This is an in-depth guide covering the 25 best spots to take pictures in Orange County.
Looking for good places to take pictures in Orange County? Check out our list of 25 of the best places to take pictures in Orange County. This list was made in no particular order.
From panoramic views of beaches to beautiful hiking trails, there are many beautiful places in Orange County to take pictures.
Orange County is known for many famous places such as Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, and many others!
These destinations are popular among tourists and there are many more amazing spots that you can visit to take great pictures while having a great time!
Being an Orange County portrait photographer myself, these are some of my go-to spots!
If you are a new visitor to Orange County or you are a long-time resident looking for good places to take pictures in Orange County, then let’s dive in:
Table of Contents
25 Good Places to Take Pictures in Orange County:
- Thousand Steps Beach
- Victoria Beach
- Pirate Tower
- Marina Park
- Carbon Canyon Regional Park
- Pirate’s Cove
- Back Bay Loop Trail
- The LAB Anti-Mall
- Sawdust Art Festival
- Crescent Bay Point Park
- Black Star Canyon Trail
- Heisler Park
- Fairview Park
- The Noguchi Museum
- The Camp Costa Mesa
- Cheat Day Land
- Crystal Cove
- Anaheim Gardenwalk
- The Mural at Pacific Hideaway
- Little Corona
- Montage Laguna Beach
- Pacific City
- Lido Marina Village
- Pelican Hill Resort
- Huntington Beach Pier
Location: 9th Ave. & Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92652
Thousand Steps Beach is a popular beach located in Laguna Beach, California.
Though it is called thousand steps, there are not literally a thousand steps – though it may feel like it when you are on the climb.
There are 230 steps that you have to walk both up and down in order to enjoy the beach. These may seem like a lot of steps, however, don’t let that deter you from visiting this beautiful hidden gem.
Just like all the other beach in Orange County, Thousand Steps Beach is unique.
It is a secluded, quiet, and clean beach making it a great destination to enjoy and capture some great pictures. This is a great spot to take beach portraits.
It is considered a hidden gem among locals and is not a tourist spot (as of yet) so you can take your time capturing photos.
Thousand Steps Beach can be easy to miss if you’re not sure where you are going so be sure to enter the address into your favorite GPS address locator.
Parking may be a little tricky at times, so expect to walk a little to the beach.
I recommend visiting during golden hour (hour after sunset and the hour before sunset) in order to see the best lighting.
Location: Laguna Beach, California
Victoria Beach is another hidden gem within Laguna Beach, and it is another good place to take pictures in Orange County.
This beach is popular among locals because it is usually unknown by the general tourists.
The beach is generally occupied by locals who enjoy the seclusion and blue water that the beach offers.
Since the beach is usually unoccupied by many visitors, it is a great place to explore and capture some great images.
People go to the beach for activities such as swimming, fishing, or skim boarding so you can capture some action shots as well as nature shots if you please.
To get to the beach, you have to make a small trip down some stairs in order to get to the beach.
Victoria Beach can only be accessed from the stairs since parking is higher up. But trust me, the stairs worth the trek in order to see the amazing views, sunsets, and sunrises this beach offers.
Victoria Beach is also home to “Pirate Tower,” a famous stone structure that is next on the list.
3. Pirate Tower
Location: 2713 Victoria Drive, Laguna Beach, California 92651
Pirate Tower is located on Victoria Beach. The tower is 60 feet high and was built in 1926.
This tower is a great spectacle for visitors and a great landmark to photograph and is one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
As well as being a beautiful spectacle, the tower serves as an enclosed staircase to a private home at the top of the cliff.
Who lives here you may be wondering?
Well, some of the previous owners of the house have been Naval officer Harold Kendrick, Bette Midler, and William E. Brown, a California state senator.
Many photographers love to photograph this landscape so you may encounter other photographers when you visit. The drive and walk down the stairs is definitely worth it.
Unless you are a local to Laguna Beach, you may not have known about this hidden gem.
4. Marina Park
Location: 1600 W Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, California 92663
Marina Park is not only a great place to take pictures, but it is a wonderful place for families.
The park offers a safe environment and memorable experience for your whole family. It can be a great weekend event with the family while also being a great photo location.
Marina Park offers very calm waters that are easy to swim in. The calm water can produce beautiful photos as there are little to no waves. There are plenty of boats that drive by as well.
If you have a family, there is a beautiful playground for the young ones. This is a great opportunity to capture your kids having fun in the moment.
Even if you don’t have kids, there is a beautiful light house that is a favorite among many photographers.
It can get crowded, as many people love to travel to the park to see all that it has to offer.
I recommend making a day out of it and bring your friends or family. The park is clean and in a beautiful location.
There are also picnic tables available for you to sit back and take in the scenery.
Marina Park is one of the hidden gems and is a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, California 92823
The Carbon Canyon Regional Park offers beautiful redwood trees that are very popular among locals and tourists alike.
These redwood trees grow to be very large and a spectacle to see in person — creating a beautiful location to take good photos.
Redwood trees are usually concentrated up north and the Carbon Canyon Regional Park brings these beautiful trees to Orange County.
The Coastal Redwoods can get as tall as 100 feet. There is also a 1.1 mile long nature trail in the park available to trek if you want to capture some great photos.
The trail is perfect for all ages. It is not too long and not too shorts and you can get some great pictures. It is a great place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 2900-2998 T Street, Newport Beach, California 92625
Pirate’s Cove is located in Newport Beach, California and is a good place to take pictures in Orange County. This cove is quiet and very relaxing.
The cove is usually secluded allowing you to take your time with the photographs and to soak in the environment.
There are little caves located along the shoreline that you can explore and take photos of.
If you get tired, there are trees that provide you shade to relax under as you listen to the sound of waves.
The sunset on this beach is beautiful and is a great shot to capture during this time.
If you want to visit when it is most empty, I recommend visiting the beach during the week when most people are at work or school.
To get to the beach/cove itself, all you have to do is go down a set of stairs.
Pirate’s Cove is a beautiful small cove and is definitely a hidden gem among the population and it is a great place to capture some beautiful photos.
Location: 600 Shellmaker Road, Newport Beach, California 92660
Back Bay Loop Trail is exactly as the name describes. It is a beautiful trail through the bay in Newport Beach, California.
The stunning landscape makes it one of the good places to take pictures in Orange County.
Back Bay Loop Trail is located in Back Bay which is part of Orange County’s nature preserves.
The bay itself does not just sit in the bay, but is an estuary that provides people with a great opportunity to see and photograph some of Orange County’s wildlife.
When visiting the trail, you will find many travelers on your path — varying from horses, bikers, runners, dogs, walkers, and even hikers.
There are also people in the waters that use stand up paddle boards. These various travelers can make for great subjects within the background of your photograph.
There is both an upper and a lower trail. The upper trail offers a dirt path that provides a beautiful overlook of the east section of Back Bay while the lower trail offers more views of wildlife.
Here you can encounter various bird species as well as other wildlife. The choice is up to you in regards to what you want to capture!
It is important to note that Back Bay Loop Trail can be over 10+ miles depending on how far you choose to travel the trail so come prepared with comfortable shoes and some water.
Other than the trek, this spot offers amazing scenery and is one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, California 92626
The LAB, also known as the Anti-Mall is not your typical shopping mall. This mall is a hidden gem and is one of the good places to take pictures in Orange County.
When passing by the mall, it may look like a bunch of trees inside an industrial park, however, when visiting on foot, you will uncover something completely different.
The mall has many little restaurants, boutique shops, and art. Sometimes there are even live music, art galleries, seasonal festivals, and poetry readings. All providing great attractions to capture great photographs.
A popular feature within the mall is an art gallery called ARTery that displays artists’ works in a shipping container.
The LAB (Anti-Mall) is a great place to hang out with friends/family while offering great subjects to take pictures of.
Location: 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California 92651
The Sawdust Art Festival is open each year during the months of July and August and attracts over 200,000 visitors each year!
This festival was created to feature all of the wonderful art in Laguna Beach each year.
At the festival, you will find all local artists creating clothing, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, glass blown items, photography, woodworks, sculptures, etc.
The atmosphere and landscape of the whole festival can allow you to capture some great photographs while being inspired at the same time!
After walking a couple of hours through the sawdust-covered paths, you will be in awe of all the amazing works of art. Take your time through this festival to soak it all in while capturing some great photos at the same time.
It is a great experience and the location in Laguna Canyon means it is usually at a comfortable temperature, making it one of the good places to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: Crescent Bay Drive, Laguna Beach, California 92652
Crescent Bay Point Park is a beautiful location and is one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
The lookout offers relaxing views of the beach and ocean. It has a very picturesque scene.
Depending on the time you go, the park can be quiet with not many people walking around. While taking photos, you can choose to just sit back, listen to the waves, and take in the views.
I recommend going during sunset when it is golden hour, this produces the best photos while offering some of the most breathtaking views.
Crescent Bay Point Park is also a popular wedding spots so you may even encounter a wedding when you are there.
This park is found in a quaint little neighborhood and is definitely a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: Black Star Canyon Road, Orange, California 92676
Black Star Canyon Trail is a 6.8 mile trail and offers a beautiful walk through wilderness. It is perfect for any outdoor loving person who also loves taking photographs.
The trail is found in Silverado, California and has many beautiful features along the trail as well as a beautiful waterfall that is the main attraction for many.
Black Star Canyon Trail is considered to be an advanced hike by many so be sure to bring correct footwear as well as a portable camera bag that is durable and you should not have any issue.
As stated previously, it is recommended to wear hiking shoes and to wear long pants to protect your legs.
Many beginners are able to hike the trail so as long as you are in some physical shape and come prepared, you will be fine.
Combining a beautiful hike along with great photo opportunities, it is a great hidden gem within Orange County as well as a good place to take pictures.
12. Heisler Park
Location: 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, California 92651
Heisler Park is located within the heart of Laguna Beach, California and is a good place to take pictures in Orange County. The park offers visitors a great view of the Pacific Ocean and California Coastline.
The park leads to the beach where you can capture more great photos. The water is not too rough so you can capture some great landscape photos with a soft water background.
It is a great place to bring friends/family as well to spend time unwinding and relaxing for a bit.
If you do not want photos of the beach, you can explore the park and capture great photos within the park.
If you choose to explore more of the beach, there are coves along the water and tidal pools to explore. They will be filled with wild life offering the opportunity to capture their beauty on camera.
If you choose to make a whole day out of it, there are picnic areas and BBQ grills for cookouts. You can have a BBQ, enjoy the park and beach, and take some great photographs.
Heisler Park offers great scenery for photographs, wildlife, and a place to relax making it an all in one package.
13. Fairview Park
Location: 2501 Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa, California 92628
Fairview Park is near the Talbert Nature Preserve and Santa Ana River Trail offering beautiful scenic views making it a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
The park itself has many different trails depending on what you want to see and capture.
Many visitors have described the exploration of the park to have a lonely feeling but in a positive way — a respect and appreciation of the landscape and nature around them.
Fairview Park offers great trails to walk in to clear your mind while capturing some great photographs, making it a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 611 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, California 92626
The Noguchi Museum is a hidden gem and one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
The museum is filled with many different rocks, fountains, and other cool water features. One of the coolest features of the museum is the “California Scenario” which is seen above. Many photographers like to go to this feature and capture photographs.
The museum can be a bit small in size so you can’t really spend a whole day here, but it makes for a great quick photo session.
Many people like to come here to capture photos for social media, so it may be crowded. Try to come at times during typical non-busy hours.
15. The CAMP
Location: 2937 Briston Street, Costa Mesa, California 92626
The Camp in Costa Mesa is located right near the LAB (Anti-Mall) listed earlier. The Camp is a unique shopping and dining destination that celebrates and promotes eco-conscious lifestyles.
Because of this, there are various trendy decor to observe and capture on camera. The Camp is also a great location to visit with friends/family. The Camp hosts several events, art shows, and exhibits.
This trendy spot makes it not only a great place to hang out and grab a bite to eat, but it is also one of the great places to take pictures in Orange County.
16. Cheat Day Land
Location: 700 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, California 92618
Cheat Day Land is located within the Irvine Spectrum. It is an interactive pop-up museum. The museum itself is cheat food and dessert-themed.
Many visitors come here for the props they can interact with and the many photos they can capture with these props, making it one of the good places to take pictures in Orange County.
The museum itself is founded by Rubi Rymenmy. Together with her three brothers and sister, they created Cheat Day Land.
Rubi wanted the vision of the museum to also extend out further past the artistic endeavor and to serve as a platform to inspire others to dream big and work hard towards their goals.
You can bring family/friends to this pop-up museum and capture some great photos while you are at it — making it one of the best places to take photos in Orange County.
17. Crystal Cove
Location: 8471 North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California 92651
Crystal Cove State Park is one of the most beautiful places you can visit and one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
Crystal Cove State Park has beautiful waves, sandy beaches, tidepools to explore, sloping hills, and canyons and ridges.
It is located off Pacific Coast Highway and is a great example of open space and seashore.
The park’s climate is described as Mediterranean. You can find foggy summer mornings as well as warm, sunny days and cool evenings making it the perfect place to capture some very beautiful shots.
Crystal Cove State Park has 3.2 miles of beaches and 2,400 acres of wilderness, which provided plenty of variety for the general outdoor enthusiast as well as photographer.
You can spend a whole day exploring all Crystal Cove State Park has to offer.
You can explore the greenery inland and then go to the beach and explore the tidepools, rocky reefs, ridges, and sandy coves.
There is a lot to see here and a lot to photograph making it one of the best places to take photos in Orange County.
Location: 400 Disney Way, Anaheim, California 92802
The Anaheim GardenWalk is an entertainment destination that has nightlife, family-friendly fun, dining, shops, and art.
It is a great place to visit, grab a bite to eat, take some photographs, and walk around.
The Anaheim GardenWalk is located in the heart of the Anaheim Resort District which is steps away from Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Convention Center, Angel Stadium, and the Honda Center.
The main attraction, if you are going there purely for photos, will be for the art galleries, exhibits, and pop-up galleries within the Anaheim GardenWalk.
The Anaheim Gardenwalk is a great place to visit, walk around, sightsee, and capture some photographs of various subjects making it a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California 92648
The Pacific Hideaway is located at the Shorebreak Hotel and serves Southern California Coastal Cuisine.
The restaurant itself has a casual cafe-style setting and the main attraction is a vibrant mural on the wall. You can also see views of the ocean and the HB pier from within.
The only main attraction for a photographer is the mural. Therefore, it is a great place to come with friends or family, grab a bite to eat, chat with friends, and take some photos with the mural.
Since the Pacific Hideaway is located just above 5th street and has an outdoor patio, you can also capture photos of the waves crashing and the sun setting. Many describe the setting to feel like Bali or Tulum.
The Pacific Hideaway is a great place to eat, hang out with friends, watch the sunset and is a great place to take pictures in Orange County.
20. Little Corona
Location: 3100 Ocean Boulevard, Corona Del Mar, California 92625
Little Corona is located in Corona Del Mar State Beach and has some great views to overlook and photograph.
Little Corona del Mar beach is relatively small but offers beautiful scenery. This is one of the few beaches in Orange County that does not involve stair steps. This means you can not only take great photographs here, but you could also have a picnic with friends or family as well.
The visitors are also mostly locals and not many tourists making it a great place to capture some nature shots.
Beyond the water edge, the beach drops off to rocks hidden among eel grass which creates for a great photograph.
When standing above the beach, you can overlook the sand, rocks, ocean, and sun — creating a beautiful backdrop to take in and capture.
Little Corona is a hidden gem within Corona Del Mar and is definitely a good place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
The Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach is described as a seaside luxury that is a blend of comfort and elegance.
Montage Laguna Beach sits above on a coastal bluff above the Pacific.
This hotel truly exudes luxury and the views from each point on the property — whether it is in the lounge, poolside, or just outside looking at the ocean — are worth photographing and sharing with everyone!
Because of its amazing location, it is one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County.
22. Pacific City
Location: 21010 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California 92648
Pacific City in Huntington Beach offers oceanfront shopping and dining with beautiful views of the ocean and iconic Huntington Beach Pier.
A perfect location to visit on a weekend and bring your friends or family. Spend a day shopping, dining, and capturing the views on your camera.
There are a bunch of fun and unique spots that you can only capture at Pacific City making it a great place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: 3434 Via Lido, Newport Beach, California 92663
Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach offers dining, boutiques, and stylish shops all within a beautiful village ambience making for a great place to capture ideal photographs.
Spend a day here and experience all Lido Marina Village has to offer, and be sure to take photographs at each of their popular photography spots!
Location: 22701 South Pelican Hill Road, Newport Coast, California 92657
The Pelican Hill Resort is the perfect setting to capture beautiful photos.
The resort lies on the coast of Newport Beach and its decor takes inspiration from the villas of the Italian countryside.
Capture beautiful images of the resort or capture the beautiful beaches, the choice is yours. From the coliseum pool to the decorated architecture and oceanside golf, this resort is all things beautiful.
The scenery of the resort also makes it a great location to have a photoshoot!
If you are looking for a weekend getaway or just somewhere to capture some beautiful photos, The Pelican Hill Resort is a great place to take pictures in Orange County.
Location: Main Street & Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California 92648
The Huntington Beach Pier is iconic and is one of the longest piers on the West Coast. It measures 1,850 feet in length and juts out into the Pacific Ocean.
It is the most photographed spot in town and symbolizes the heart of Huntington Beach.
The location of the pier allows tourists and locals alike to capture breathtaking views making it one of the best places to take pictures in Orange County!
Hope you enjoyed the list!
Is there any location on this list that you are going to visit?
Nate Torres is a portrait photographer servicing the Orange County and Los Angeles areas. He specializes in portraits of individuals, couples, groups and headshots. Nate Torres is also a photography writer and content creator and educates other photographers on portrait photography, composition, editing, gear, and business. You can find his content on his personal website, social media, and YouTube Channel, as well as on blogs such as Fstoppers, Photofocus, and Imaginated. Being a former SEO consultant, Nate also teaches other photographers how to use SEO to grow their own photography business on his educational blog, Shutter SEO.