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Orange County is just as the movies and TV shows portray it: full of sandy shores, long boardwalks, surfers and a general sense of California-style cool. That said, it has all of the outdoor charm to be considered one of the more romantic, ritzy vacation spots around. Here’s our list of the five best things to do with that special someone:
1. Main Beach. You can’t visit a city like Laguna Beach without sinking your toes into some sand and catching a few rays. Once the sun sets at Main Beach, located right in the middle of downtown Laguna, head for the boardwalk, where you’ll likely run into countless couples strolling hand in hand. A picture-perfect sunset, long boardwalk and the coastline make for quite possibly the most perfect setting for a date.
2. Huntington Beach Pier. Similarly, the Huntington Beach Pier is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, however, there’s more to do than go for a dip or walk down the boardwalk. Shops, restaurants, farmers markets and street performers can be found any time of the day or night at the pier. Check out the surfers and the locals fishing, or take a ride on the lovely bike path along the shoreline. Whichever you choose to do, your time at the pier is best spent with your special someone.
3. Catalina Island. Though it doesn’t have the white sand and blue-green water of typical island vacation spots, it has a charm of its own. So while it may not be a sunbathing mecca, Catalina’s warm, clear water (with temperatures in the mid to high 60s) and scenery make it ideal for kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. Two major companies offer tours of the island: Santa Catalina Island Company Discovery Tours and Catalina Adventure Tours.
4. Segerstrom Center. What was previously known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center is now Segerstrom Center. What hasn’t changed, though, is its unwavering 25-year-long commitment to the arts. The center continues to put on national and international music, dance and theater productions of high quality caliber, booking acts such as San Francisco Ballet and West Side Story. A night at the theatre followed by some fine dining will undoubtedly impress.
5. Dinner for two. Fine dining with views of the water makes for the perfect dinner date. Studio restaurant in the Montage Laguna Beach is a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its menu features contemporary California cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients. Or try Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, which also has big-picture windows with a stunning view of the ocean at Salt Creek Beach. Headed by acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval with chef de cuisine Greg Howe at the helm features pan-Latin coastal cuisine using sustainable seafood, local produce, grass fed meats and vibrant Latin flavors.
1. Stop by the concierge at The Resort at Pelican Hill for a list of the “Top 10 Places to Kiss” around the Resort. The list reveals sunset viewpoints and cozy alcoves, where couples can make romantic memories together.
2. Visit The Spa at Pelican Hill for a couples’ massage and romantic bath in the luxurious couples’ suite. The Spa also offers 25 complimentary fitness classes weekly, a daily beach hike and Acqua Colonnades with Roman soaking tubs, saunas and steam rooms. After you unwind, get ready for a romantic evening out in the full-service salon and barber lounge.
3. Andrea, the signature restaurant of The Resort at Pelican Hill, has the most romantic ambiance with its ocean views, heated terrace, live guitarist, fine Italian wines and authentic Northern Italian cuisine created by Michelin-starred Chef Luigi Fineo. It is one of America’s Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants according to GAYOT and Southern California’s Most Romantic Restaurant according to Los Angeles Times readers.
4. Stay in a spacious Bungalow guest room or suite at The Resort at Pelican Hill. The limestone fireplace and deep-soaking tub set a romantic mood, while the 24-hour in-room dining makes a Bungalow very convenient for couples looking to hide away.
5. Make a memorable marriage proposal, with a custom chef-crafted dinner for two in a private, candle-lit, luxury cabana suite overlooking the Coliseum Pool, one of the world’s largest circular pools. An intimate and sensual dining experience, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s “Dinner of the Senses” stimulates each of the five senses of sight, touch, taste, scent and sound. A five-course menu, served alongside paired wines, is eaten by hand without the use of utensils, tapping into the desire to nourish one another and share cherished moments together.