The Sophisticated Side of the OC
There are a myriad of reasons why so many vacationers choose the California coast as their vacation destination. Orange County is one of the top stops on the coastal highway. Never mind the incredible weather, pristine beaches, famous theme parks, relaxed elegance and endless options for fun; the OC, as it’s affectionately called by locals, is also one of the world’s premier shopping destinations. Sports enthusiasts can get VIP tickets to an Anaheim Ducks hockey game or to an Anaheim Angels baseball game. With all it has to offer, Orange County is the perfect getaway destination for luxury travelers.
Here are six experiences that might peak your interest while you are in the OC:
Spa Day at Montage Laguna Beach
Elite travelers from around the world visit Laguna Beach to get a taste of The Montage spa. Locals know this is the place to head to get one of the most incredible spa experiences in the country. The Montage consistently makes top lists for health and wellness treatments. The spa brands itself as luxurious, ritualistic and renewing. The 20,000-square-foot spa features eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, movement studio and a lap pool with glorious ocean views. Elements of Wellness Signature Experiences and Therapies are a testament to European spa science and ancient wisdom traditions bringing you transformational wellness in a serene, relaxing ambiance.
The two “s’s” – surfing and shopping are among the things for which Orange County is best known. If you have the need for a mega-dose of retail therapy, there are many shops offering the most iconic designer brands such as Chanel, Hermès and Prada, to name just a few. Here are some places you surely must visit when the shopping bug hits:
- South Coast Plaza: Dubbed the “Rodeo Drive” of Orange County with more than 250 retailers, not only is South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa the largest shopping center in California, it also features the highest concentration of fashion designers in the country – from Christian Dior to Balenciaga to Harry Winston.
- Irvine Spectrum Center: Take a break from shopping and dining to ride on the 108-foot Giant Wheel standing tall above this exceptional shopping destination brimming with high-end stores.
- Fashion Island: This open-air lifestyle center features a unique blend of designer and fashion specialty boutiques and has picturesque panoramic ocean views and lush piazzas.
- Macalistaire at 1850: Inside this trendy vintage boutique you will find an eclectic mix of clothing, jewelry, art, furniture and accessories from throughout the decades.
- Orange Circle Antique Mall: Orange Circle Antique Mall is a two-story treasure trove for rare, one-of-a-kind finds. Among the unique and interesting objects, you can find vinyl records, handcrafted furniture from the 1800s, estate jewelry, retro clothing, mid-century Danish furniture and other classic collectibles.
Shoot Some Waves
The coast is well known and loved for its incredible surfing opportunities and Orange County is no exception. Huntington Beach, affectionately known as Surf City, is the go-to area for surfers, as its nickname implies. You can also catch some waves in Newport Beach and San Clemente. Orange County is the embodiment of surf culture in a place where waves are the dream and surfing happens every single day. The county's beaches stretch for 42 miles and offer world-class surfing destinations. The area north of the Newport Beach Pier near Blackie's By the Sea is home to solid waves for beginners and longboarders. The surf here is steady and even with plenty of room, so you don't have to worry about large crowds obstructing your run.
OC Coast Glamor
Villa Candice is a striking Mediterranean-style estate in Crystal Cove – one of the premier districts of Newport Beach. With sweeping unobstructed ocean views, it is the epitome of modern elegance. The home can accommodate up to 18 guests in a fresh, contemporary ambiance. Awash in natural light, Villa Candice features a large deck and terrace, a gorgeous infinity pool amid lush, tropical foliage. Guests will also enjoy the wine cellar, gym and home cinema complete with an elevator to make getting around easy.
A Taste of the Arts Scene
There is an immense artistic tradition emanating from Orange County. The Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach focuses on California art exclusively. It covers everything from 19th century landscapes to pop art. About 100 galleries and artists’ studios call the area home. If you really want to experience the contemporary arts scene, you might want to take in the First Thursdays Art Walk happening each month from 6-9 p.m.
Off to the Races
Spend the day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club – the track where Seabiscuit ran in 1938. This venue was then a favorite haunt of the Hollywood elite including Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford, William Powell, John Barrymore and others. The track still maintains its excitement today with opening day in July drawing tens of thousands of people dressed to impress. Don your most unique hat since there are awards presented on opening day for the most glamorous, best racing theme, best flowers and best fascinator.
Fly a Fighter Jet Top Gun Style
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pilot a high-performance fighter jet? Guts, grit, and a need for speed are just a few of the requirements. Push yourself to the limits with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly a fighter jet through Virgin Experience Gifts. Your day will begin with a thorough briefing including flight prep, flight systems training, and safety procedures. Your FAA-certified flight instructor will walk you through it all and ensure you are equipped with the knowledge and confidence you'll need to man the controls once in the air. Before you know it, it will be time to suit up and climb into the cockpit! For this flight, you will be flying in an Aero L-39 Albatros jet. Known for its exceptional maneuverability and reliability, this small jet is a popular training craft among air forces around the world. Your instructor will handle take-off and landing, but you will have the chance to man the controls during your 60-minute flight. In the air, you'll feel the pull of g-forces as you and your instructor expertly execute aerobatic maneuvers like Immelman turns, barrel rolls, Cuban Eights and more. This experience is an adrenaline rush you are sure to remember always.
When you trust LVH with your California luxury travel plans, we will go the extra mile to ensure all your vacation wishes are met or exceeded. In addition to luxury accommodations complete with full services and support, we will also build a personal itinerary for you with all those luxe things you would love to see and do in California. All you need to do is to share your vacation dreams with us and we will go to work on making them a reality!