The Ultimate Guide to Free Things to Do in Orange County

Free Things to Do in Orange County

Living in (or visiting) Orange County is awesome! Beaches, sunshine, and tons of cool stuff to do. But what if you’re strapped for cash? No worries! OC offers tons of adventures that are totally FREE. That’s right, free like free falling on a water slide (minus the water slide). Here’s the ultimate list of free things to do in Orange County:

Hit the Beach

At the top of the list of free things to do in Orange County is go to the beach. Our beaches are legendary. From Huntington Beach’s epic waves to Laguna’s artsy coves, there’s a perfect beach for everyone. Pack a picnic, build sandcastles, or just soak up the sun. Remember, sunscreen is a must-have, not a maybe!

Hike Like a Pro

Lace-up your shoes and explore OC’s many trails. Crystal Cove has stunning ocean views, while Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park offers a glimpse into California’s natural beauty. Remember, hiking is thirsty work, so bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Surf’s Up (Even if you can’t surf)

Catch a wave (or at least watch some pros) at the world-famous Huntington Beach. Bodyboarding is another fun option for catching some waves and is team member Lane’s favorite. Even if you don’t hit the water, the surfer scene is a blast to watch.

Fun at Free Museums

Yep, you read that right. The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) offers free admission every day! Explore amazing works of art, or check out the Muckenthaler Cultural Center for cool exhibits and events (sometimes free!).

Huntington Beach Main Street

HB Main Street isn’t just for shopping (though there’s plenty of that too). Stroll down the street, grab a yummy ice cream cone (money might be needed here!), and check out the Pacific City Shopping Center (slightly off Main St) for some window shopping fun and ocean views. There’s also a giant surfboard you can’t miss – perfect for a photo op!

Take a Walk Through Time

History buffs will love Old Towne Orange. Explore historic buildings, visit the Old Orange County Courthouse Museum, and learn all about OC’s past. Maybe you’ll even discover some hidden gems! And if you’re looking for another “Old Towne” vibe, Old Town Tustin is so cute! Both will have free events throughout the year as well.

Calling All Wildlife Watchers

The Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Beach is a free haven for birdwatchers and animal lovers. Explore the trails, see cool birds, and learn all about the amazing wildlife right in your backyard (well, Orange County’s backyard). Then head over to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. Here, they offer various free guided walking tours.

In Conclusion

This is just a taste of the free fun that Orange County has to offer. So grab your friends, lace up your shoes, and get ready to make some incredible memories without spending a dime!

Bonus Tip

Check your local library’s calendar. They often have free events, like movie nights or lectures, that are perfect for a budget-friendly day out.


Free doesn’t mean boring! With a little creativity, you can have an amazing time exploring all that Orange County has to offer. Now get out there and have some fun!

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