I just returned from the OC from a week long business trip. I love Southern, CA. Especially the Pacific Coast HWY. It is just beautiful, watching the waves crash to shore, surfers waiting for the big one. (Hey Surfer dude - a tip - head up towards Santa Cruz)
I especially enjoyed a week of father and daughter time last summer at Huntington Beach down to Laguna Beach. Sharkeez at HB has good food and I also enjoy Rudy's (two locations - Newport Beach or the Foot Hills - on Portola PKWY). Ashtyn really enjoyed BJ's Brewery in HB - she loved the pizza.
The state of California and the residents of the Golden Bear State do a phenomenal job at preserving the environment - greenery, natural scenery and it is so clean there. (The state of Florida could learn a lesson from CA) The Pacific coast views, ala, Pebble Beach / 17 Mile Dr. , Santa Cruz, Laguna, Balboa Island, etc. - the views are just majestic.