The Best Places to Live in Coastal Orange County, CA

The Best Places to Live in Coastal Orange County, CA Featured Image

Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash

Orange County, California is a vibrant cluster of towns that not only draws in visitors from all over the world with its beautiful sunny weather, large sandy beaches, hidden gems, local hotspots, and rich culture, but it also attracts new residents with its luxurious real estate and amenities.

The picturesque beachfront cities of Orange County CA have everything – mountains, beaches, hiking trails, attractions for families, and so much more. If you’re considering moving to this coveted location and are wondering what the best places to live, Orange County are, this article enumerates some of the best neighborhoods.

Some of the Best Neighborhoods in Coastal Orange County

With over 40 miles of coastline, Orange County neighborhoods offer so much more. Read on to learn what some of the best neighborhoods in the area have to offer.

Newport Beach: Resort Living

Newport Beach is one of the wealthiest cities in Orange County. Living in Newport Beach is like spending an extended vacation in a world-class resort. Some of the benefits that residents enjoy are breathtaking sunset views, short cruises, quaint islands, and various waterfront activities.

Almost the entirety of the calendar year is full of events, such as the annual Newport Beach Jazz Festival and the Sunset Jazz Series. If you’re looking for the best place to live, Orange County’s Newport Beach is arguably your ultimate option for picturesque beachfront living.

Irvine: Family-Friendly City

Photo by Ariel Blanco on Unsplash

Irvine is another excellent option for those looking where to live in Orange County, CA, as it is known for its masterfully planned communities, top-ranked schools, and abundance of green spaces, making it a great place to raise a family and start a career.

This family-friendly city is an oasis that connects residents to both the city and nature. Lovely homes are surrounded by picturesque landscapes, shopping and dining venues, business hubs, and open space and trails.

Residences feature sleek designs, gourmet kitchens, open spaces, and resort-style amenities. Communities offer access to playgrounds, swimming pools, and volleyball and basketball courts – all of which are exclusive to Irvine residents.

Laguna Beach: A Great Escape

Photo by ArtHouse Studio

Even residents who have lived in Laguna Beach for decades say that this place still feels like an escape. It’s like being on a getaway, having forever access to private beach coves, lush hillsides, oceanfront parks, and coastline hiking trails.

The locals have a great appreciation of culture and a strong sense of community. Residents enjoy summer art festivals, fantastic restaurants and cafes, inspiring art galleries, excellent schools, and wineries, including the Laguna Canyon winery and the Palazzo Winery Tasting Room.

Crystal Cove: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Photo by Kyle Breeden on Unsplash

Crystal Cove offers the perfect balance of nature’s tranquility and the inspiration of nearby historic villages and modern cities.

Nestled between South California’s Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove is one of the most prized beachfront locations in all of Orange County, best known for its stretch of the beachfront cove and coastal cliffs with almost 4,000 acres of preserved nature.

Residents enjoy Crystal Cove Park’s pristine beach tucked away in a serene cove amidst cliffs and tide pools. The beach is over 3 miles and is excellent for playing in the sand, lounging in the sun, exploring tide pools, surfing, and swimming.

What Makes Each of Those Neighborhoods Great?

What Makes Each of Those Neighborhoods Great?

These Orange County coastal neighborhoods are indeed impressive, and it can be challenging to decide which one is the best place for you to live. To help you further, we’ve listed some of the key highlights of each of these Orange County areas.

  • Newport Beach is ideally positioned between two of the most sought-after destinations in the state of California: Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • Home buyers can choose from a healthy stock of luxurious housing options by the beach, with styles ranging from California Contemporary to Spanish Revival and California Bungalow.
  • The 1,032-foot-long Newport Beach Pier is perfect for skating and cycling and surrounded by a beautiful beach known for sunbathing and surfing.
  • There are fun and exciting events to look forward to throughout the year: Newport Beach Jazz Festival, Sunset Jazz Series, Artwalk, and Christmas Boat Parade.
  • Newport Beach, CA is served by the highly-rated Newport Mesa Unified School District.
  • Newport Beach is one of the economic powerhouses of Orange County, with a strong job market that involves the following top employers: Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, PIMCO, Glidewell Dental, Pacific Life, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Resort at Pelican Hill, and the City of Newport Beach.
  • Irvine is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, with over 16,000 acres of parks.
  • Families can enjoy quality time together at the award-winning Jeffrey Open Space Trail – a scenic, 5-mile path that stretches from the Santa Ana Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Enjoy the bustling culinary scene that boasts Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as farm-to-table dining options and farmers’ markets.
  • Irvine is served by the Irvine Unified School District – a nationally ranked district that includes 26 elementary schools, ten middle schools, and six high schools.
  • The city has become a hub for Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs, attracting talent from all over the world.
  • Laguna Beach is one of the best places for artists and art enthusiasts to call home, with several events like First Thursdays Art Walk, a regular event held every first Thursday of the month involving over 40 local galleries that host artists’ receptions, demonstrations, and provide live music.
  • For two months in summer, from early July to early September, you can meet artists of various media, participate in workshops, witness demonstrations, and join art tours, as Laguna Beach celebrates over 140 Orange County artists and makers.
  • While Laguna Beach is undoubtedly known for its coastal parks and beaches, there are several inland parks as well where residents can engage in fun physical activities like volleyball, surfing, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, trail-running, and hiking: Main Beach, 1000 Steps Beach, Victoria Beach, Heisler Park, Aliso Beach Park, Crystal Cove State Park, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
  • Walkers, trail hikers, and runners have plenty of green space to enjoy, including the Crystal Cove State Park Coastal Trail, Old Emerald Trail, Bommer Ridge Trail, Aliso Canyon, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
  • Unwind and experience the best wines in California at the Laguna Canyon Winery and Palazzo Winery Tasting Room. The Laguna Canyon Winery also offers monthly dinner events and is available for party and corporate hire. The Palazzo Winery Tasting Room offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced wine-tasting experiences.
  • The perfect place for nature lovers, the Crystal Cove Historic District is part of the Crystal Cove State Park, which boasts 4,000 acres of preserved nature where mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers come to experience its canyons and forests.
  • There are over 3 miles of pristine beach tucked away in a serene cove, where beachgoers can enjoy playing in the sand, exploring tide pools, surfing, and swimming in the clear, warm Pacific waters.
  • One of the most unique and defining features of Crystal Cove is the conservation of the historical heritage of Crystal Cove, particularly the 46 vintage rustic cottages that overlook the ocean were built in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Aside from the abundance of nature and convenient access to beach life, Crystal Cove residents enjoy the variety of shops, cafes, and dining options, such as The Beachcomber, an oceanfront restaurant where guests can enjoy good food as their eyes feast on the incredible sights of both the Newport Coastline and Catalina Island as the sun sets.


There’s so much to enjoy in the lovely Coastal Orange County, CA, whichever neighborhood you choose! But every homebuyer has their own needs, preferences, and budget. This is where we step in to help you decide which neighborhood and property will best suit your specific requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions

Having access to amenities that you need as an individual and/or as a family, employment or business opportunities, and cost of living are some of the most important things to consider when looking for the best neighborhood to call your home.

It helps to have a reliable, experienced realtor working with you as you go on your home-buying journey. Their access to real estate market reports and information and firsthand knowledge of the area can make this step more time and energy efficient.

While all the neighborhoods we’ve mentioned in this article are all amazingly beautiful, with pleasant weather and access to several wonderful beaches, they offer unique advantages and amenities. And so, as you go through our list, you’ll have an idea of which neighborhood will offer you and your loved ones the best environment.