With its tropical flowers and palm trees, the stretch of coast between Seal Beach and San Clemente is often called the California Riviera. Exclusive Newport Beach, artsy Laguna, and the surf town of Huntington Beach are the stars, but lesser-known gems on the glistening coast—such as Corona del Mar—are also worth visiting. Offshore, meanwhile, lies gorgeous Catalina Island, a terrific spot for diving, snorkeling, and hiking.Few of the citrus groves that gave Orange County its name remain. This region south and east of Los Angeles is now ruled by tourism and high-tech business instead of farmers. Despite a building boom that began in the 1990s, the area is still a place to find wilderness trails, canyons, greenbelts, and natural environs. And just offshore, is a deep-water wilderness that’s possible to explore via daily whale-watching excursions.
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Things You Can't Miss
See why Southern California is famed for its beach life at Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and other hip coastal hangouts.
Robert Harding World Imagery / Alamy
Relive a turbulent time in American history at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, where the 37th president was born.
There’s no gambling at the Catalina Casino — instead, the iconic building includes a ballroom, theater, museum and fabulous Art Deco murals.
Grab a mask and enjoy some of California’s best snorkeling at Lover’s Cove, where you may see colorful fish, sea stars, octopuses and moray eels.
Aurora Photos / Alamy
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