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Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA)
Also known as John Wayne Airport, this regional airport is less than 5 miles from UC Irvine, a drive of less than 10 minutes. This is the preferred airport of local residents, and is closest to UCI. But it is a smaller, regional airport and most international flights don't fly directly into this airport.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
This is the largest airport in the area, and many international travellers will arrive here. It is 43 miles northwest of UC Irvine, and is about an hour’s drive in normal traffic.
Long Beach Airport (LGB)
This is another regional airport option. It is located 23 miles northwest of UC Irvine, and is a 30-40 minute drive in normal traffic.
If you will be sightseeing in Orange County/Southern California, a rental car is a good option. The airports listed above all have access to rental car facilities.
Although there are trains in southern California, they do not go to UC Irvine and they are not a common mode of transportation. If you plan to arrive by train, the closest station is the Irvine train station. From there you will need to take a taxi or two busses to UC Irvine - a taxi is much faster.
Find more in www.amtrak.com/
Do You Need a Visa?
Some international visitors will need to get a visa to travel to the US. To get the latest and official information on US visas and to see if you need a visa please visit www.travel.state.gov.
While the visa process typically varies from country to country (and sometimes region to region), it is best to start the process as early as possible to be able to satisfy all of the requirements and paperwork.
The visa process usually starts by visiting your local US embassy. Start by visiting the online list of US embassies.
Visa Support Letters
Visa support letters can be requested by those who have finished the registration process and paid their fees.
The email contact will be provided during the registration process.
NEAREST BEACHES AND BEACH CITIES
- Newport Beach / Balboa Island / Balboa Peninsula
For more attractions on Balboa Island and Peninsula see Perfect Day: Newport Beach
Located approximately 8.5 miles southwest from UC Irvine, the Newport Beach Pier and 'FunZone' are both located in Balboa Village at the center of the Balboa Peninsula.
The Newport Beach Pier is a popular spot for fishing, strolling and dining. At the end of the pier you will find the original Ruby's Diner. On the opposite side of the peninsula is the historic 'Fun Zone,' Southern California’s oldest coastal amusement area and a popular family-friendly attraction. Visitors can enjoy rides on the waterfront Ferris Wheel, play games in the arcade or tour the nautical museum while enjoying their favorite beach treats. This is also a popular place to rent bikes, harbor cruises, whale watching excursions, or you can take off for a day trip to nearby Catalina Island on the Catalina Flyer. This area of the peninsula can also be reached via an auto ferry from Balboa Island. At the north end of the Peninsula is the iconic Crab Cooker restaurant, serving the area's best casual seafood and legendary clam chowder since 1951. You can also stroll around Balboa Island, and enjoy the shops on Main St.
- Crystal Cove State Beach
Located off busy Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, and approximately 8.5 miles southeast from UC Irvine, Crystal Cove State Park is one of Orange County's largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore. It features 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness, which is popular for outdoor enthusiasts. The Crystal Cove Historic District is an
enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & '40's and nestled around the mouth of Los Trancos Creek. It is one of the last remaining examples of early 20th century Southern California coastal development. Also available in the Historic District is the always popular Beachcomber Café, a restored beachfront cottage, offering a relaxed dining atmosphere with spectacular ocean
views and a quality menu. No reservations, put your name in early and enjoy the scenery.
- Laguna Beach
Located just 11 miles southeast from UC Irvine, Laguna Beach is well worth a visit. Laguna boasts an eight miles stretch of the some of the most picturesque beaches and secluded coves in Southern California. This charming seaside town gained popularity as an artists colony in the 1920's and, with it's many galleries, art festivals, and it's own art museum, it is still a thriving artist community. Laguna Village is very charming and contains a wealth of options for shoppers and diners alike.
- Huntington Beach
Known for its surf culture, Huntington Beach is nicknamed “Surf City”. Huntington Beach features wide sandy beaches, a pier, restaurants, and shopping. It is located approximately 12 miles northwest from UC Irvine. www.surfcityusa.com
Visitors to Orange County will find a plethora of shopping destinations. A few nearby are listed below.
- Fashion Island. www.shopfashionisland.com
>- Irvine Spectrum. www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com
- South Coast Plaza. www.southcoastplaza.com
Southern California is home to numerous Theme/Amusement Parks. Here are just a few.
- Disneyland, Anaheim. www.disneyland.disney.go.com
- Disneyland’s California Adventure, Anaheim. www.disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disney-california-adventure
- Knotts Berry Farm, Anaheim. www.knotts.com
- Legoland, Carlsbad (San Diego County). www.california.legoland.com
- Universal Studios Hollywood (Los Angeles County). www.universalstudioshollywood.com
- Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia (Los Angeles County – Northwest of City of LA). www.sixflags.com/magicmountain
CULTURAL ATRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS
A sampling of regional cultural attractions and interesting destinations includes:
- Orange County
- Bowers Museum, Santa Ana. www.bowers.org
- Discovery Science Center. www.discoverycube.org
- Festival of the Arts, Laguna Beach. www.foapom.com
- Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach. www.lagunaartmuseum.org
- Mission San Juan Capistrano. www.missionsjc.com
- Orange County Museum of Art. www.ocma.net
- Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach. www.foapom.com
- Sawdust Festival, Laguna Beach. www.sawdustartfestival.org
- Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa. www.scfta.org
- Los Angeles County
- Catalina Island, Channel Islands. www.catalinachamber.com
- Getty Center, Los Angeles. www.getty.edu
- Getty Villa, Malibu. www.getty.edu/visit/villa
- Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. www.laparks.org and www.griffithobservatory.org
- Hollyhock House, Los Angeles. www.barnsdall.org
- Hollywood, Los Angeles. http://www.latourist.com
- Huntington Museum and Gardens, near Pasadena. www.huntington.org
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles. www.lacma.org
- Santa Monica, near Los Angeles. www.santamonica.com
- TCL Chinese Theater, Los Angeles. www.tclchinesetheatres.com
- Venice Beach, near Los Angeles. www.venicebeach.com
ELSEWHERE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
- Big Bear, San Bernardino County. www.bigbear.com
- Lake Arrowhead, San Bernardino County. www.lakearrowhead.com
- Palm Springs, Riverside County. www.visitpalmsprings.com
- San Diego, CA. www.sandiego.org
- La Jolla, San Diego County-CA. www.lajollabythesea.com
- Anza Borrego Dessert State Park, San Diego County-CA. www.parks.ca.gov
See more at Orange County Visitors Association, www.visittheoc.com. Here you find General information about visiting Orange County, including links to visitors guides