Orange County is known for its great surfing beaches, but what if you want something a bit calmer for your babies or toddlers?
Older kids might love running into the waves, but it’s hard to let babies and toddlers enjoy the beach without worrying about them getting knocked over or swept away. So we created some criteria for baby-friendly beaches:
- Calm water with almost no waves
- Shallow water with very gradual drop off
- Lots of sand space to play in
This lets little ones crawl around in shallow water and toddlers to play more freely in the water without fear of big waves or strong currents. Do these beaches exist in Orange County? We searched throughout O.C. and found the best ones. Here they are, going from north to south.
1. Seabridge Park, Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is known for is prime surfing beaches, but hidden away in the canals of the Huntington Harbor is Seabridge Park. It’s a green space with a small sand beach. Boats and kayaks pass by, but the play area is roped off. There’s also a small playground next to the beach.
Parking is limited. There is a small paid parking lot next the beach, and a few parking spots on the one street that goes down to the beach.
2. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Newport Beach
While Newport Dunes is on a resort, access to the beach is free to the public. Being fairly inland in the Newport Bay and in a “cul-de-sac” with no boats, the water here is perfectly still. There’s plenty of beach to find an open space, along with some picnic tables to sit down at.
There’s a large paid parking lot next to the beach – it’s part of the resort – so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot. There is also some street parking available, though those get taken up pretty quickly.
3. 19th Street Bay Beach, Newport Beach
On the inside of the Balboa Peninsula is 19th Street Bay Beach, a narrow strip of sand with still waters. As its in a harbor, you’ll see small boats docked all around and passing by. It’s part of the Marina Park recreation area. There’s a fairly large playground next to the beach that’s a hit with kids, and also large green grassy spaces perfect for picnics.
This peninsula gets pretty crowded with parking, but there are a number of small paid parking lots around the beach, as well as street parking along the main road, so you should find something with a little patience.
4. China Cove, Newport Beach
This is a small stretch of beach near the entrance to Newport Bay, so the waves are very small and the water is calm. You’ll see big and small boats going in and out of the main channel.
Parking will be a bit challenging, as there are no parking lots near by and only street parking is available. Since this beach is in a residential area with a lot of visitors, it’ll be difficult to find a spot during peak hours.
5. Baby Beach / Mother’s Beach, Dana Point
Way down in South OC is Baby Beach or Mother’s Beach – it’s referenced as both. This stretch of sand is at the end of Dana Point Harbor with calm waters. There’s also a small grassy area in front.
There are plenty of paid parking lots around the harbor, though this area can get pretty crowded.
If you’re looking for a calm beach for your baby or toddler in Orange County, there are plenty of beaches available where your little ones can play safely in.
1 thought on “Top 5 Beaches for Babies & Toddlers in Orange County”
I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life, and I’ve never been to any of these beaches! We’re definitely going to check these beaches out when it gets warmer this year with our little 1-year-old daughter. Crazy how we’ve had a long streak of rain at the start of the year 2023.