In 1769, Don Gaspár de Portolá, a Spanish explorer, discovered a gorgeous Southern California valley divided by a winding river. He called it Santa Ana, in honor of Saint Anne. Later, José Antonio Yorba, along with his nephew Juan Peralta, received a Spanish land grant for the area where they developed Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana for cattle grazing and farming. Then, in 1869 William H. Spurgeon purchased 70 acres from the Yorba family and plotted a town site called Santa Ana, which as incorporated in 1886. When Orange County was separated from Los Angeles in 1889, Santa Ana became the County Seat.
Orange County is a vibrant area of Southern California that offers endless beaches, famous theme parks, stellar cuisine, world-class shopping, plentiful outdoor activities, historic architecture, diverse ethnic populations, and inspiring art, entertainment and culture. Golf, surfing, theme parks (such as Disneyland and California Adventure) and year-round whale watching in the Pacific Ocean are just a quick journey away.
Must See: Fashion Island in the Newport Beach area is an open-air, premier coastal shopping destination that features a blend of luxury, designer and specialty boutiques as well as vast dining options. In nearby Costa Mesa, South Coast Plaza defines the Southern California luxury shopping experience with extraordinary boutiques and personal shopping services—this plaza has been recognized for its unparalleled retail collection and award-winning restaurants.
Lodging: For a coastal stay, The St. Regis Monarch Beach, a Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond resort, is located in nearby Dana Point, California. Amongst many lavish amenities, such as a world-class spa, this property also features six ocean-view restaurants, as well as a completely, private beach. To enjoy inland activities, the chic Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel in Costa Mesa is a short walk from the Orange County theatre district and South Coast Plaza, home to nearly 300 fabulous retail stores.
Cuisine: From coastal dining to al fresco cafes to the finest white-tablecloth establishments, the Santa Ana region has a long list of restaurants, and many of California hottest culinary stars, ready to prepare your meals. Marche Moderne is a classic French bistro located in the Penthouse of the South Coast Plaza shopping complex. For heartier fare, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is a popular spot that serves more than 100 wines by the glass. Award-winning, fresh and innovative California cuisine, as well as an extensive wine list, can also be found in an elegant setting at the Napa Rose Restaurant, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Ground Transportation: After arriving in your private jet, Santa Ana as well as all nearby Orange County communities are easy to get to via hotel transfer, rented car or private driver. The region is most accessible by taxi or car.
Packing Tips: A wide variety of activities, from golf resorts, to amusement parks, to tony shopping malls, to coastal restaurants, to museums, make active wear that can be layered, and easily accessorized to dress up or tone down an ensemble, the way to go. Some resorts and clubs enforce proper dress code for golf and dinner service. While it is generally pleasant during the day, the coastal influence can make it cool at night. Therefore jackets and wraps are recommended.
Recommended Book: From the birth of the region when divided from Los Angeles in 1889, to the rich days of agriculture and citrus groves, to the bustling development that made Orange County what it is today, Vanishing Orange County by Chris Epting provides a look back through written and visual history of the county of which Santa Ana is the seat.
Best Travel Dates: In reality, it really is often sunny in Southern California. Orange County is known for its ideal year-round climate and average daily temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean, even in the summertime the daily average temperatures hover right around 79. This satisfying climate has made the Santa Ana area desirable for enjoying the outdoors from January to December.