"The Valley" beach.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. A stretch
of beach and a beach house.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. In Newport
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. Twice. We first see this beach in Episode 20 (of season one) "The Telemundo", in the scene where Ryan and Theresa are strolling on the beach at sunset, eating "Balboa Bars" (thick ice cream on a stick, sold on Balboa Island).
And we see it again later in Episode 22 (of season one) "The L.A.", in which Marissa & Summer are strolling on the same beach (past the same beach house) when they are surprised to come across the cast of "The Valley" (a fictional TV show) filming there on the beach. Summer is a big fan of the show and is delighted to meet the cast members.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. A stretch
of beach. But not in Newport. And that "beach house" is really
an old lifeguard headquarters.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. Almost all of the beach scenes in "The O.C." are shot on the west-facing beaches of Redondo and Hermosa Beach. This location is a notable exception.
It was filmed on the (south-facing) beach at Long Beach, CA just below the Mermaid Inn (which is perched on a bluff overlooking the beach at at 2010 Ocean Blvd.)
To get to this beach from Ocean Blvd, you turn right (south) just past the Mermaid Inn, down a road which leads to the beach below. That beach road is located at the south end of Junipero Avenue. The road will take you down to a long parking lot at sea level. Turn right and drive through the parking lot to the lot's west end.
There, you will find the Long Beach Lifeguard Station (see the photo on the right, which I shot in 2006), which is that large, old "beach house" we see in both of the O.C. scenes on this beach. Park the car and walk west along the beach, past the house, and you'll be on the very same stretch of sand where Ryan & Theresa (and Marissa & Summer) were strolling. (See the photo below, which I also shot in 2006.)
seen above the beach in those scenes is the downtown Long Beach skyline.
(The round building was also seen in the original "Lethal Weapon"
movie with Mel Gibson). Just north of the lifeguard building is an
old tunnel that played a key role in the movie "Body Double".)
A fan from Italy, Federico Ghiotto, sent me this photo in 2013:
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This was
easy. The Long Beach skyline is distinctive and I recognized it as soon
as I saw it in "The Valley" scene. The same "beach
house" was seen in the earlier scene between Ryan & Theresa, so
I knew that scene was also shot on the same stretch of beach. It was
obvious that the camera was looking west/northwest towards downtown Long
Beach. So I visited the beach just to the east of downtown, and it wasn't
hard to spot the old lifeguard headquarters (with its distinctive
O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements
are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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