The location: Chili's Beach House.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A small house on the beach, home to Johnny Harper's friend, Dennis 'Chili' Childress.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Newport Beach. (An establishing shot shows the real Balboa Peninsula.)

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 6 (of season three), "The Swells", when Marissa and Summer visit the beach house (during the daytime) while a party is in full swing. Summer meets Chili (Johnny Lewis), whom she calls 'a dweeb'. Marissa goes into the house with Johnny, and Summer later catches Marissa playfully wrestling with Johnny, and fears the worst.

    A later scene (in the same episode 6) is shot at night at the same beach house. There's another party going on (or is it the same one?), but this time Ryan is there - and he gets angry when Marissa tells him that she can talk to Johnny about the Trey incident, but she can't talk to him about it.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An actual beach house - but not in Newport.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. If you take a look behind Summer's head in the above photo from the show, out at the ocean near this beach home, you'll see what looks like a small island just off the coast. That is a dead giveaway that we are in Long Beach, CA.

    When Long Beach decided to allow companies to drill for oil off the city's shore, they insisted that the drilling platforms be disguised & beautified. The result was a series of small Potemkin islands, complete with artificial skylines, trees & landscaping. If you can spot one of those oil islands in a scene, you can be sure it was shot in Long Beach.

    But where in Long Beach?

    the (960 square foot, 1 bedroom) beach house is located at 5468 E. Ocean Blvd. But there are few street numbers along this stretch of beach. So you'll need instructions to find it.

    As you travel south along the Long Beach coast on Ocean Blvd, you reach a fork where you either turn left and head into the popular Belmont Shore neighborhood via Second Street (which most of the traffic does), or you can continue on Ocean Blvd as it heads out onto its own peninsula, a narrow strip of land filled with residential homes, parking lots, and the occasional dock, sandwiched between sandy beaches on both sides. (Like all peninsulas, it's a dead end, and you'll have to turn around when you reach the end.)

    But near the middle of the Long Beach peninsula, just past 54th Street (between 54th & 55th) and just past a parking lot, on the right (south) side of Ocean Blvd, you'll find the beach house.

    There are actually two beach houses here, pretty close together. But it's not the first (brown) one you'll come to. It's the much smaller, white house just beyond it - in fact, it's so small that it's almost a beach shack.

    The house faces the sea, with its back to Ocean Blvd, so you'll have to walk out on the sand to see the front of it. (I did just that, in late 2006, to shoot the photo you see above and to the right.)

    Here is a map link to the beach house. And here is an aerial photo of the location.

    Warning: This is a private home, so don't trespass,
    knock on their doors, or do anything else to disturb the residents.

    Actually, now that I think about it, there are a few similarities between the Long Beach peninsula and the O.C.'s Balboa peninsula (where the beach house is supposed to be located on the show). They're both in Southern California. They're both filled mainly with beach houses. They both offer a view of the ocean on one side and a bay on the other. They both look out on an island filled with expensive homes: Balboa Island in the case of the Balboa peninsula, and Naples Island in the case of Long Beach. And both islands hold annual Christmas boat parades in December. But that's where the similarity ends. The Long Beach peninsula is smaller and less commercial; it doesn't have a Fun Zone, a Ferris Wheel, a Pavilion or the venerable Balboa Ferry.

    But it does have another third-season O.C. location. In the same neighborhood, just a few blocks farther down on the L.B. peninsula, is  Julie & Charlotte's marina condo.

    The city of Long Beach is also the site of a few other O.C. locations from previous seasons: the Mermaid Inn, 'The Valley' beach, Shoreline Village (the Ferris Wheel) and Lindsay's home.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I was tipped early to this location (before I had even watched the third season shows) by none other than newspaper columnist Tim Grobaty, the Long Beach Press-Telegram's answer to Samuel Clemens, and rabid fan of Seeing-Stars. (Well, maybe "rabid" isn't the right word, but he has written a couple of complementary columns about my website. ;)  Thanks, Tim.

    Of course, given that massive oil island in the background of the scene, I probably would have found the beach house on my own, eventually, but I'm not unappreciative enough to say that.  What?  I just did? Oops...

    For what it's worth, Tim also tipped me to the trailer park location (which also happens to be in Long Beach), and I might have never found that sucker on my own.

    (But in my own defense, I did manage to find Julie's condo without Tim's help.  So there.)

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