October 14, 2016

Best Beaches: Top beaches for photography in and around Orange County

California travel guide best Orange County beaches for photography
Photography is one of the most popular hobbies and professions in Orange County, and it is easy to see why! With its crystal clear shores, and breathtaking sunsets, Orange County offers opportunity for any photography endeavor, but how to narrow the endless list of beach photography options down? Whether you are searching for the best place for your family vacation photography, working on your professional list of photography options, or simply wanting some ideas of things to do in Orange County, we have complied our list of the top Southern California beaches for photography in Orange County!

1. Thousand Steps Beach
Located in off Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, Thousand Steps Beach offers an intimate environment, clean shores, clear water, and plenty of photo opportunities. After working hard to arrive at the bottom of what seems to be ‘one thousand steps’, Thousand Steps feels private and serene. It is the perfect place to snap sunset photos, and is a popular spot for engagement photos with its shining waters, and variety of settings from stretches of sand, to rugged coastal rocks, to romantic coves. If you plan to have a photo shoot at Thousand Steps, however, be sure to pack light and easy clothing. The bathroom is fairly small, and the walk is known to be long!

P.S. Need a little more info about Laguna Beach? Take a look at our Laguna Beach page to learn more about this awesome California beach town.

2. Table Rock Beach
Want the intimate environment of Thousand Steps, but don’t want to climb all those stairs? Table Rock Beach in Laguna Beach may be the photography location for you! Table Rock’s wooden stair pathway leads to a plethora of wildlife, from stingrays to starfish, making it a fun location for family photos, or nature photography. One visitor even called it a ‘little cove of paradise’! Surrounding rocks, caves, and clear water make Table Rock the perfect place for daytime or sunset photos. Check out California Holiday packages offered by some photographers, our let us put  your in touch with our professional beach photographer to plan the perfect family California vacation photos at this Laguna Beach vacation destination. Note that parking is sparse for this hidden gem, so make sure to leave time to find street parking and allow for walking.

3. Dana Point Harbor
Historically known as ‘Killer Dana’, a surfing spot for the most advanced surfers until the its ‘killer’ waves subsided; Dana Point Harbor is known for its romantic environment and abundance of boat-filled scenery. If you are looking for a place to snap pictures of a lived-in beach community, or if you love the nautical ambiance of docked boats, Dana Point Harbor may be for you.

Remaining one of the most popular things to do in Dana Point , people of all ages make an effort to visit Dana Point Harbor. Families can often be seen enjoying the relaxed nature of Baby Beach, a sub-area of Dana Point, and couples can be found snacking on ice cream or relaxing on the breezy shores. Dana Point is one of our picks for fun family photos—with a comfortable feeling and plenty of different environments to shoot in. If you have a waterproof camera you can even get some unique shots kayaking or paddle boarding!

Dana Point Harbor can become fairly crowded during the weekend, so be sure to plan for photography during the week for the most opportunity for fuss-free photos. And if you really love the harbor and getting out on the water, check out our Harbor Point Cottage vacation rental . This Dana Point vacation rental is near the harbor and includes a reserved  harbor parking spot and two kayaks!

4. Salt Creek Beach
Also located in Dana Point , the home of many beautiful Orange County beaches, Salt Creek Beach is known for its convenience, beauty, and picturesque scenery. Park for $1 an hour, and hike up Salt Creek’s trails for a stunning view of the coastline, or settle on the beach for a day of relaxation. For the photographer, we recommend Salt Creek because it offers both natural environments, as well as more industrialized beachside scenery. Salt Creek offers many spots for family photos, graduation photos, portraits, or just a fun location for the photo hobbyist.

5. Inspiration Point
One of the most popular things to do in Newport Beach is to visit Inspiration Point . Appropriately named, Inspiration Point, located in the Corona Del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach , provides some of the most beautiful views in all of Orange County. Inspiration Point has become a popular place to enjoy a beach hike, spend time with friends and family, and take photographs. Many photographers in Newport Beach--professionals and amateurs alike—have enjoyed the stunning views of Inspiration Point, overlooking the whole of Newport Beach. For the scenic photographer, or for intimate family or engagement photos, Inspiration Point is always a stellar choice.

6. Huntington Beach Pier
Known for its iconic pier and famous beach vibes, Huntington Beach is not only a premium spot for California vacations, but also a popular spot for photography. Plenty of visitors make a trip to Huntington Beach to photograph the stunning sunset views, or take family photos on Main Street and the underpass of the pier. Huntington Beach’s eclectic nature also offers a variety of environments for both scenic photos and portraits.

7. Santa Monica Pier
Speaking of Southern California piers, we cannot forget to mention Santa Monica Pier . Even though it's a significant drive from Orange County, we had to include Santa Monica Pier on our list of best beaches for photography. While Huntington Beach boasts a relaxed environment, and plenty of variety, Santa Monica Pier is one of local photographers’ favorite places to capture a sunset framing the famous solar powered Ferris wheel—located on the second of two piers on the historic Route 66. Located northwest of LA, Santa Monica Pier holds history in its shorelines, attracting tourists, families, romantics, and scenic photographers alike. If you are looking for the best place for a sunset photo shoot, Santa Monica Pier is for you.

Can't get enough of our Southern California beaches?
If you're not local to the OC, start planning your stay today. Beachside vacation rentals manages Southern California vacation rentals all the way from Oceanside in San Diego County to Long Beach at the southern end of LA. Give us a call at 800-408-1822 to start planning your California vacation today!

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