My Guide To Orange County, CaliforniaOriginally published on June, 11th 2019. Last updated on July, 21st 2020
When I’m not in the kitchen creating magical recipes and goodies, I’m out exploring the world! However, when I’m out and about, I’m passionate about finding places that resonate with my lifestyle (organic farm-to-table restaurants, mindful movement wellness classes, local farmers markets, etc.).
I figured Laguna Beach, California would be the best place to start. It is My Tiny Laguna Kitchen, isn’t it? It also has some of my favorite spots in all of Orange County along with beautiful coastal views, local hikes, and an amazing farmers market every Saturday morning.
Food & Drink
- Active Culture: Offers a variety of vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. From coconut-based smoothies, acai bowls, soft-serve yogurt, to salads to sandwiches there’s something for everyone here!
- La Sirena: By far the best Mexican restaurant in all the land! They serve organic ingredients and well-sourced meats and seafood. They have two locations, one in downtown Laguna & the other in South Laguna. My favorite by far is the blackened salmon salad!
- Project Juice: Bottled fresh organic juices, made to order smoothies, paleo waffles, avocado toast, & warm adaptogenic lattes. I love their paleo waffles and fresh smoothies!
Laguna Beach Farmers Market: Every Saturday Morning 8-12pm. The Laguna Beach farmers market is incredible! Every Saturday the local vendors come stocked with the freshest veggies, meats, seafood, and other treats. We try to go every Saturday and it’s where we source most of our food from. With so many vendors to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down to our favorite vendors. I figured I’d list the ones that we source most of our food and goodies for the week from!
- Blessed Booch Kombucha: For handmade, handcrafted, incredible Kombucha, this is the place! Christy uses seasonal & local ingredients in all of her small-batch kombuchas and offers a variety of different flavors, each one outstanding experience! All of the kombuchas are infused with herbs & superfoods. She offers the most amazing spread of kombuchas, all locally made here in Orange County.
- Shakti Bars: This stand offers health Ayurvedic herbs, teas, & wholefood snack bars. We usually stock up on the snack bars since they are healthy, filling, taste amazing and are good on the go!
- Da-le Ranch: For local, organic, top of the line meats, Da-le Ranch has you covered. They offer a super wide variety of different meats, cuts, and sausages. All of their meat is sustainably sourced and doesn’t include any added hormones. One of our favorites is the turkey breakfast sausage and it is absolutely amazing!
- Ray’s Ranch Farm Stand: We get all of our organic vegetables from here. Each Saturday, they bring the freshest organic vegetables to the market. Whatever is in season, you can find here along with the best eggs I’ve ever tried. If you are interested in locally sourced honey, they have a wide spread of honey as well from different types of plants.
- The Ecology Center: Organic & beautifully locally grown fruits and vegetables. If you can’t make it to their farm stand in San Juan Capistrano, you can buy them directly here or we love to subscribe to their weekly farm share box.
- Brodino Bone Broth: While Dan gets his morning coffee in, I’m all about my Saturday morning Bone Broth. Brodino offers some of the best chicken bone broths that I’ve come around. He usually has a soup of the week as well which is always a home run.
- Seas Greens: Sea Greens sells the most magical organic microgreens, that I love to throw on any salad or entree.
- Karma Yoga In The Park: Every day at the park near the Montage at 10 AM! It is a donation-based yoga class with a recommended donation of $15/class. Come for a wonderful class and absolutely stunning views!
- Yoga at the Whale: Another yoga class every day here at 9:15 AM. This also a donation-based class and provides views from a different side of Laguna!
- Top of the World Hike: The most popular hike in Laguna Beach offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding Orange County. There are numerous trails that are off the beaten path that are connected to this trail if you are looking for extra adventure.
- Valido Trail Hike: This hike is very steep and strenuous but it has a beautiful 360 view of Laguna Beach, CA.
- ROOTS: Known for their non-toxic makeup, and skincare products to buy as well as a hair and brow salon. We love to go here to find new & safe brands, to fall in love with.
- The Flower Stand: The most stunning flowers all hand-selected in Laguna Beach. This place is absolutely adorable and I find most of the flowers featured in my food photography here!
Now it’s time to head a little bit south of Laguna to another small coastal town, Dana Point. There is a wide variety of yoga studios, organic restaurants and wellness centers in this beautiful coastal community.
- Dharma Yoga House: A community donation-based yoga studio, filled with a variety of classes for all levels. The classes they offer range from meditation, kundalini, teen circles, vinyasa, gentle yoga, and so much more. They also offer the most lovely workshops, & community events. You will feel all of the positive vibes and find a yoga class that works best for any practice!
- GritCycle: One of the most intense spin classes I’ve ever participated in. It’s filled with positive & friendly energy, has the best music, & choreography. It is hands down the best spin class we have ever been too!
- Dana Point Headlands Conservation: Is a simple, and relaxing trails with amazing sunset views, the trail in the spring is filled with flowers, & nature.
Food & Drink
- Bear Coast: If you are a coffee or Matcha lover, Bear Coast has you covered. They have an amazing Matcha that’s made with homemade almond milk. They offer a lot of different lattes and coffee options as well that can be made with homemade almond milk.
- Organic Tree Juice Bar: This is the place to go for cold-pressed ORGANIC juices, homemade almond milk, adaptogen lattes, teas, delicious organic homemade salads, avocado toasts (with homegrown edible flowers), sandwiches, and locally made snacks.* Organic Tree is not only a hot spot for Dana Point but is also a go-to for the rest of Orange County. The salads here are literally works of art!
- Dr. Xu is my personal acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. Dr. Xu is a wizard in acupuncture. Along with his service, he includes acupuncture and cupping for a very affordable price.
One of the five Lagunas in Orange County, Laguna Niguel offers scenic hikes, a variety of wellness studios and a wonderful farmers market. Just south and slightly inland from Laguna Beach, we end up making a few trips here every week for their wonderful yoga classes.
- The Renaissance: A beautiful fitness center that comes equipped with a sauna, a pool, and opportunity for some of the best massage and facials available in Orange County. If you are interested in a massage or facial make sure to ask for Dianna Healy, she is the absolute best!
- You and The Mat: Tucked in next to the Whole Foods market is one of the most beautiful yoga studios in the OC. The studio itself is filled with sun and art designed around yoga. They offer a variety of classes from kundalini to slow flow to yoga ball classes. I hit up the roller ball class in the morning as much as possible!
So instead of heading south from Laguna, next stop is taking the beautiful Highway 1 up the coast to Newport Beach. Which, if I was sharing gorgeous drives, this would definitely be one of them! Newport Beach offers a slightly more urban vibe than Laguna but is still stock full of healthy food, organic restaurants, and mindful classes.
Food & Drink
- Babette’s: A locally sourced, sustainable, and organic menu that is out of this world! I’d recommend going here for a fancy brunch or dinner. If you are on the go, I’d call in to order to go for a quick meal. I personally love to order the 3 egg omelet.
- Provenance: A slightly fancier setting that offers locally sourced, seasonal dishes. Besides the amazing food, the ambiance is incredible. They have a huge garden surrounding the outside seating area. Make sure to order the stunning vegetable platters. The vibrant colors are a feast for the eyes!
- True Food Kitchen: This restaurant is a staple in our lifestyle! Their name says it all. The food is true and is locally and sustainably sourced. One of my favorites here is the Panang Curry bowl (if it is in season).
- Unity Skin + Wellness: Go here for the most amazing facial treatments including Gua Sha! Ona uses 100% nontoxic skincare from Laurel. I have personally gone to her, and the whole experience was heaven on earth.
- Perspire: This is pretty unique, it’s an infrared sauna studio where you can rent a top of the line sauna for a time slot and enjoy all of the benefits! Perspire is always clean, with great customer service, and you can even watch Netflix or listen to any music in the sauna if you so desire.
- Ekam Yoga: A beautiful, calming yoga studio right off of the Pacific Coast Highway. They offer a variety of classes including a few more challenging ones that are sure to enhance your yoga practice!
- Crystal Cove State Beach: Crystal Cove is absolutely gorgeous. It’s right on the coast and offers hiking and walking opportunities for all skill sets. If you like to walk right on one of the most picturesque beaches in Orange County, you can! There are also paved walking trails above the ocean where you can roam for a couple of miles and experience the great outdoors!
If you are inland Orange County, there is still a lot of magic to be found! The largest city in Orange County, Santa Ana, has a few very unique places that make it stand out on this list.
- Kundalini House of Ram Das: One of the most unique yoga studios I’ve ever been to. It’s run by brothers and is literally a house you go to practice Kundalini yoga. When you show up, the class is $13 and usually lasts an hour and a half to two hours. Afterward is the most amazing dinner and world-famous yogi cookies. These cookies are absolutely incredible and really add to the experience!
Food & Drink
- Electric City Butcher: Some of the finest meats in the area! It’s hard to find such sustainable, well-sourced meats outside of a farmers market. They offer amazing cuts, different sausages, and even classes on how to use their meats!
San Clemente is as far south as you can go in Orange County and has a lot to offer. There are beautiful walking trails and restaurants to check out.
Food & Drink
- Active Culture: Similar to the one in Laguna Beach, Active Culture offers healthy bowls, frozen yogurts, all organic and delicious! You can find something here for everyone.
- Bearcoast Coffee: The original Bear coast coffee is found right on the coast in San Clemente. My favorite drink here is the matcha with their homemade almond milk. If you are a coffee drinker they have a lavender latte that you can sub in the homemade almond milk as well!
- San Clemente Beach Trail: By far my favorite trail in San Clemente. It follows the beach for about 2 miles and has a paved path. It’s beautiful at sunset and super peaceful to walk along.
- EPIC yoga: New to the San Clemente yoga scene, epic yoga has a wide variety of classes and an area for kids to play while you practice. An exceptional group of teachers at this studio makes each class memorable and spiritual.
- Happy Supplements: Carries only the best in modern vitamins, supplements, bath & body care, coffees, teas, and CBD. A very new store but definitely worth the trip!
Irvine is right in the heart of Orange County. You are surrounded by hills and mountains on both sides. The farmers market is also the biggest one I’ve been to in Orange County so there are lots to check out!
- GritCycle: If you are off of the coast and a little farther inland, this Grit Cycle offers the same excellent workout, heart pumping music, and intense workout. I love Grit Cycle and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good spin class.
- RA yoga: Located at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center, this is one of my all-time favorite yoga studios. It’s super calming, you get an amazing class, and the vibe is incredible. Irvine spectrum has something for the whole family so if you want to get a class in while everyone else shops, or grabs a bite to eat, it’s really easy to do at the Irvine Spectrum location.
Food & Drink
- Whole Foods Market: We had to add at least 1 of the many Whole Foods Markets available in Orange County, so I figured we’d add the one at Irvine Spectrum Center. It’s one of the bigger Whole Foods Markets in the area and has a nice restaurant where you can get a variety of healthy options!
This is by far the largest farmers market in Orange County. It’s located at Mariners Church and is held on Saturdays from 8 AM – 12 PM.
- Buy Ranch Direct: By far the top source for Bison meat in Orange County. The farmers market is stock full of all of their meat options. All meat is grass fed, grass finished and organic from a community of farmers in Northern California. If you like bison, try one of their bison ribeyes, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
- Meet The Source: A raw desserts company that only sells well sourced, raw dessert items. You can pick up some of their famous bliss balls at the farmers market or pick up any of their custom ordered cakes or other items.
- Superfood & Company: Absolutely amazing kefir waters that are 100% sugar-free. They are infused with superfoods and fruits and are perfect for a warm day. We are stoked that they are selling at the Irvine Farmers market!
- Tina’s Garden: Sells the most adorable, and enchanting FAIRY Gardens! you can buy them all put together or you can purchase all the magical tools, and supplies you would need to build one for yourself.
On the far northern side of Orange County, just east of Newport lies a much more urban vibe town called Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa is very unique in the fact that they have a wide variety of amazing restaurants and wellness centers.
Food & Drink
- Fermentation Farm: Definitely one of my favorite places on this list. It’s a store that specializes in different fermented foods. They have bone broths, jun teas, kombuchas, sauerkraut, dressings, kefirs, you name it. Everything here is incredible and extremely gut healthy. If you couldn’t make the Irvine Farmers Market, you can also pick up your Buy Ranch Direct meat here.
- The Water Brewery: When looking for the best, most magical waters check out the Water Brewery. The water brewery provides alkaline, crystal-infused water that nourishes and hydrates, unlike any water I’ve tried before. The location on Victoria avenue also has a cafe and sells treats and drinks.
- Mother’s Market: If you are looking for organic, healthy groceries, Mother’s Market has you covered. You can find healthy options that fit pretty much any lifestyle. In the market, they have an amazing juice bar and even a kitchen where you can grab a bite to eat.
- Portola Coffee: Portola Coffee is one of the best coffee locations in Orange County and offers an amazing Matcha. They were the 2015 roaster of the year so if you are hunting down specialty coffee, this would be my recommendation to stop. They have alternative milk to fit any lifestyle.
- Nourish Cafe: A new restaurant that just opened in Costa Mesa. They offer nourishing Ayurveda meals and drinks. All meals are organic and perfect for lunch after hitting up a yoga class!
- GritCycle: Another location for my favorite spin class! It’s always good to have multiple options if you are looking to work out in Orange County because sometimes, due to traffic, places are hard to get to!
- RA yoga: This is the original Ra Yoga! Located in the heart of Costa Mesa, Ra Yoga offers a variety of different yoga classes. I personally love the vibe of Ra Yoga and would recommend it to anyone who can attend. I feel a wonderful workout after each class.
- UCI Susan Samuli Center: This center has an amazing network of holistic healing doctors such as naturopaths, bio-feedback practitioners, and meditation specialists. I see a naturopath through this center and the service has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve learned a lot about digestive health and what is good for my body. Anyone who is experiencing health issues or want to learn more, I’d highly recommend this center.
- Behind The Lids: Behind the lids is an amazing community of yogis, healers, and wellness individuals. They offer classes and workshops and a rich community that holds something for everyone. There is a meditation center, yoga classes, sound baths, kundalini, etc. It’s an amazing environment and highly recommended to check out.
San Juan Capistrano
Last but not least, we are heading back to south-central Orange County to San Juan Capistrano. San Juan Capistrano is a smaller city with beautiful hills and hiking areas along with a few unique places to check out!
- The Ecology Center: A non-profit farm located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano. At the Ecology Center, you can find classes on sustainable living, a variety of events where you can tour the farm and pick your own strawberries, and you can even shop their delicious produce! It’s a nice oasis in the suburban feel of Orange County and you can see how food is grown and get involved!
- The Plant Depot: Plants for me are a huge part of my wellness life, whether they are herbs, edible flowers, or just beautiful plants to look at. I always purchase my plants from the Plant Depot. They offer an amazing selection with affordable prices and super knowledgable staff.
- Las Ramblas Hiking Trail: The Las Ramblas hiking trail is a beautiful hike in the hills of San Juan Capistrano. As you hike, you loop around the hill and get a stunning view of the ocean off in the distance. During the springtime, the hills are flowing green and flowers are abundant. Definitely a hidden gem for hiking in Orange County!
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Orange County whether you are living here or visiting. If you have a favorite spot, I’d love to hear about it! Just send me a link in the comments section below! xoxoxoxo
*All photography is copyrighted & my own unless otherwise stated.*