There was the movie Orange County, as well as the series, The O.C., Laguna Beach, and Real Housewives – the list of stories set in Orange County is endless. This gorgeous region might be considered a pitstop between LA and San Diego, but it’s home to some of the country’s most idyllic and gorgeous beaches. The jaw-dropping scenery and heavenly beaches make it one of the best vacation destinations in California. There are also some gorgeous options for a beachfront beach hotel in Orange County. What’s more, they range from luxury spa resorts with acres of manicured lawns to stunning boutique options with discerning living options on the sand.
But what makes staying at one of these places is that the sky is bluer, the pace of life is slower, and, of course, the beach beckons. To that end, here are the 11 best beachfront hotels in Orange County on the beach.
Table of contents
- Capri Laguna
- Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
- Hotel La Casa Del Camino
- Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point
- Montage Laguna Beach
- Pasea Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach
- The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach
- Lido House, Newport Beach
- Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, Dana Point
- The Inn At Laguna Beach
- Hotel Joaquin
- Our Verdict!
- Where to Stay in Orange County?
- Which beachfront resort has the best beach restaurant in Orange County?
- Which is the best beach for surfing in Orange County?
Best value for money. Capri Laguna is not just one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County, but it’s one of the best beachfront hotels in Laguna Beach, CA. This Mediterranean-inspired boutique hotel sits on the sands, so much so that you can jump off your beach view room onto the beach! It might be an older property, but you’ll have no problem staying at this charming hotel. What’s great is that all rooms either have ocean or beach views, are cozy, and come with kitchenettes, plush bedrooms, and modern bathrooms. The best rooms of the lot even have large oceanfront balconies, but all come with homey touches such as handwritten notes, fresh flowers, and coconut Hawaiian Tropic products.
Your day begins with a lovely continental breakfast that also includes Starbucks coffee. Then, head out to the beach and spend your day on the daybed. Or, you could swim in the heated outdoor pool back at the hotel, complete with poolside service. Free Wi-Fi, a business center, laundry facilities, and a fitness center wrap up the amenities here.
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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
Best chain hotel. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa might be a chain hotel, but it looks and feels nothing like one. It sits directly on the shoreline, but you’ll love that it’s a Spanish-style hotel perfect for families. Not only does it have a lagoon-style pool with water slides for the kids, but it also has a poolside service for the parents. What’s more, there’s also Camp Hyatt, which includes activities for kids aged 3-12 years. While the kids are busy with that, parents can indulge in some relaxation and pampering at the world-class celebrity-endorsed spa. There is a bevy of other amenities, including free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center, a Starbucks, five restaurants, a grocery store, and room service.
Choose from a host of spacious rooms and suites that come with Keurig coffeemakers, flatscreen TVs, free bottled water, and patios or balconies with firepits. Roasting s’mores by the fire pit is the best way to wind up the day.
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Hotel La Casa Del Camino
Best inn. Hotel La Casa Del Camino is one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County. This Spanish-style oceanview inn is perfect if you’re looking for an authentic seaside inn with an “old California” vibe and modern amenities. It’s surfer-central and has just 37 guest rooms, of which 10 were specially designed by surf companies such as Billabong, Quiksilver, and Roxy. Nevertheless, they all are stylish and comfy with laidback charm, contemporary bathrooms, and plush beds. That said, the rooftop café that overlooks the ocean is the best place on the property. Besides amazing ocean views, it also has cocktails, salads, and sandwiches. Wind up the day with a drink, live music in the lobby lounge, and dinner at the ground-floor Mediterranean bistro. Of course, the best perk is that the beach is merely steps away from your rooms.
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Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel sits perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking Dana Point, thus boasting legendary views. But, the sandy beach is easily accessible via a sloping downward path. If you don’t feel like walking, there are even free shuttles to ferry you. Choose from a host of comfy and large sea-and-sand-inspired rooms and suites, complete with private balconies and luxe bathrooms. But the beachfront rooms with coastline and ocean views are the best, especially since you can choose both rooms and suites. There are as many as six onsite restaurants, all with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. There’s even an outdoor music lounge and eatery to begin your evening revelries. Besides a golf course, the resort also has a fitness center, two fitness centers, two jacuzzis, and two pools. The highlight is the relaxing spa, which the resort is famous for.
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Montage Laguna Beach
Most luxurious. If luxury is what you’re looking for, Montage Laguna Beach is one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County. The resort offers the ultimate in pampering and luxury, whether it’s the digs or the amenities. For instance, rooms and suites have 100% goose-down pillows, 400-thread-count sheets, marble soaking tubs, and private balconies/patios, some of which even have ocean views. If you want to splurge, the suites aren’t just spacious and have fireplaces, outdoor gas grills, living areas, kitchens, lawns, and private patios.
There are plentiful options for three restaurant options to choose from, including the poolside bar and grille from where you can order food and drinks right to your daybed. A sloping walkway even leads down to the sandy beach, complete with daybeds and umbrellas for lounging there the whole day. Afternoons are best spent indulging in a salt-and-stone massage at Spa Montage.
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Pasea Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach
The Pasea Hotel & Spa just also happens to be one of the best spa hotels in Orange County. Its Balinese-inspired luxurious and opulent seaside Aarna spa has been called one of the “Top Spas in the U.S.” by American Spa Magazine. Besides the Aarna Spa, you’ll also love the rest of this Huntington beach resort. For one, this property offers stunningly serene views of the beach from just about everywhere, including the rooms, the restaurants, and the pool.
Since the beach sits right across from the hotel, you can walk down with the flip-flops and towels that the hotel provides. In fact, they even offer chair or bike rentals for those who want to lounge on the beach or explore it. There are also various activities here, such as windsurfing and hiking.
You’ll love the little touches that this hotel offers in the spacious rooms and suites. These include the likes of mini-fridges with complimentary bottles of wine, super-comfy platform beds, cozy hooded bathrobes, and balconies with alfresco seating. And, of course, the best rooms are the ocean-view ones, whether the partial view or full-view ones.
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The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach
Best family-friendly hotel. The Mediterranean-flavored Resort at Pelican Hill is one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County for families. You can rest assured that your kids will disappear for hours on end, thanks to the resort’s Camp Pelican. This veritable kids’ paradise for kids aged 4-12 years has a wide variety of activities, such as kid’s pool outings, complete with a bubble-jet fountain and a sand area. For kiddos who’re introverts, there is movie night, arts and crafts, and many books and computers. Finally, budding stars will enjoy the camp’s talent and karaoke shows.
Adults, meanwhile, will love the golf course, the five-star spa, and the Coliseum pool with hand-painted mosaic tiles. The beach might be a five-minute drive away, but the resort will gladly transport you to and fro. Rooms and suites at this resort are luxurious to boot, complete with spacious tubs, fireplaces, espresso machines, and private terraces, many with ocean views.
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Lido House, Newport Beach
For a unique seaside stay in Orange County, go for Lido House. This place seamlessly melds budget motel prices with luxurious hotel style. This charming exception of a historic hotel is all done up in Cape Cod style and has 130 comfy rooms and suites decked out in preppy nautical decor. Its location is such that it sits right on Newport Marina, while the beach is a mere 10-minute walk. If you need more space or are traveling with a larger group, there are even three-story, two-bedroom cottages. They even come with dining rooms and kitchens for whipping up meals. Downstairs, the Boost Spa has a ton of treatments for relaxation, while the saltwater pool is perfect for a swim and a lounge later. But Lido’s real calling card is the stunning ocean views you can enjoy from the restaurant, lounge, and rooftop bar.
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Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, Dana Point
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club is one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County. This Dana Point beach resort has a little bit of something for everyone. For one, it has kids and family pools and the Monarch Beach Kids club. Couples will love the Miraval Life in Balance Spa, where they can unwind and reconnect with a couple’s massage. You can lounge by one of the three pools or enjoy a beach day by requesting your “Surf Host” to arrange towers, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Aside from the golf course and the salon, the resort has as many as four restaurants and bars.
Every room and suite at this 400-room resort is spacious and modern. The resort-view rooms are simply spectacular, with king beds being the focal point, topped with plush pillows and crisp white linens printed with monarch butterflies. The subtle and soothing ocean-inspired hues like cream and sea glass give the rooms a laidback charm. The soaking tubs in the bathroom and the balconies with sea views are the cherries on top.
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The Inn At Laguna Beach
Enjoy quintessential Laguna Beach vibes at The Inn At Laguna Beach, which is perched on a bluff overlooking the beach. Imagine stepping off the property and stepping right onto the sand; that’s the hotel for you. Choose from a host of accommodations that all feature casual coastal themes. You’ll find rattan furnishings and beige hues in all of them, but the best rooms boast views of the ocean from balconies. When you want to leave your rooms and relax and unwind, the beach, with its umbrellas, daybeds, and cocktails, lies right out front. After indulging in some sandy time, head to the outdoor pool with the hot tub, where you can swim or lounge. While the inn doesn’t have a restaurant, you’ll find many dining options nearby. However, it does have an excellent rooftop terrace and bar, where it hosts a complimentary evening wine reception. The hotel also serves milk, cookies, and snacks in the lobby. How cool is that?
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Hotel Joaquin is one of the best beachfront hotels on the beach in Orange County. The chic yet gorgeous boutique beachfront property feels like St. Barths meets SoCal of the 1950s. You’ll find one-of-a-kind vintage artwork and furniture everywhere at this stylish yet eclectic property, whether it’s the common areas or the rooms. What’s more, there are just 22 individually designed rooms, which men’s staying here is a very intimate and exclusive experience. There are king beds, luxe bathrooms, and thoughtful mod-cons; some even have mesmerizing sea views. Nevertheless, all rooms have “One of the best features in the rooms is “The Road,” which is a very well-written and impressive in-room guide full of local addresses and secrets.
Downstairs, the hotel restaurant serves delicious meals, including a hearty complimentary breakfast. After that, the only place to head to is the beach, which is a two-minute walk, or the sun-kissed pool with the daybeds. Are you an adventurous person? The onsite “Adventure Outpost” has everything from snorkeling gear to kayaks for you to borrow.
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While all hotels on this list are amazing, some travelers might be looking for specific hotels to suit their needs. That’s why we’ve come up with this specialized list as well:
- Best value for money: Capri Laguna
- Best family-friendly hotel: The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach
- Best chain hotel: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
- Best inn: Hotel La Casa Del Camino
- Most luxurious: Montage Laguna Beach
Where to Stay in Orange County?
With lovely and eclectic beach towns tucked on miles of sandy coastline, Orange “OC” County is the quintessential SoCal experience. Sandwiched between Los Angeles to the north and San Diego to the south, the OC is about a casual, laid-back beach vacation. So, which beach town to stay in in Orange County?
We begin with Laguna Beach, a small but beautiful beachside city with surf culture, amazing views, and stunning beaches. What’s more, it’s home to more than 100 art galleries and events, as well as surfing events. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the best beaches in California. Secondly, there’s Newport Beach, which is another superb beach destination. It’s home to Balboa Island, which has everything from a fun zone for kids to shopping. But the scenic Corona Del Mar takes the cake, especially due to the breathtaking views along the coast.
Then there’s Dana Point, which travelers love for its stunning coastline and mild climate. What’s more, it’s a water adventure activity hub that includes boating, fishing, whale-watching, and surfing. It’s also home to many spa resorts for unwinding. San Juan Capistrano is famous for its Spanish-style architecture, and its history dates back to 1776. Its Los Rios Historic District is the oldest neighborhood in all of California. Huntington Beach, which has the moniker “Surf City,” is also home to the International Surfing Museum. It also has the longest pier on the West.
Which beachfront resort has the best beach restaurant in Orange County?
That would be the rooftop restaurant Tanner’s at the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach. The restaurant has a superb menu for drinks, breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The views are simply spectacular, but the rooftop lounge, Tanner’s Treehouse, takes it up a notch.
Which is the best beach for surfing in Orange County?
Not for nothing is Huntington known as “Surf City.” While surfing around the pier could be competitive and crowded, there are some emptier peaks around Bolsa Chica, south of the pier, and around the cliffs.
Which is the most beautiful beach in Orange County?
Nothing beats Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna Beach. It might have only 218 steps, but the name discourages tourists from thronging here. The result? A gorgeous, sandy, and relatively less-crowded beach surrounded by stunning sandstone cliffs. There are even tidepools along the shoreline. Finally, it’s open throughout the year and even allows dogs before 9 am and after 6 pm.