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OC's Best Guided Tours (Even For Locals)

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(credit: istockphoto)

In addition to last year's Best Sightseeing Tours In Orange County recommendations, here is a list of fun-filled and downright spooky tours to add to your activity options this holiday season. Don't sit around the house this winter break, there is so much to do! Walking food tours, haunted houses and educational nature walks are just a few ways to stay active and learn about the diversity and history of Orange County. Make this winter utterly unforgettable with these outstanding guided tours.

Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours
(credit: Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours)

Old Town Orange Walking Food Tours
960 N. Tustin St., Suite 163
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 404-1661

Set in the Old Towne Historic District in Orange, this walking tour is a foodie's dream come true. From Cuban cuisine to boutique bakeries, this award-winning, three-hour tour gives visitors a chance to taste foods from around the world while leisurely strolling past art galleries and shops. Private tours are available for groups of at least eight people, making it a great way to show off the charm of downtown Orange to guests visiting for the holidays. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended, and come with an empty stomach. With approximately six to seven food stops, guests are are almost guaranteed to get their fill.

(credit: Shutterstock)

Haunted Orange County
440 E. La Veta Road
Orange, CA 92866
(866) 446-7803

Haunted Orange County offers a glimpse of the spooky side of Orange County with a tour in Orange and another in Santa Ana. Guests get a chance to see historic buildings and shops, while listening to stories about wandering spirits from Orange County's past. In addition to getting completely creeped out, tourists will learn about OC's rich history, which may include tales of mayhem and the macabre. Each tour is approximately 90 minutes long and both begin at 8pm, so it will be dark and the fear factor will be high. This tour is definitely not for the faint of heart.

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(credit: Bowers Museum)

Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 567-3600

The Bowers Museum is a must-visit cultural gem in Orange County, and there is a tour for virtually any visitor. Self-guided docent tours allow guests to ask about artifact galleries of their choice, and are available Tuesday through Sunday, except on the first Sunday of each month. Groups of 15 people or more can schedule a private, customized docent tour, and those who plan it just right can include one of the museum's special programs as part of the tour. For educators, one-hour school tours can be scheduled, in addition to a cultural art class program, providing students with a dynamic historical experience and a creative reminder of their visit to the Bowers Museum.

Related: Best Museum Tours In OC


Naturalist For You
14362-12 E. Ladd Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676
(714) 649-9084

For locals or visitors to the area who want to connect with the natural beauty of Orange County, Naturalist For You offers four regular hiking tours, each with its unique focus. Available tours include Plants and Wildlife, Cultural History, Everything and Specialty. Specialty hikes can be customized based on topic and on the difficulty of the hike. Regularly scheduled hikes are free, though private, paid group tours can also be arranged. These tours are a great way to get the family moving and to gain a deep knowledge of Orange County's various ecosystems.

(credit: Andrea V./Yelp)

Heritage Hill Historical Park
25151 Serrano Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 923-2230

Explore Orange County's past and walk through 19th century buildings on a guided tour at Heritage Hill Historical Park. Visitors can take a trip back in time to the days of Mexican ranchos, and special educational tours are available for elementary school children. The Living History program lets children go through a typical day in a 19th century schoolhouse, and the Native American tour educates children about indigenous people of California in the 1700s. Regular guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday and are free for individuals and groups of seven or less. Groups of eight are asked to make reservations and pay a $2 fee per person.

Related: Best Historical Sites In Orange County

David McDonald is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on
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