I was around 13 when my love affair with The O.C began. I had spent a few summers in Newport growing up, but it was the first time I watched Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa grace my screen that I knew it was a special place. Of course I am joking, on some levels, as despite never allowing anyone else to say a bad word about it, The O.C wasn't the most true to life series, however it did a great job of making me become truly obsessed with the setting.
Before I had even planned this trip, I'd been researching the area and filming locations for years in the hopes one day I would return with my best friends and explore Newport Beach, so when we were staying in L.A on our recent travels I knew we had to drive to The O.C and check it out. We had so much to pack into a relatively short space of time throughout our trip so, we decided we would dedicate just one day to explore this area.
We set off reasonably early and as we headed south the clouds began to roll in, I'm not going to pretend here that I wasn't just a little bit grumpy, my first time back to Orange County in years and the almost always sunny southern California was letting me down. After more than a few moans to my ever understanding road trip buddy, I got over it and decided to just embrace the day, even if it meant I wasn't going to view it all in front of a crisp blue backdrop.
We started by driving up the PCH from Newport all the way to Corona. We hopped in and out of the car looking at all the sights such as, Yacht clubs that were used for filming and places we had seen many times in the back of the show. We explored as much Newport real estate as possible without crossing too many boundaries, unfortunately all of the houses actually used in the show are within gated communities but we definitely got an idea of how amazing this area would be to live.
We got to the very edge of Newport Beach where is merges to become Corona Del Mar and parked up on the cliff top and walked down to the beach. This was so beautiful and has definitely made it to my 'if I ever become a millionaire I want to live here' list. We even met a local who could clearly spot from a mile off that we weren't local, maybe it was the accents or maybe it was that the majority of locals were decked out in sports gear running along the ocean side or doing sit ups on the grassy areas. Either way she was lovely and very understanding when I managed to blurt out my obsession with The O.C and she even told us some filming spots and what it was like whilst they were making the show. She was definitely an Anna, lovely, helpful and welcoming.
After we had taken in the views, we headed to Balboa Island. Home of the Balboa Bar and probably the cutest ferry crossing in the world, I remembered the crossing from when I was a child so was excited to drive it myself this time. It's also a great spot to take in the quaint views back across Newport and Balboa itself including the iconic Ferris wheel, kick off carnival anyone?
Once in Balboa and safely back on dry land, we explored the tiny streets in our, what now felt giant car, as most people use golf carts to get around the Island. We drove down the main high street and enjoyed looking at all the tiny little shops and classically American buildings before settling back at the beach. We walked along, once again getting a little excited at the lifeguard towers, if you're a fan of the show you'll understand, but, shocker in The O.C they're actually brown its L.A that had the blue ones.
We finished the day at world famous Ruby's Diner. The diner in the show is actually up in Redondo Beach but Ruby's is a great spot in it's own right. We tucked into some classic chilli fries and ice cream whilst enjoying the sea views from the roof terrace and watching the fishermen below. It was already home time and we definitely didn't even touch the surface of what Newport or Balboa has to offer but it was an amazing day and a real moment for me having been wanting to go back for years.