A favorite small neighborhood in Orange County worth visiting, especially if you’re looking for a new area to call “home,” is Seal Beach, located as part of Newport Beach. This contemporary community offers spectacular estuary, a busy harbor, safety, low crime and many restaurants, shopping areas and cultural activities. Of course, the beach is the big draw to the area. It’s modern enough to allow you to stay current with all that’s going on the world, but laid back and just quiet enough to relax and escape. It’s really an ideal space for those who love life at all speeds.

The Olde Town District, located within Orange County, California, is one of those small pockets of tranquil ease that has managed to escape the hubbub of today’s fast-moving society. It’s a delightful tourist area, rich in historical importance with more than 50 different architectural styles on display. At just one square mile in size, it is still the largest National Register District in California. What makes this so charming is that it seeks to take visitors back to life in Orange as it was between 1888 to 1940. The buildings are a part of the Old Towne community and include several schools, churches, the Santa Fe Depot, the original post office, clubhouses and even parks – and every bit of it is in active use today.

Another small neighborhood in Orange County worth visiting is the Los Rios Historic District. This lovely historic area is situated off Interstate 5, near Hwy 74. The Capistrano Train Depot tells you that you’re in the right place. This area, settled by the Spanish in the 1700s, is a walk into the past. Several small businesses, three original adobes and not much else now rest easy in this ode to the past.

Our final stop in California’s small neighborhoods is found in Dana Point. It too is off Interstate 5 from PCH. The quiet harbor and beach area lull visitors as the occasional fishing line can be heard unwinding. There are luxury resorts in the small community, but it’s the many fish species, natural life that continues no matter what visitors are doing and the comfortable mindset you notice the moment you enter. That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to do – there is. Rent paddle boards, Sea-Doos or join a whale watching boat as it makes its way out to those awaiting your visit: the dolphins, humpback whales, gray whales and even if you’re lucky, the elusive blue whale. Once you’re back on shore, enjoy delicious local seafood at any of the seafood restaurants in the area. You’ll find the locals welcoming and warm. They’re also eager to share their stories, so settle in and prepare to leave in awe of all things natural and right and good in this life.

Whether you’re looking a permanent slower pace of life, a new neighborhood in which to raise a family or if you’re just looking for a weekend escape, the small neighborhoods in Orange County worth visiting will never disappoint.