Closest/best beach

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by MarBee, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. MarBee

    MarBee DIS Veteran

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    We are planning our first ever DL trip for the end of June after being to WDW many times.
    I wanted to squeeze in a couple of small day trips since this is the first time we’ve ever been on the west coast.
    What beach is the best bet for being close to DL and also a nice beach? We are going to rent a car that day and plan to go for a few hours since we’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean.
    Any tips/advice/recommendations are welcome!
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. finchy3

    finchy3 Mouseketeer

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    Huntington I think is the closest but the best in my opinion is Laguna.
     
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  4. Lane308

    Lane308 Earning My Ears

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    Crystal Cove state beach in Newport! There’s a large parking lot on the east side of pacific coast highway (hwy 1) and a shuttle to take you down to the beach or you can take a paved trail. Gorgeous and less trafficked than Laguna or Huntington. There’s a gem of a restaurant right on the sand (the beachcomber). Put your name in when you arrive bc the wait gets long but it’s worth it.
     
  5. Whistlebee

    Whistlebee DIS Veteran

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    We enjoyed Newport Beach by the pier. A few surf shops are there so it’s an easy spot to rent beach chairs and umbrellas if you want. Several restaurants are right there too so you don’t have to pack food if you don’t want too. Parking is definitely a challenge tho. I haven’t been to the other beaches in the area tho.
     
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  6. MarBee

    MarBee DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I totally forgot about renting beach chairs and umbrellas! Do most of the beaches rent them there?
     
  7. Lane308

    Lane308 Earning My Ears

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    There's a rental stand at Crystal Cove beach where the to-go Beachcomber stand is. (Which btw is a good option for food if the Beachcomber wait is super long and you don't have time to wait. But we usually just put our name in, get the pager, and go have fun until we're called.) :) The stand is somewhat seasonal from my experience but you'd definitely find it open in June!
     
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  8. LittleFlounder

    LittleFlounder DIS Veteran

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    My favourite is Huntington Beach! There are tons of parking right at the beach, lots of rental places(bikes, chairs,umbrellas, toys, etc), lots of concession stands, bathrooms, change rooms and showers right on the beach. Also, its really fun to walk the pier and spend some time watching the surfers and people fishing. Huntington Beach is literally just steps from downtown where there are plenty of restaurants, bars and shopping!
     
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  9. GoldeneyezCA

    GoldeneyezCA Earning My Ears

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    FYI, if you haven't been to SoCal in June before, the beach cities experience a phenomenon called June gloom. This means that it may be chilly and foggy for most of the morning, and then the sun will appear for a few hours in early afternoon, before disappearing again around 3 or 4 pm. You may also get blazing sunshine, but you never know that time of year. Dress in layers, just in case, because it will definitely be cooler than Anaheim. Also, there is a real rush hour on Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH), so the best time to go to the beach is usually between 10-3! I'm a beach addict who lives in Huntington, so here's more info for you, with relative distances from DL...

    Laguna - 35-45 min
    Pros: The prettiest, hands down. There is a mix of hills, cliffs, and sea, so the scenery is spectacular. It's more upscale, with pricier shops and restaurants, and an artsy, bohemian vibe. There are several waterfront restaurants where you can eat right on the water (Splashes at Surf & Sand is a favorite), or you can pack a lunch. Local secret: If you're up for the drive, head to the Montage Laguna Resort (look at the pics online), use street parking, take the stairs (or the hotel lobby elevator) to access the beach path, and enjoy one of the most stunning views in SoCal. The grounds are immaculate with cliffside ocean views from paved walkways, and there are gorgeous public beaches on the property. Our favorite, called Treasure Cove, is harder to access - down a steep path or a lot of stairs - but it has awesome tide pools. But don't eat at the Montage unless you want to drop serious cash. LOL.
    Cons: Laguna is further south, and traffic can build up because it's more secluded.

    Huntington - 25-30 min
    Pros: Surf City, USA. This is the beach most people think of when they think of Orange County, with palm trees, big waves, surfers, street performers, and people walking around everywhere in swimsuits. It's very laid-back, and the beach path stretches for miles. It has a great pier, and in addition to the restaurants and bars on Main Street, there's a more upscale open-air mall, Pacific City, right across from the beach with a variety of eateries. We like Simmzy's or Bear Flag Fish Co., but there are several options to suit your taste, and the food court is very fun to explore (custom popsicles, a beef jerky bar, etc).
    Cons: It gets crowded (especially around Main street), but it's such a big beach that there is ample parking, especially if you head away from the pier.

    Crystal Cove - 30 min
    Pros: Barely developed, and gorgeous. It's a state park. If you only want to hang out on the beach, and not walk around a downtown/village area, this may be your best bet.
    Cons: Limited dining options, and the entrance fee is $15 per car.

    Newport - 25-30 min
    Pros: Big waves on the beach, and lovely calm views in the harbors. You can visit Newport Beach, the Balboa Peninsula, the Balboa Fun Zone (if you have kids), and take the car ferry across the harbor at the end of your visit.
    Cons: Parking can be horrendous in the summer, and since Newport is one of the most expensive areas in SoCal, most shops and restaurants are outrageous.
     
  10. tarheelalum

    tarheelalum DIS Veteran

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    This beach is awesome. If you go, check out Rudy's Shake Shack. Its on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Its pretty incredible too.
     
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  11. FeistyDisneyMom

    FeistyDisneyMom Mouseketeer

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    We will be traveling in March - I've been assuming it'll be too cold to let the kids actually get wet in the ocean, but are there any tips for that time of year? We'll probably go to Huntington or Chrystal Cove.
     
  12. MychaelP

    MychaelP Mouseketeer

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    I suggest Huntington Beach. There is so much history there with the surfing walk of fame and tons and tons and tons of parking. Lots free if you go a few blocks north or west. Take Harbor straight down (or get to the 55 south, go to 405 West, exit Harbor, go left (South), make a right on Adams (West), go all the way to Main St., go Left (south), barely a mile or less and your're there.
    They also opened a new shopping/dining outdoor place called Pacific City that's worth a look too. Lots of outdoor places to eat with ocean views. Just go and explore, there are lots of little places to eat that are kind of hidden down the side streets. We find something new all the time and we go monthly.
     
  13. Lane308

    Lane308 Earning My Ears

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    We are frequently at crystal cove beach in March and my kids swim! But we are from Colorado, and 60s feel relatively warm to us that time of year. So i think it partly depends on what kind of temps you’re coming from.
     
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  14. FeistyDisneyMom

    FeistyDisneyMom Mouseketeer

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    We're coming from Dallas this year, but its our first winter here - we're originally from eastern Washington, near the Idaho border. It is anyone's guess if the kids will be into it - I'm guessing my 5 yr old will (she's always wearing flipflops and shorts here) and my oldest won't - always cold.
     
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  15. MarBee

    MarBee DIS Veteran

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    Wow! Thanks so much for this!
     
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  16. LittleFlounder

    LittleFlounder DIS Veteran

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    There is also a Rudy's restaurant at the end of the Huntington Beach pier. You can eat-in and sit at a window for amazing views, or there's an outside take-out window.
     
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  17. mentos

    mentos Minty fresh happy haunts

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    Call me strange, but I love June Gloom! Otherwise, your post is spot on :worship:
     
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  18. GoldeneyezCA

    GoldeneyezCA Earning My Ears

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    Marbee - You are welcome! You'll have a wonderful time, whichever beach you choose! :)

    mentos - I don't mind June gloom, either. LOL. But we've had friends and family visit that time of year who were were disappointed in the lack of sunshine. FWIW, though, Huntington Beach (HB) faces south, and we get more sunshine than the other beaches, even in June. I've left clear skies at my house and driven into gray gloom in Manhattan Beach or Laguna multiple times.
     
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  19. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    If everyone's up for burgers and shakes, try lunch at Ruby's Diner at the end of the Huntington Pier. Kids (of all ages) love Ruby's! (If they really go for it, there is a Ruby's about 5-10 minutes north of DLR on Lincoln.)
     
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