Orange County aerial view

14 Best Places to Live in Orange County CA

Best Places to Live in Orange County CA

Located in Southern California, Orange County has a rich diversity of lifestyle choices with plenty to see and do on its beautiful Pacific coastline, uncrowded beaches, fun theme parks, huge business centers, lively arts districts, and bustling retiree communities. It’s sometimes called “The OC” for its high-dollar living. However, it also appeals to families with lots of recreational facilities, lively downtown areas, and thriving retirement community scenes.

As a prospective resident, the main question is: where are the best places to live in Orange County? And this complete guide will tell you exactly how to investigate 14 best places to live in Orange County CA, so that you can decide fairly well where you should make your home.

14. Newport Beach

Newport Beach is one of the best places to live in Orange County CA due to its beauty. With stunning ocean views, white-sand beaches, and an upmarket lifestyle, it’s a popular choice for those seeking a high end coastal living. Properties are from grand beachfront estates to luxury apartments ranging from luxurious lofts to A-flats where residents come to experience enhanced opportunities for sailing as well as fishing out at sea. 

Its harbor, one of its largest recreational ports on the west coast in addition to providing ample opportunities for sailing along with swimming, provides its residents with tremendous chances for boating and jogging. Fashion Island allows for multi-use design strategies that accentuate Newport’s premium open air style. The city has some of its greatest schools rated tops in Orange County and the areas where residents tend to flock towards boasts safe neighborhoods which enhance the decision of moving into the area considerably.

13. Irvine

Irvine was created with a master-planned design and top-rated schools that make it a desirable place for families as well as professionals. It does not overwhelm but instead, it maintains an aura of suburban calm despite being home to tech companies and higher education institutions, including the University of California, Irvine

Neighborhoods like Turtle Rock and Woodbridge have diverse types of homes such as condos, wide-open family homes, and many more. The commitment to keeping over 16,000 acres of land as parks and dedicated open space brings a nature lifestyle rarely offered in any other urban life.

12. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is known as “Surf City USA”. It’s a laid-back town with surf culture and a growing downtown surrounding an iconic pier where visitors dine, shop, and relax at night. Eight miles of coastline wow visitors with opportunities for water sports, beach activities, evening bonfires – there’s always something to do on the beach or lake in this sunny town. The U.S. Open of Surfing brings together thousands of professional surfers, amateurs, local California champions, bystanders from other parts of the state, and spectators from other countries. 

It has a diverse housing stock of single-family homes, apartments, and beachfront properties. Besides offering world-class schools, it also boasts one of the state’s largest shopping centers and several large parks. As such, this community possesses all of the attributes needed to provide a quality living environment for its residents.

11. Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is a wonderful oasis and paradise for art lovers and nature-lovers. The city’s beauty attracts visitors, who flock to its scenic areas of coves, beaches, and buildings that frame the ocean.Laguna Beach hosts one of the country’s most popular cultural events—Pageant of the Masters—as well as the Annual Sawdust Art Festival. 

A mix of beach cottages for summers or mountain getaways are what this downtown seaside resort cities known for. Its unique shops stock all sorts of goods found in other parts of sunny Southern California, including gourmet eats and arts and crafts production facilities. The excellent school system, strong community spirit, and commitment to environmental preservation make Laguna Beach desirable.

10. Fullerton

Fullerton is a vibrant city that combines urban sophistication with the small-town charm. With several higher education institutions, such as California State University, Fullerton, the city displays a youthful, energetic vibe. Downtown Fullerton accommodates a variety of dining choices, entertainment, and shopping options. The city hosts a fun and lively music scene with various venues holding performances throughout the year. 

Everything is remarkably spread out: from historic homes in tree-lined neighborhoods to modern apartments at the city center. There are also numerous city parks that surround the green spaces where residents can take part in outdoor recreation and relaxation.

9. Yorba Linda

Next on the list of the best places to live in Orange County CA is Yorba Linda. This is one of the richest cities in the U.S.; synonymous with suburban tranquility, it offers a range of amenities including top-rated schools, horse trails, and over 100 miles of walking and biking paths. Its upscale housing options include gated communities, equestrian estates, and modern single-family homes. It’s home to Black Gold Golf Club, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, adding to its appeal. With a low crime rate and commitment to maintaining a high quality of life, Yorba Linda is an attractive city for families and retirees.

8. Anaheim

Anaheim is the most populous city located in Orange County. It has been named the “Festival City” because it hosts Disneyland Resort, a well-known amusement destination for visitors from other regions of the world. However, Anaheim is so much more than just a tourist spot. One can enjoy an array of neighborhoods and home types, ranging from noteworthy Victorian homes in the historic district of Anaheim Colony to year-round high-rise living in the Platinum Triangle. 

The revitalized downtown area in the city offers wide choices of eating and entertainment facilities. Two major sports teams have their home court here: the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey team and the Los Angeles Angels baseball team. For all these reasons, fans continue to come back with eagerness, as well as others who are dreaming about owning a home here.

7. San Clemente

San Clemente is perhaps best-known as ‘The Spanish Village by the Sea’. This delightful town, which enjoys a nearly perfect climate and grand coastlines, has become the destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers a variety of property types (beachfront homes to luxury estates), both in development and those currently occupied.

 The downtown area retains an almost village-like ambiance while shops, restaurants, and historic buildings add modern flare. Not surprisingly, the San Clemente Coastal Trail connects several beaches with stunning views of the Pacific. Conveniently located, it provides an outstanding walking or biking spot.

6. Mission Viejo

The pretty city lies on tree-lined streets and has a calm lake in the middle. It is all about outdoor recreation, boating, fishing at Lake Mission Viejo. They keep a concert hall or venue here to hold parties and functions. Mostly, it is made up of single family homes with different types of architecture styles. The city provides them numerous parks and sports fields where they can play various games and use the trails connecting all these areas together. Mission Viejo is also known for its high level of public safety. It is considered among the most secure cities in California. This is why Mission Viejo is one of the best places to live in Orange County

5. Tustin

The city of Tustin combines the charm and conveniences of urban living with those of a small town. Its historic Old Town area features tree-lined streets and well-preserved historic buildings. The newer part of Tustin includes modern housing developments, shopping centers, and tech companies. A vibrant business area exists in the city as well — The District and Tustin Legacy exist here. Housing ranges from historic homes to modern apartments and townhomes. With high performing schools that confer additional financial rewards, diverse dining and shopping options, and a tight knit community City folks pack into this lovely city.

4. Aliso Viejo

Aliso Viejo was one of the youngest cities in Orange County when it incorporated in 2001. It has a modern, master-planned community with residential, commercial, and recreational areas in addition to extensive parkland. The city is popular for its well kept neighborhoods, vast park system, and its ranking amongst the best schools. Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park provides residents with hiking and biking trails whilst offering stunning vistas. Because of its proximity to the coast as well as its full range of amenities, Aliso Viejo has become very popular for families as well as professionals.

3. Rancho Santa Margarita

Resting on the plateaus of the Saddleback mountains, Rancho Santa Margarita offers quiet suburban living. The city was designed around a large central park and an artificial lake. It provides its human residents many recreational opportunities outdoors. It is home to all manners of housing ranging from condominiums to single-family homes in gated communities. Its Town Center activity is retail shopping and dining with live entertainment for adults and children. Safe neighborhoods, family schools, and wonderful weather add to its appeal as a place to raise a family unit.

2. Seal Beach

Seal Beach is a small, mostly residential city, which preserves the charm of a traditional old-town and features the second longest wooden pier in California. Main Street in Seal Beach offers various shops, art galleries, and local eateries making it welcome destination for both visitors and locals. 

The city has an adequate range of housing that includes cottages, modern homes with water views, and beach front properties. Leisure World is a large retirement community which offers numerous amenities for the elders. A family’s wishes can be fulfilled as they find value in Seal Beach’s low crime rate, good schools, and strong sense of community. This is what makes Seal Beach the second best place to live in Orange County.

1. Costa Mesa – Best Place to Live in Orange County

Costa Mesa, known as “City of the Arts,”has a vibrant cultural scene. The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory Theater are both in Costa Mesa. The city has these interesting neighborhoods that feed all different ends of housing needs – beachfront era residences to luxury apartments.

South Coast Plaza (one of large-scale shopping centers in U.S.) offers high-end retail and dining options. Its small but eclectic culinary scene adds a nice touch and also sets Santa Ana area apart from others in Orange County. On top of all this, the proximity to coast and the diverse draw it can have due to language, foods, and neighborhood mix make living here pretty worthwhile overall. Education, arts and recreational facilities set Costa Mesa apart from other cities in Southern California and makes it more desirable for a diverse demographic to live here.


Although Orange County is one of the best places to live in California, it’s important to note that everyone has their own idea of what constitutes a perfect home. A good location and sense for the types of homes people want makes the perfect home topic very subjective.

Each city and neighborhood in Orange County has its own special charm and benefits. Whether people might be drawn to the well-to-do marina living of Newport Beach, the sophistication of Irvine, or the vibrant artistic lifestyle of Costa Mesa, then there is truly an attraction for many with all that resides within Orange County in California. It offers a true divergence of cultures along with dynamic change that proves intriguing to many who reside therein.

For the best places to live in Utah for Non-Mormons, read this article.

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *