Newport, California, by Damian Gadal
Locations in Orange County that are hidden gems that aren’t likely to be overcrowded as Orange County moves from the Orange Tier to the Yellow Tier
The O.C. is now in the Orange Tier with the intention of moving into the Yellow Tier soon. The Orange Tier allows more capacity for movie theaters, malls, restaurants, and gyms but not at full capacity quite yet. Amusement parks, aquariums, bowling alleys, and breweries will be open with modifications at 50% capacity.
The county is looking to move forward into the Yellow Tier within the next couple of weeks, which will potentially give the opportunity to gather in larger groups at specific locations. Other states like Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina have eliminated their mask restrictions and have almost completely opened up, which has sparked a surge in travel plans. While regulations are still in place in Orange County, these hidden gems can allow students to break away from their studies while staying safe and local.
Victoria Beach is a white sand beach and one of the most secluded beaches in SoCal. A minor trek down a long spiral staircase leads you to the Pirate Tower on the north end of the beach. Pirate Tower overlooks the secluded beach and is a perfect destination for watching the sunset. Because Victoria Beach is so secluded, there is limited parking located south of Victoria Drive in Laguna Beach.
The LAB (anti-mall)
The LAB appears to be an industrial complex hidden by trees just off of Bristol in Costa Mesa. The LAB has been around for over 25 years and reopened in January after a short hiatus due to the pandemic. LAB stands for “Little American Business” and is living up to the name. The anti-mall is a haven for small businesses that produce music, art, fashion, and hip cuisine. The LAB is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and masks are still required.
Black Star Canyon Falls Trail
The trail spans almost 7 miles in Silverado, California, through the wilderness to a waterfall, but it is challenging. Black Star Canyon Falls is rated by many experienced hikers as somewhat difficult. However, many people brave the trail with hiking boots and wearing long pants to protect their legs, which many hitchhikers recommend.
The Noguchi Museum
If scenic views of beaches and national parks are checked off the list, here are also interesting renowned museums. The Noguchi Museum is a garden museum with gemological designs. Noguchi also provides a digital tour titled Seen and Unseen for the blind. The museum also offers classes for kids, teens, adults, and virtual school programs. Noguchi Museum is located at 611 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, it is free every first Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is open every day from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.