Los Angeles / Orange County Visitor Information

The Los Angeles area offers such a stunning amount of activities that the question is not what to do, but where to begin. Orange County is the ultimate in California dreaming, this area offers sun-soaked adventures in a land of endless summers.

Los Angeles spans from Oxnard in the west to Lancaster and Pomona in the east and from Frazier Park in the north to Long Beach in the south, while Orange County is bordered by Los Angeles to the north, San Diego to the south, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Inland Empire on the East.

Learn more about the Los Angeles / Orange County Region including these areas:

Along the Coast
Anaheim, Buena Park and North Orange County
Catalina
Costa Mesa
Downtown
Hollywood / San Fernando Valley
Huntington and Newport Beaches
Laguna Beach to Dana Point
Mid-Wilshire / Beverly Hills / Westside
Pasadena
Saddleback Valley
San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente
History
Los Angeles

Thousands of years ago the the Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes.

Orange County

Founded on All Saints Day, November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano was the first permanent European settlement.

Los Angeles

Early European contact occurred in 1542, and the area was claimed as land of the Spanish empire, however European settlement did not occur until much later. The official date for the founding of the city of Los Angeles is September 4, 1781. At the time of settlement the area was a heavily wooded floodplain with abundant wetlands and swamps. Some of the wildlife included antelope, deer, an occasional grizzly, and steelhead and salmon in the rivers. With Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821 came a population growth of the area as Indians were assimilated and immigrants arrived from America, Europe and other parts of Mexico. The Mexican American War (1846-1848) ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and California was ceded to the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as an American city on April 4, 1850. Five months later, California was admitted into the Union. Completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1876 helped to change southern California forever. Los Angeles’ population went from 5,000 in the 1870’s to over 100,000 by 1900. The 1940’s saw the spread of the Los Angeles area with the development of the San Fernando Valley and the building of freeways. During World War II the area grew as a center of production of aircraft and war supplies and by 1950 Los Angeles was an industrial and financial giant. The census of Los Angeles showed populations of more than a million in 1930, more than 2 million in 1960 and more than 3 million in 1990.

Orange County

Many Ranchos were formed in the early 1800’s with land grants from the Mexican government during the Mexican period in Alta California. In the 1860’s a severe drought devastated the prevailing industry, cattle ranching. Much of the land then came under the control of land barons like Richard O’Neill Sr. and James Irvine. Settlers attracted by the discovery of silver in 1887 were brought in by the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads. Due to the growth of the area the California legislature divided Los Angeles County and created Orange County on March 11, 1889. The completion of the Pacific Electric Railway in 1904, connecting Los Angeles with Santa Ana and Newport Beach, made Orange County an accessible weekend retreat for celebrities of an early Hollywood. The connection was so significant for the area that Pacific City changed its name to Huntington Beach in honor of Henry Huntington, president of Pacific Electric. In the 1920’s transportation further improved with the completion of U.S. Route 101(Now mostly Interstate 5.) After World War II the agriculture began to decline in the area but the county’s prosperity soared as a bedroom community. The opening of Disneyland in 1955 gave the area a further boost. In the 1980s, the population topped two million for the first time; Orange County had become the second-most populous county in California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County.

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Geography
Los Angeles

The Los Angeles area occupies part of a mountain rimmed lowland fronting on the Pacific Ocean and encompasses towering mountain ranges…

Orange County

In the northwestern part of Orange County is the coastal plain of the Los Angeles Basin. To the east and southeast lie the…

Los Angeles

deep valleys, forests, islands, lakes, rivers, and desert. Most of the city of Los Angeles has level to rolling land and lies in an earthquake zone near the San Andreas Fault. The primary mountain ranges are the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains which bisect the city of Los Angeles. Several smaller, lower mountains are located in the northern, western, and southwestern parts of the area, including the San Emigdio Mountains, the southernmost part of Tehachapi Mountains, and the Sierra Pelona Mountains. The highest peak, located in the San Gabriel Mountains, is Mount San Antonio (10,068 ft) at the Los Angeles-San Bernardino county lines. The western extent of the Mojave Desert begins in the Antelope Valley where the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale are located. Other valleys include the San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Santa Clarita and Crescenta. Major rivers of the area include the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo, San Gabriel and the Santa Clara. The Los Angeles River, the primary drainage channel, was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. Lakes of the area include Pyramid, Castaic and Boquet Reservior. The 22 mile Catalina Island and Terminal Island are part of the Los Angeles region.

Orange County

Santa Ana Mountains. The highest point, Santiago Peak at 5,689 feet and nearby Modjeska Peak, 5,489 feet, form a ridge known as Saddleback which is visible from almost anywhere in the county. The Loma Ridge runs parallel to the Santa Anna Mountains and is separated from the taller mountains by the Santiago Canyon. The Peralta Hills extend westward from the Santa Ana Mountains through the communities of Anaheim Hills, Orange, and ending in Olive. Most of the population resides in the shallow coastal valleys of the Santa Ana or the Saddleback. The major river in the region is the Santa Ana, flowing from northeast to southwest its major tributary is the Santiago Creek. Other watercourses within the county include Aliso Creek, San Juan Creek, and Horsethief Creek. In the North, the San Gabriel River also briefly crosses into Orange County and exits into the Pacific on the Los Angeles-Orange County line between the cities of Long Beach and Seal Beach. Laguna Beach is home to the county’s only natural lakes, Laguna Lakes, which are formed by water rising up against an underground fault.

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Weather
Los Angeles

The Los Angeles area has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate and enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days…

Orange County

Orange County has a warm, dry Mediterranean climate with the coastal areas frequented by fog in the summer. Known for its ideal…

Los Angeles

with measurable precipitation annually. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. However the San Fernando Valley Region of Los Angeles can get between 16 and 20 inches of rain per year. The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 36°F between inland areas and the coast. California also has a weather phenomenon called “June Gloom or May Grey”, which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer. The pattern of rainfall is bimodal with a short string of dry years followed by one or two wet years that make up the average. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches in 1932. The average annual temperature is 66°F to 75°F during the day and 57 °F at night with cooler temperatures in the mountains. In the warmest month – August – the temperature typically ranges from 79 to 90°F during the day and around 64°F at night. Temperatures exceed 90°F on a dozen or so days in the year. The highest recorded temperature in downtown Los Angeles is 113°F on September 27, 2010 and the lowest recorded temperature is 24°F on December 22, 1944.

Orange County

year-round climate, this area has an average daytime temperature of 73 degrees. Temperatures above 90 degrees are rare and the ocean breezes cool the air. The OC experiences about 328 days of sunshine and clear blue skies a year. Most of the precipitation comes in the form of rain in January, February and March. The best times to visit are the spring and fall, but with the mild climate outdoor activities are available throughout the year.

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Top Attractions in the Los Angeles / Orange County Area

Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
Boomers, Fountain Valley
Boomers, Irvine
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
Crystal Cathedral
Disney’s California Adventure Park, Anaheim
Disneyland, Anaheim
Downtown Disney District, Anaheim
Golfing in Orange County
Huntington Beach
Irvine Regional Park
Knott’s Soak City Waterpark, Buena Park
Malibu Pier, Malibu Beach
Noguchi Sculpture Garden, Costa Mesa
Old Towne Orange
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa
Sport fishing in Orange County
The Getty Center, Los Angeles
Warner Bros Studios, Burbank
Wild Rivers Waterpark, Irvine

Activities in the Los Angeles / Orange County Area

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

With over 4,107 acres of natural terrain covered with California oak trees, wild sage and …
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Los Angeles Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many …
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Not Just Unique… One of a Kind

Transport yourself back in time aboard the legendary Queen Mary. Once the grandest ocean liner …
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Orange County Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many …
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The Guide to Eight Great Beaches in L.A.

Los Angeles is the best city to experience the quintessential endless summer in Southern California. …
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Discover Exciting Events in the Los Angeles / Orange County Area

Food & Spirit
Just for Fun
Music
Wildlife

Los Angeles / Orange County California Camping & RVing Information

 

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles area has been one of the fastest growing regions in the United States for decades. With a population of 3,792,621 (2010 census), the city of Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. Los Angeles County is one of the most multicultural counties in the U.S. and the entire Los Angeles area itself is recognized and regarded as the most diverse metropolitan area in the United States. Los Angeles is also a leading center of industry, commerce, transportation, and entertainment.

Los Angeles is the land of superlatives for anything ranging from world movie premieres, spectacular art, and sensational music, to acclaimed five-star restaurants. Maestro Vener and the California Philharmonic bring critically-acclaimed and world-class performances to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. A museum of international stature, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the western United States. After the sun goes down, nightlife has a special place in the heart of the Los Angeles region.

There are nearly two dozen beaches in Los Angeles County and several recreational areas that offer outdoor recreational opportunities. The Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge, established to protect the dwindling California condor, has notable physical features in the San Andreas Fault and the dramatic Bitter Creek Canyon. The Angeles National Forest provides a thousand square miles of open space and spectacular scenery along with the opportunity for swimming, fishing and trails for hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and off-highway vehicles.

Orange County

A playground for families, Orange County contains theme parks where fun and fantasy reign. See Cinderella’s Castle and Mickey Mouse at the world-famous Disneyland® Resort. Disney’s California Adventure offers thrilling rides and spectacular shows. Meet Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang at Knott’s Berry Farm. Cool off at Knott’s Soak City or Wild Rivers Waterpark in Irvine.

This region also offers opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, road biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, climbing, picnicking, and camping. Ecological reserves thrive along the coastlines and wetlands, eastward to the wildlife sanctuaries in the canyons and inland hills. Skin dive in kelp beds rich with sea life off Doheny State Beach. Explore Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, a relatively untouched wilderness within the 400-square-mile Cleveland National Forest. Or just kick back and fish for halibut off one of the county’s many public piers.

Stunning ocean views at Monarch Beach and Pelican Hill and the challenging slopes at Aneheim Hills showcase some of the most diverse golf courses in California. The U.S. Open of Surfing is held each year in Huntington Beach. Sunsets fade to dressy nights on the town amongst the stars, the celestial and the famous kind. Shopping, dining, and night life range from bohemian to vogue, restful to rockin’. Artists and performers color the neighborhoods of the OC during its numerous festivals and celebrations. Quintessential California, Orange County has it all.