuary in Newport Beach. Estuaries contain brackish water coming from the ocean.
Length of Back Bay Trail
10.5 miles of paved trails
The Difficulty of Back Bay Trail
The trail is smooth and mainly flat, but long if you walk the whole path. The trail is suitable for walking or biking.
Features of Back Bay Trail
There are cacti, flowers, and animals. You can visit the nature center. If you are hungry, there is a restaurant called Back Bay Bistro with patio seating and live music near The Dunes.
Hike the Newport Beach Back Bay Trail if you want
A flat, long walk along an estuary where you can see the city but feel like you are in the middle of nature.
Where are your favorite Orange County hikes by the water? Please let me know in the comments.
1000 Steps Beach, Laguna Beach
Where to Park for 1000 Steps Beach
Features of 1000 Steps
Length of 1000 Steps Trail
.8-miles up and down.
For more Southern California hikes, read 3 Easy Hikes in Southern California.
7 thoughts on “3 Easy Hikes by the Ocean in Orange County, California”
I wish I had done more coastal hiking when I lived in San Diego. A few times me and my friends went inland to do some mountains and I camped a few times on the beach but each pocket community from San Diego to Orange County has some unique spots.
I think when we go back, I am gonna drive up to Dana Point and take Darcee on the Nature Reserve hike. It looks relatively easy but the beauty along the shore will be so nice.
Dana Point is a lovely town. Down the hill there is a marine animal center and lots of restaurants to eat at.
It looks like a great place for a hike or just enjoying the beach and coastline. Hopefully one day I’ll make it there.
Wow! These both look absolutely beautiful! I’ve got some more places to go in California still and will have to add these to my list!
Looks relaxing! I’ve only been to California once for business. I really want to get back and explore. I’ll be sure to add some of these trails to our list of things to do out there.
There is so much to do there.
There is something so relaxing about taking a hike along a coastal path alongside the crashing waves. It’s even better if it’s an easy trail too so you can just take it all in. Reminds me of our time in New Zealand and Australia.