At BinkyBro, we live by surf / snow / skate. With summer around the corner, we’re packing up our cold-weather snow gear and setting our sights to the West Coast. (Best coast??) Few places epitomize surfing culture more than Orange County, California. And there are few places with more easily accessible family-friendly beaches for the groms to learn to surf. But what are the best OC beaches for families?

Whether you’re an OC local or you’re headed there this summer for the surf, sand, (and maybe Disneyland while you’re at it), hit up these top Orange County beaches for kids and families. We’ll start south and work our way north up the PCH.

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1. Doheny State Beach, Dana Point
 
Named after an oil tycoon, Doheny State Beach was California's first state beach. It is also one of its most popular because of its day use as a surfing beach with a robust surfing history and community. It’s also popular because of its southern-end campgrounds with some sites that are just steps away from the beach. This beach is popular for families with kids because of the tide pools and a visitor’s center with an aquarium on site.


Salt Creek Beach Park, Dana Point
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With an expansive lawn and cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there’s not a prettier beach in the OC. But even more than a ‘Grammable locale, Salt Creek Beach Park in southern Orange County has some of the best surfing along the coastline because of an offshore reef.

Your kids will love the protected tidepools and the large beach, perfect for setting up shop for the day. Parking is a breeze with a large parking lot—you can even pay a few extra bucks to take a tram directly down to the beach if you’re not up for the schlep. No trip to southern Orange County is complete without a stop here.

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3. Baby Beach, Dana Point
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Also in Dana Point is paddleboarding oasis (and aptly named), Baby Beach. This beach gets its name because with its serene waters and soft sand, it’s the perfect for the youngest of BinkyBros and BinkyBabes. This southern Orange County spot has views of Dana Point Harbor, iconic West Coast cliffs, and picnic shelters for an easy beach day with the fam.

4. Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach
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This California state park is encompassses 3.2 miles of protected Pacific coastline. It’s  a short drive north of Dana Point on PCH toward Newport Harbor. There are actually four different beaches in the park that each have their own vibe.

The draw to Crystal Cove isn’t just the wide, sandy beaches, but the unique campsites and backcountry wilderness. Your visit to Crystal Cove State Park could be a day at the beach or a weekend camping adventure.

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5. Little Corona del Mar Beach, Newport Beach
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Also known as Poppy Avenue Beach to locals, the walk to this beach does not have any stair steps, which makes it wagon and stroller-friendly—a must for families with kids. Even better is there is a public restroom. (Can I get an Amen?!)

Little Corona is protected by cliffs and rocky reefs that make this a relaxing place for parents who don’t want to worry about strong waves and surf. A bonus is that this protected beach is one of the best spots for diving and snorkeling. Buoys keep the water free from boats and jetskis to protect the reef, snorkelers, and little swimmers.

No matter which OC beach you explore—or heck, why not all of ‘em?—keep your babes covered and cool with the right gear. Our wide-brimmed Barney Patrol sun hat is a beach classic that will keep the sun off their hats and shoulders. They’ll play all day in comfort wearing our Tamarindo sunglasses in polarized wayfarer-style Citrus or a gender-neutral, blacked-out round shape.

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Beach on, BinkyFam.

May 18, 2022 — Matthew Fisler