April 1, 2019

Ecotourism in Orange County

What is Ecotourism?
In a nutshell, ecotourism is responsible travel that protects the environment and includes interpretation and education. Often those participating in ecotourism will travel to distant, remote, exotic locales to build awareness of other cultures and ecosystems, but it’s also important to get to know our local environment!

There are plenty of opportunities for ecotourism for travelers to Southern California . From educational experiences to volunteer opportunities, here are just a few of the ways you can build your awareness and support our local wildlife and environment

Ecotourism in Orange County:

There are lots of opportunities to learn about our local environment and wildlife! Make sure to search for local parks, preserves, and educational centers wherever you visit!

Here are just a few of our favorite local educational opportunities:

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
Visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach . The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues marine animals in trouble, especially seal and sea lion pups. Careful care allows them to rehabilitate and release most back to the wild. Come learn about the ongoing research at the Marine Mammal Center and be inspired to care for our environment! Learn more and plan your visit here...

Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Preserve
The Newport Bay Nature and Ecological Preserves include 1.5 square miles of fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats, and other valuable habitats. Here you'll meet 200 species of birds, including several endangered species, 80 species of fish, and more! Get to know the bay and its inhabitants through walking trails, guided kayak tours, and educational programs at the Conservancy! Learn more and plan your visit here...

Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach includes 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of wilderness and offshore underwater area to explore. Crystal Cove is worth a visit just for the beautiful views, but you can also learn a lot by walking through the Environmental Study Loop, or reviewing tide pool guides before your visit. The park also offers guided hikes and tidepool walks year round, so make sure to check the park schedule! Learn more and plan your visit here...

Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari
Book an eco-friendly whale watching cruise with Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari ! Unlike some whale watching companies that also offer sportfishing tours, Captain Dave ONLY offers trips to view and learn about our local wildlife, not catch them. The vessels are staffed by knowledgeable marine naturalists so you’ll learn a lot about our ocean dwelling neighbors! Learn more and book a trip here...


Clean Up the Beach

Local Beach Cleanups
One of the easiest ways to get involved in taking care of our local environment is to participate in a beach cleanup day. San Clemente State Beach and Huntington State Beach both host monthly beach cleanup days, helping to keep our coast trash-free!

International Coastal Cleanup Day
If you’re in town for international Coastal Cleanup Day, make sure to sign up and participate! This nationwide event is put on by the Surfrider Foundation, so check out their website for more information.

Help Out at the Bay:
The Newport Bay Conservancy offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, from removing non-native plants, to planting and maintenance. Most of these volunteer days are also monthly year round, so find a day that works for you! Learn more and plan to help out here.


Shop at The CAMP:
Health-conscious, eco-friendly, and green all over! The CAMP in Costa Mesa is a fun and unique place to shop, while supporting the local community and our environment. Enjoy locally sourced cuisine at Old Vine Cafe, have a non-toxic nail salon experience at Lollipop, and shop one-of-a-kind gently-used clothing at 2nd Street.

Visit our local farmer’s markets:
Participate in the local community and support local businesses and artists and crafters by shopping at our local farmer’s markets! Take a look at our guide to some of the best farmer’s markets in Southern California .

Get Outside:
If you haven’t already, make sure to explore our beautiful coast and grow your love for nature! Southern California is full of great hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities and more! Take a look at some of our top picks:

Ready to start planning?

Contact us! We would love to be your hosts during your exploration of Orange County!

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