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What should you know about Orange County, California if you decided to move?

Moving to Orange County

1. Geography

Despite of being the smallest county in Southern California, Orange County's (O.C.) population is the second largest in the state. Its total area encompasses 948 square miles, of which 791 square miles is land and 157 square miles (16.6%) is water.

Four of the county's largest cities - Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach – have populations of over 200,000.

To the southwest, O.C. is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by Los Angeles County, to the southeast by San Diego County and to the northeast by the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside.

Multiple cities of Orange County are located next to the Pacific Ocean, including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente.

The Santa Ana River runs through the county from northeast to southwest. This is the county's principal river, but the San Gabriel River crosses briefly into Orange County before it exits into the Pacific Ocean. Other smaller watercourses include: Aliso Creek, San Juan Creek, and Horsethief Creek.

Laguna Lakes, the county's only natural lakes, are formed by water rising up against an underground fault.

Most of county's territory include the Santa Ana Valley and the Saddleback Valley. The northwestern part of O.C. is formed by the coastal plain of the Los Angeles Basin, while the southeastern section rises into the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.

East of Santa Ana, the Santiago Peak, is the highest point with 5,689 feet.

1.a Climate

Orange County has a Mediterranean type of climate, with mild winters and bright, sunny summers. During this season, the weather varies from moderate to hot – but temperatures cool down in the evenings. Winters are generally mild with little rain.

The average annual temperature for O.C. is about 70 °F. The July high is around 82 degrees while the January low is 47.

Every year, the region gets between 10 to14 inches of rain. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is generally 22.

If you move to Orange County, you will be able to enjoy at about 278 sunny days per year.

2. Economy

There are numerous Fortune 500 companies scattered throughout O.C., including the headquarters of Ingram Micro, First American Corporation, Broadcom, Western Digital and Pacific Life, as well as many the headquarters of Fortune 1000 companies such as: Allergan, Edwards Lifesciences, Epicor, Standard Pacific, Sun Healthcare Group, Beckman Coulter, Quiksilver and Apria Healthcare Group.

Headquarters for international businesses in Orange County include: Mazda, Toshiba, Toyota, Samsung, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi and Hyundai. Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA is located in the City of Irvine, as well as the Online Trading Academy (a professional trader education company).

O.C. is also home to several fashion companies such as Oakley, Inc., Hurley International, Pleaser USA, Inc., St. John, Wet Seal and PacSun.

Restaurants chains such as Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, In-N-Out Burger, Claim Jumper, Marie Callender's, Wienerschnitzel, and Gaikai have they headquarters in Orange County.

Prestigious technology companies with headquarters in the county are: PC-manufacturer Gateway Inc., Linksys, Blizzard Entertainment, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation. 

Tourism is also one of the major contributors in Orange County's economy. Each year, millions of tourists visit Disneyland in Anaheim, and the Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park.

Disneyland is the second most visited theme park in the world, while the Anaheim Convention Center holds a large number of events throughout the year.

Several Resorts, located within the Beach Cities, attract hundreds of visitors who want to enjoy the beach, biking paths, mountain hiking trails, golf courses, shopping and dining.

Speaking of shopping, the retail business plays a key role in O.C's economy. You can find dozens of shopping malls throughout the county, such as: South Coast Plaza (the largest mall in the state and the third largest in USA), Fashion Island, the Brea Mall, Main Place Santa Ana, The Shops at Mission Viejo, The Outlets at Orange, the Irvine Spectrum Center, Downtown Disney, and the outlets at San Clemente.

Moving to Orange county LA

3. Education

The Orange County Department of Education offers support services to 27 school districts, more than 600 schools, 20,000 educators and over 500,000 students in Orange County.

Public Universities in O.C. are: California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); and University of California, Irvine (UCI).

There are also several private, religious and secular universities in the county, including: Concordia University, Hope International University, Trinity Law School, Vanguard University, Anaheim University, Chapman University, Soka University of America, Springfield College, Western State University College of Law and Whittier Law School.

Some institutions have satellite campuses in O.C. such as the University of Southern California, National University, Pepperdine University, and Springfield College.

The county is home to the following two-year (community colleges) and four-year colleges: Coastline Community College, Cypress College, Fullerton College, Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Laguna College of Art and Design, and Southern California Institute of Technology.

3.a Library

The County of Orange operates 33 library branches. There's also a law library located in the Santa Ana civic center area, and an outlet in the Orangewood Children's Home.

Library cards are free and can be used to check out materials from all the libraries within the county.

4. Government

O.C.'s government consist of the five-member Board of Supervisors, Assessor, Auditor-Controller, Clerk-Recorder, District Attorney-Public Administrator, Sheriff-Coroner, and Treasurer-Tax Collector.

The Board of Supervisors is both the legislative and the executive authority of the county.

Santa Ana is the seat of the county.

The officers – with exception of the Board of Supervisors – are elected by the voters of the entire county and each one oversees his/her own County departments.

Moving to Orange County beach

5. Infrastructure

5.a Transportation

The Orange County Transportation Authority offers transit throughout the county, and according to Wikipedia.com, OCTA provides the following services:

  • manages the entire bus network in the county;
  • funds the construction and provides maintenance of local streets, highways, and freeways;
  • regulates taxicab services;
  • maintains express toll lanes through the median of California State Route 91;
  • works with Southern California's Metrolink to provide commuter rail service, via these three lines: the Orange County Line, the 91 Line, and the Inland Empire-Orange County Line.

Rail

Metrolink operates three commuter rail lines as well as the Rail-to-Rail service – with parallel Amtrak service. Every week, more than 40 trains provide transportation via the Orange County Line, the 91 Line and the Inland Empire-Orange County Line. 

Highways

These three major interstate highways provide high level of mobility in Orange County: the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), the San Diego Freeway (I-405 and I-5 south of Irvine), and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) which enters briefly in O. C.'s territory from the northwest.

State highways in the area include: Riverside and Artesia Freeway (SR 91), Garden Grove Freeway (SR 22), Orange Freeway (SR 57), the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR/SR 55), the Laguna Freeway (SR 133), the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor (SR 73), the Eastern Transportation Corridor (SR 261, SR 133, SR 241), and the Foothill Transportation Corridor (SR 241).

Minor stub freeways are: the Richard M. Nixon Freeway (SR 90), also known as Imperial Highway, and the southern terminus of Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1).

Trains

The Pacific Surfliner, a regional passenger train, runs through Orange County and makes 8 stops at these stations: San Clemente Pier (selected trips), San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo (selected trips), Irvine, Santa Ana, Orange (selected trips), Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), and Fullerton Transportation Center.

Sea

The Balboa Island Ferry runs every five minutes between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. The ferry serves pedestrians, cyclists as well as drivers and passengers in vehicles.

Air

John Wayne Airport is the only major airport in O.C. More than 9 million passengers take their flights from its modern Thomas F. Riley Terminal every year.

Orange County view

6. Points of interest

After you move to Orange County, it won't take you long to realize that this region is a year-round vacation mecca. Millions of tourists visit O.C. every year, anxious for enjoying its 42 miles of stunning beaches, world-famous theme parks, fine restaurants, designer shopping, lively fairs and festivals, historic places and so much more.

Tourist destinations include:

  • Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, are both located in Anaheim.
  • Huntington Beach known as "Surf City, U.S.A." is one the most famous body surfing spot in the world, and a hot spot for sunbathing. Many surfing competitions take place on this beach.
  • Knott's Berry Farm, situated in the city of Buena Park, offers dozens of rides, shows and attractions in four themed areas.
  • Soak City is a waterpark that features dozens of slides as well as shopping and dinning.
  • The Anaheim Convention Center is home to hundreds of events every year.
  • The old town area in the City of Orange was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area contains 1,300 homes and other buildings, and it showcases over 50 different architectural styles. The old town features dining, specialty shops, over 60 antique dealers, and the beautiful central Plaza Park.
  • Little Saigon is home to the largest concentration of Vietnamese people outside of Vietnam.
  •  Mission San Juan Capistrano is a beautiful Spanish mission founded by San Junipero Serra.
  • National Historic Landmark: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum located in Yorba Linda, and the Richard Nixon Birthplace home (which is located on the grounds of the Library).  
  • The home of Madame Helena Modjeska is located in Modjeska Canyon on Santiago Creek.
  • In Santa Ana, the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, is the largest building in the county.
  • The historic Balboa Pavilion is situated in Newport Beach.
  • The Huntington Beach Pier is one of the longest piers on the West Coast.
  • The Crystal Cathedral, situated in Garden Grove, is the largest church in California.
  • The Saddleback Church is one of the largest churches in the United States, and it is Located in Lake Forest.

 Coastal Parks include: Aliso Beach, Capistrano Beach, Salt Creek Beach, and OC Dana Point Harbor.

Wilderness Parks in the region are: Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Caspers Wilderness Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

The following are regional Parks in the Fifth District: Laguna Niguel Regional Park, and O'Neill Regional Park.

The Fifth District is also home to Heritage Hill Historical Park.

State Parks include:  Doheny State Beach and San Clemente State Beach.

At the eastern border of the Fifth District, Cleveland National Forest is the southern-most National Forest in California.

Conclusion

Orange County's warm mediterranean climate, and 42 miles of year-round beaches is the dream place for many people who don't want to be just tourists, but permanent residents.

If you feel you are one of those people, and you cannot wait to live in this fabulous area, please contact our experienced Orange County movers.

Our qualified Orange County moving company cares about each customer, and we will do everything to provide you and your family the exact service you need and deserve.