Destination Highlight

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

The Heart of Southern California: Orange County

BY BRITTANY ANAS
Located in the heart of Southern California, Orange County is home to surf beaches, scenic seaside resorts, golf courses galore, luxury shops, and, of course, one famous resident: Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney put Anaheim on the map as the "Happiest Place on Earth" when he dreamed up Disneyland and debuted the famous theme park here in 1955. Factor in Knott's Berry Farm and the Ferris wheel on Balboa Peninsula, and the OC packs a lot of thrill per capita. Plus, coastal cities strung along the Pacific Coast each exude their own personalities. Giving visitors a dose of California cool is the pier in Huntington Beach, AKA "Surf City USA," tidal pools and craggy coastline that inspire artists in Laguna Beach, and whales that make frequent cameos off the shores of Newport Beach. Tucked between Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County strikes a just-right balance of adventure and relaxation. The views of the Pacific Ocean are an added perk.

Why Orange County?

  • Year-round temperatures average 75 degrees.
  • One hour south of Los Angeles, one hour north of San Diego with three airports in the area: John Wayne, LAX and Long Beach.
  • Meeting-goers have plenty to do and see as the OC boasts 42 miles of coastline, plus stadiums, concert venues, breweries, wineries, and excursions like behind-the-scenes Disneyland tours and luxury harbor cruises.
  • Three dozen golf courses.

What’s new in Orange County?

  • The Anaheim Convention Center expanded in 2017 and now has more than 1 million square feet, which now makes it the largest convention center on the west coast of the United States.
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an ambitious and immersive experience, opened at Disneyland in January 2020. Disney also debuted its Avenger Campus at Disney California Adventure.
  • SteelCraft Garden Grove, a food hall built in repurposed cargo containers, opened in Garden Grove.
  • Anaheim is making a name for itself on the craft beer scene, with 20 breweries and the arrival of Modern Times' Leisuretown, which is a brewery, restaurant and swim club.
See
Newport Harbor

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Newport Harbor

Explore Newport Harbor by renting a paddleboard or kayak. Or, for a unique experience, opt for a "dock and dine" option that lets you drive an electric Duffy Boat, arrive by dock and eat at a famed restaurant like Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, a former seafood canning facility. For more scenic views, rent a beach cruiser and enjoy picturesque views of Balboa Island. To really get this right, make a stop for a frozen banana, a sweet treat that's native to Newport Beach.

Pacific City

The newest development in Huntington Beach, Pacific City has brought an elevated beach vibe with dining and retail offerings. For an authentic experience here in "Surf City USA," take a surf lesson and finish off the day with a milkshake from Ruby's Diner on the pier as the sun sets into the Pacific Ocean.

Sawdust Festival

Laguna Beach has been a known haven for artists since the 1900s. Get an authentic feel for the artisan spirit that thrives here with a visit to the Sawdust Festival, where hometown artists and craftsman sell their creations and teach hands-on classes in open-air galleries. If you're visiting in the summer, check out the Pageant of the Masters, a unique performance that brings famous works of art to life on the stage.

For more activities and ideas contact Global DMC Partners

Do
Parasail at Dana Point Harbor

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Parasail at Dana Point Harbor

Intrepid types, head to Dana Point for a day of parasailing. While you're soaring 800 feet in the air, you'll be treated to stunning views of Doheny State Beach and the coastline.

Visit an OC farm

You know the OC for its beaches. But, Orange County was once an agricultural epicenter and is still home to farms and orchards. Visit The Original Manassero Farms Irvine Market, which offers cooking classes, and has a pick-your-own herb garden as well as a market with jams, jellies, honeys and handmade soaps,  lotions and other artisan goods.

Taste wine at McClain Cellars

Get a sample of the Orange County wine scene by enjoying a new vino experience at McClain Cellars, a hip, industrial outpost  in Laguna Beach. McClain Cellars' harvests and makes its wine in the Santa Ynez Valley and then brings it to the OC where you can sip it on a shaded patio while enjoying a cheese and charcuterie board.

For more activities and ideas contact Global DMC Partners

Eat
Broadway

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Broadway

Top Chef Amar Santana is one of OC's local culinary stars and his Laguna Beach restaurant Broadway is inspired by the theaters in New York City, with the kitchen at the center stage. Local farms supply ingredients for Santana's seasonal menus, which feature American cuisine rooted in French culinary techniques.

Four Sons Brewing

Sample the Orange County craft beer scene in Huntington Beach at Four Sons Brewing, a family run brewery in the Pacific City Lot 579 development. The taps run the gamut from light lagers to funky sours to IPAs.

Nobu

Enjoy sushi and inventive cocktails at Nobu, which is located in Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach. Before your reservation, cruise the harbor on an electric boat or shop the boutiques

For more activities and ideas contact Global DMC Partners

Stay/Meet

Orange County's cities each possess their own personalities and the hotels here in Southern California  reflect those distinctions. Hotel Irvine has an energetic and contemporary vibe, with thoughtful amenities built with today's traveler and meeting planner in mind. In Huntington Beach, luxury meets laid-back at Paséa Hotel & Spa where live music often sets a soundtrack. Those staying in Newport Beach can experience OC opulence in a number of ways, whether it's boarding a yacht outside of Balboa Bay Resort, playing golf parallel to the Pacific Ocean at The Resort at Pelican Hill  or being within walking distance of luxury shops when staying at Fashion Island Hotel Newport Beach. Prime coastal estate and panoramic ocean views are perks at resorts like Laguna Beach Surf & Sand Resort and Dana Point Monarch Beach Resort, which has its own private beach.

Balboa Bay Resort

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Balboa Bay Resort

Balboa Bay Resort is a luxe waterfront resort with Mediterreanean-inspired architecture that sprawls out for 15 acres, sharing Newport Bay with palatial yachts. The resort exudes a casual but elegant vibe and offers 18,660 square feet of meeting space. For a unique "wow factor," reserve a sunset ride on The Ambassador, a custom-built luxury yacht that can accommodate 150 guests on its three decks and that serves as the resort's floating event space.

Fashion Island Hotel Newport Beach

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Fashion Island Hotel Newport Beach

Floor-to-ceiling windows at Fashion Island Hotel show off coastal and harbor views. The 295-room, 20-story hotel has a fine whiskey program, is steps away from Fashion Island stores and has a resort-style pool. The hotel offers 23,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.

The Resort at Pelican Hill

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Italian-inspired architecture and Pacific views define this 332-room luxury resort which has residential-style bungalows and villas among its offerings. Stunning amenities here include a circular Colosseum Pool that's 136 feet in diameter with mosaic tiles at the bottom and two 18-hole Tom Fazio designed golf courses. In all, the resort boasts 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

Laguna Beach Surf & Sand Resort

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Laguna Beach Surf & Sand Resort

Ideally situated along the Laguna Beach shore, this 167-room resort has a seaside pool, posh cabanas and panoramic ocean views. With a Mediterranean feel, the hotel offers 10,000 square feet of meeting space including a conference center with an elevated oceanfront terrace, a ballroom and several board rooms. Coffee breaks on the beach are a perk.

Paséa Hotel & Spa

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Paséa Hotel & Spa

A hip oasis in Huntington Beach, Paséa Hotel & Spa is a 250-room hotel with a luxe "treehouse"-inspired rooftop lounge, live music, and beach butlers. The pet-friendly hotel has 1,100 square-foot dog park and offers pet sitting. The hotel offers 35,000 square feet of meeting space, including an event lawn with oceanfront fire pits.

Dana Point Monarch Beach Resort

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF GLOBAL DMC PARTNERS

Dana Point Monarch Beach Resort

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this sprawling 175-acre luxury resort has a private beach club, oceanfront golf links, a spa, gorgeous pools and infinity edge whirlpool spas. Dana Point Monarch Beach Resort offers more than 30,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and has 80,000 square feet of lush outdoor space. The resort offers more than 40 weekly fitness, yoga and meditation classes and can customize team-building activities.


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