From Cliffside Restaurants to Oceanfront Parks, Here’s Where to Cozy Up and Watch the Sky Change Colors
Calling all sunset seekers and romantics! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s time to reinvent the wheel with date-night spots that will bring those butterflies back. An awe-inspiring sunset always sets the mood. Thankfully, Orange County offers a treasure trove of romantic hideaways—from lookout points to waterfront restaurants—that are perfect for catching an Orange County sunset. Here’s our guide to the most enchanting spots in Orange County to watch the sun bid adieu. Head to these spots around golden hour to watch the sky do its dance! Romantic Spots in Orange County
Nothing makes the heart swoon like an evening at The Ritz! And what better place to unwind than overlooking the Pacific Ocean? You’ll feel as if you’ve entered a palace on the rounded marble balcony of 180blu—the hotel’s cliffside lounge. Overlooking the water, there’s no better view to celebrate with someone special. Toast with specialty cocktails—we recommend The OC Martini for her and the Tamarindo Margarita for him!
Location: Laguna Niguel
Dine on top of the San Clemente sea at The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar. Perched on the San Clemente Pier, the iconic blue umbrellas of this historic floating coastal restaurant makes it easily recognizable. Fisherman’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but trust us when we say that sunset is the best time to wine and dine here. They even have a special sunset menu with three-course options served Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. Filet mignons always taste better with an oceanfront sunset view. And don’t skip their oyster bar! These bivalves are known to be an aphrodisiac.
Location: San Clemente
For all of our hallmark movie romantics, this one’s for you. Gasp at Newport’s stunning harbor from a bird’s eye view—the top of Balboa Fun Zone’s Ferris wheel. This ride makes for a sunset view that feels like movie magic. Spinning since 1936, this Ferris wheel is an iconic landmark, so don’t let the fear of looking cheesy stop you from having fun! Rides are only $5 a person, and a nearby round of arcade games can also spark flirty competition.
Boasting cliff top views of Corona del Mar, Lookout Point is breathtaking any time of day. Sunset here is truly exceptional with pink color palettes bouncing off the water. Stroll hand in hand along Ocean Boulevard before snuggling up as day turns to night. We recommend that you bring beach chairs or a blanket to lounge on the grass overlooking Pirate’s Beach. It’s a popular spot, so come early to stake your claim. For a more secluded viewing, take the stairs down to the sand to watch the sunset from the shore.
Location: Corona del Mar
This grassy hillside overlooking Salt Creek Beach is best for young couples and budding romances. While it’s a popular spot, there’s enough room on the hill to find your own space and feel secluded. This beach-top spot allows couples to watch the sunset over the ocean without the mess of sand. Park in the lot and walk through the tunnel with wall murals, where a local musician is often playing. And don’t forget to pack a picnic basket full of your favorite snacks!
Location: Dana Point
Laguna Beach is one of those special places that people across the globe travel to for its picturesque scenery. You’ll drive down the familiar PCH, yet feel as if you’ve stumbled upon the shores of Hawaii. Crystal clear coves with rolling white wash and towering palms are enough to steal hearts. Heisler Park is North Laguna’s ultimate sunset watch spot, with a half-mile walking trail along the water. At the southern end of the park is a romantic gazebo, and Monument Park has the highest views. After the sun sets, head to dinner at Oliver’s Osteria.
Location: Laguna Beach
Orange County locals know it well, but even people who have lived here their whole lives will be surprised by the sweeping scenic views at this hidden gem. Uniquely situated in the hills of Orange, this fine-dining steakhouse boasts views all the way to Catalina Island, as well as Downtown Los Angeles on clear days. For the most romantic setting, request a table on the patio, which is dotted with koi ponds and waterfalls. The view is just as spectacular at night when city lights paint the town.
Don’t let the name fool you: Orange County Mining Company requires no pickaxes or chisels. Nevertheless, you will strike gold at this cozy restaurant and bar. At one time, this venue was a silver mine and has since been reinvented into a rustic steakhouse and saloon with views over the Santa Ana hills. Floor-to-ceiling windows and ample patio space ensure that there’s a view from every seat in the house. The setting calls for something whiskey-forward to start with, and you’ll want to split the mud pie after the main.
Location: Santa Ana