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  • Writer's pictureAlvis Pham

Top 10 Photo Locations in Orange County

Updated: Feb 8

Looking for the most beautiful locations to take pictures at in Orange County? Southern California has some of the best variety in terms of picturesque locations. From the beautiful sandy beaches of Laguna to the fairy tale like forests and parks, there really is no other place like Orange County! We'll also go into some secret hidden photo spots that only the most experienced photographers and locals know!

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#1 Victoria Beach

This is probably my #1 most requested location and you will see why as soon as you touch the sand! Victoria Beach is one of the best locations in Southern California to view the sunset. It offers a unique natural pool, as well as an old Pirate Tower. The scenery changes throughout the year as the tide brings in and takes away sand. During the Winter, more of its natural rock formations will be visible.

Finding it and parking can be a little tricky so here's some quick tips.

How to get there. First, don't navigate to "Victoria Beach" on Google maps because it will take you to a random street. Instead, navigate to "Public Stairway Access to Victoria Beach" and it will take you to the hidden staircase that leads you down to the beach.

Second, you can either park along the street and walk down to the staircase or (and this is what I usually do) you can park at this hidden parking spot. You will have to pay a small meter fee but that's better than driving up and down PCH looking for parking!

Traffic/Crowds : Low to Medium

Best Time to Visit : Weekdays before sunset

Permit Costs : $100 to the City of Laguna

#2 Jeffrey Road Open Space Trail

Beautiful, easy to get to, family friendly, and green all year round! This is my favorite spot for family photos because of how simple yet beautiful the trees and rock paths are! However, this location is flocked with other photographers between October - December so book early in advanced before the holiday season!

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : 1 or 2 hours before sunset

Permit Costs : None

#3 Crystal Cove State Beach

Crystal Cove has some off the best cliff views and it always turns out great in photos! There is also a hiking trail nearby if you want to enjoy the ocean breeze before the photo shoot.

Traffic/Crowds : Medium to High

Best Time to Visit : Weekdays during the winter to avoid crowds

Permit Costs : $100

#4 San Juan Capistrano Mission

Looking for historic locations with old architecture? San Juan Capistrano is the best spot for this! To its old cobblestone walls to huge church bells, this is perfect for a vintage themed photo shoot. There is also a train station nearby for more photos!

Traffic/Crowds : Low to medium

Best Time to Visit : All year round!

Permit Costs :$50 - $100

#5 Newport Beach Winery

What? A Grape Vineyard in Newport Beach? That was my reaction when I first heard of this place. It has a vast and beautiful Grape Vineyard as well as an underground bunker for wine storage! This is truly a hidden treasure in Newport Beach.

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : Spring/Autumn

Permit Costs : $100-$150

#6 Noguchi Garden

This small Japanese Garden has a variety of unique backdrops! From its Pyramid, which I'm sure you've seen in photos somewhere, to its man made rivers, this location is a little hidden treasure!

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : All year round! Best to visit on partially cloudy days

Permit Costs : None

#7 Treasure Island Park

This beach has a unique cave that is perfect for when sunset comes! It also has lots of green foliage as well as gorgeous rock formations.

Traffic/Crowds : Low to Medium

Best Time to Visit : Weekdays before sunset

Permit Costs : $100 to the City of Laguna

#8 Santiago Oaks Regional Park

If you're looking for a boho/forest themed photo shoot, this location is it!

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : Autumn and Spring

Permit Costs : None but there is a $5 entrance fee

#9 Oak Canyon Nature Center

If you want more green then plan for the winter and spring. Wildflowers grow for a limited time in the spring depending on how much rainfall there has been. There is also an area for wedding ceremonies if you were planning on doing an outdoor ceremony!

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : Autumn and Spring

Permit Costs : None

#10 Quail Hill Trail head

This location varies greatly from season to season. During the spring, it is very green and might have a wildflower bloom. During the summer and winter times, everything is golden. Beware of snakes!

Traffic/Crowds : Low

Best Time to Visit : Autumn and Spring

Permit Costs : None


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