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Reviewed on 4 Aug. 2020
Visitors to sunny Orange County, tucked up against the Santa Ana Mountains in the south-west of the US, can be sure of getting their money's worth. You don't just get one fun-filled Californian city, but three. You also get a host of world-class theme parks (Disneyland being top of the pile), and three of the West Coast's best-loved beaches. That isn't a bad motivational checklist to encourage you to head to one of Greater LA's most exclusive areas.
There's more to be indulged in here, though, than just the Magic Kingdom, surfing and high-class retail therapy. To the south and east, Orange County rises into a series of hills, and here, adventure and exploration beckon. Rock climbing, hiking, biking and horse-trekking are all on the menu, as is a healthy dose of California sunshine. In a county with so much going on, you can be sure that there are hotel options to suit every sort of stay, too. And, here at Expedia.co.nz, we have the inside track on the best of Orange County's hotel districts.
Inevitably, the busiest hoteliers are found around the city of Anaheim, to the north of the county. That's because this is where Walt Disney set up his wonderland theme park. Now more than 100 hotels lie within striking distance of the Disneyland dream. They are a diverse bunch, naturally leaning towards family-friendly. Most are middle to lower priced hotels, most with excellent facilities and that superb SoCal welcome.
There is also a good choice of business-class hotels here – Anaheim is a major convention centre. It turns out that Disneyland isn't the only theme park in town, either. In neighbouring Buena Park, one of America's best-kept secrets – the top-ranking theme park of Knott's Berry Farm – also churns out fun. That's made Buena Park a great centre for slightly less expensive hotels, which are conveniently close to most of Orange County's big attractions. Its hotels are similar to Anaheim's, though with fewer sitting at the luxury end of the market.
Orange County's coastline has some of the best-known beaches in California. The most northerly of these is Huntington Beach, one of the premier surfing beaches. And, for those looking to catch a thrill or two, there are a host of no-frills accommodation options – from backpacker havens and motels to small boutique hotels. As well as these bargain-hunter friendly options, Huntington has its share of better class, upmarket hotels, too.
There's a much more luxury feel to the hotels of Newport Beach, a little further down the coast. This district is the very definition of affluence (it's where "The OC" TV series was based). But there are also some mid-priced lodgings to be found here. Look out for these along the sea-facing Balboa Boulevard.
Finally, furthest south – just as the San Joaquin Hills start to climb – you'll find Laguna Beach. Where Newport is plush but accessible, Laguna Beach is refined and exclusive. This area has some beautiful little beaches and great cliff-top vistas, and is a hub for Orange County's artistic community. It also has some fabulous resorts, and wonderfully set hotels that are just brimming with character. A great place to get away from Orange County's fun-filled tumult – if your pockets are deep enough.