You’ve already hiked the crap out of the best hikes in Los Angeles, so what's next? Well, the best hikes in OC of course. From family-friendly nature walks in Irvine to a strenuous waterfall expedition in the Santa Ana Mountains, these are the 16 coolest ones in Orange County.
Huntington Beach This mostly flat trek through the wetlands is a tranquil nature walk masquerading as a hike. You’ll get fresh air, pretty ocean views, and the opportunity to spot birds (more than 200 species have been identified there!) and other wildlife.
Irvine Located in the City of Irvine’s vast Open Space Preserve, which is more than 5,200 acres, the relatively easy 2-mile Quail Hill Loop is a refreshing escape from strip-mall suburbia/a quail-free world.
Irvine One of the best parts of this local gem, tucked away in a residential area of Irvine, is that it’s easily accessible. ANNNNNNND after 2.5 miles of huffing and puffing your way through a combination of ascents and descents, you’ll get a nice view of Irvine at the top.
Laguna Beach For a picturesque 2-mile hike that deposits you at Moro Beach, head to Crystal Cove State Park. If you feel like exerting yourself more, you can prolong the hike by exploring the canyon and nearby ridges before heading down to the surf and sand.
Newport Beach The main route around Newport Back Bay is long -- about 10.5 miles -- but mostly even. Be sure to kick off your journey at the Vista Point Lookout to snag the best views, although the entire hike will be incredibly scenic.
Laguna Beach This 2.5-mile hike in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is good for a quickie. On a clear day, the sweeping 360-degree view at the top displays Catalina Island to the west and the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. (If you’re willing to risk judgmental stares, you can also cheat by driving to the top and parking there.)
Laguna Beach For a hike that’s challenging but won’t leave you completely screwed the next day, try this 9-mile expedition through the undeveloped Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The uphill climb is grueling, and you’re exposed to the sun the entire time, but the worthwhile reward is a view of palm tree-dotted Laguna Beach.
Orange County This remote canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains boasts a waterfall, which makes this 6.8-mile trail totally worth it. It’s deceivingly easy at first, thanks to a minimal incline, then quickly becomes rugged, rocky, and tricky to navigate. Some say the canyon is haunted, so hike at your own risk.
Lake Forest A little over 4 miles, this hike in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park takes you through an Instagram-friendly red sandstone canyon -- especially photogenic in the evening. Go right when the sun is setting and you’ll feel more like you’re in Sedona than OC.
Trabuco Canyon The good news about this ass-kicking 15-mile hike to the tallest point of the Santa Ana Mountains? You can see your goal -- the top of the mountain -- for most of your journey. The bad news? Be prepared to struggle for nine hours on the way, unless you’re in tip-top shape.
Corona You’ve got options here. There’s the well-shaded Tin Mine Trail, which boasts some gated, slightly eerie mine shafts you can peek into; the steady climb up to the Doppler Tower, a golf ball-shaped radar tower; and the Hagador Canyon Watershed Trail.
Newport Beach This little-known trailhead nestled in a Newport coastal canyon is a relatively quick, easy-to-moderate hike for when you want a dose of nature (wildflowers, a river, foliage, and a view of the Pacific at the top) without a serious trek.
Silverado Fair warning: This strenuous trail isn’t for beginners. But, if you’re able to tough it out for the 5+ miles -- which includes boulder-hopping, avoiding poison oak, and navigating rough, unmarked terrain -- a majestic waterfall awaits you. Can’t make it all the way? Don’t worry: Halfway through, you’ll find equally cool, crystal-clear pools of water at the base of the canyon.
Trabuco Canyon If you’re not into mobbed trails, try Modjeska -- Santiago Peak’s less-crowded little sister. It might be the second-tallest point in the Santa Ana Mountains, but some think this vantage point offers fewer obstructions for a full, 360-degree view.
Anaheim This 58-acre park in Anaheim features 4 miles of hiking trails and routes for everyone in the family -- some are tranquil and kid-friendly, and others, like Roadrunner Ridge, are steep, unshaded, and dotted with cacti.
Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.
Tiffany Tse is a freelance writer for Thrillist and only goes hiking for the bragging rights (and occasionally, the view). Follow her: @twinksy.
When going nude on California's beaches, there's often a wide chasm between expectation and reality -- but that's more of a "nude beach" thing than a California thing. You can't just drop trou and get an all-over tan at any old stretch of Golden State shoreline, and the select beaches where California does allow nude sunbathing are mostly (and not-so-coincidentally) in hard-to-reach and obscure locations. In other words, they're the kind of amenity-free beaches where you'd do well to bring your own food, drinks, chairs, and umbrellas.
Many of the state's most popular and underrated nude beaches are hidden mere minutes away from the popular shopping malls that line our coast, but you'd never know it unless you knew where to look. So, we're telling you where to look: here are all the best beaches to bare your ass in California, how to get to them, and everything you need to know once you're there. Just keep your clothes on until you're sure you're in the right place.
From Los Angeles to San Diego: Every Pit Stop You Need To Make Along The Way
With zero humidity and palm trees in the rearview mirror, cruising down the Pacific coast to San Diego from Los Angeles is summer. Of course, LA traffic can make it less cruiseworthy and more bumper-to-bumper. But with authentic taquerias, whale watching, and iconic surf breaks, there’s a quintessential SoCal pit stop just about every mile of the ride to distract you. Here’s seven summer getaways you can easily hit on the way to San Diego -- just don’t forget the sunscreen and a swimsuit.
Lesbo-a-No-Go: NYC's Lesbian Nightlife Flatlined. Here's Who Brought It Back.
Lesbian bars are on life support. New York City has four -- four more than you’ll find in Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Combined. Blame the internet, which made it easier for LGBTQ people to meet potential partners without a dedicated physical space. Also, straight people are increasingly comfortable with queer-friendly spaces in general, so same-sex couples aren’t restricted to the windowless, dungeon-like hiding spots LGBTQ folks were relegated to during your parents’ lifetime. Yes, things have gotten much better. But when you’re part of any minority group, sharing a space with people who share your identity is priceless.
Roving parties and pop-ups for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in New York City aim to solve a problem all adult New Yorkers face: making friends. Even in the mainstream, that’s a challenge. It’s even tougher to find and genuinely connect with people who share your minority sexuality, especially when events catered towards LGBTQ people are often about drinking, dancing, and hooking up. You don’t go to a weeknight party called Choice Cunts to make a cool new queer pal.