Gourmet Snack Shacks Along Orange County’s Pacific Coast Highway

Sharael Kolberg
4 min readJul 10

Southern California’s Pacific Coast Highway, often referred to as PCH, is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of road that winds its way along the state’s stunning coastline. Besides offering scenic vistas, this iconic route is also home to a range of delightful beachfront gourmet snack shacks. From delectable seafood to mouthwatering shakes, these establishments are sure to satisfy your cravings in between surf sessions or while spending a day lounging on the beach in Orange County.

1. Young’s Beach Shack: 33521 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629

Young’s Beach Shack, located at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, is a convenient place for beachgoers to grab an elevated bite to eat while watchers surfers catch waves. Menu items include a Wagyu Beef Hot Dog, Short Rib Grilled Cheese, and Shrimp Tacos. For those seeking a lighter option, the California Avocado Salad, featuring mixed greens, pickled red onions, candied pecans, strawberries, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, is a refreshing choice. Young’s Beach Shack also offers breakfast and dessert, with beautiful ocean views. Dining was provided by Young’s Beach Shack in order to do my review, but all opinions are my own.

2. Lost Pier Cafe: 31131 CA-1, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Located in the vibrant coastal town of Laguna Beach, Lost Pier Cafe is a hidden gem along the Pacific Coast Highway. Located at Aliso Beach, with breathtaking panoramic ocean views, this charming snack shack serves up a variety of dishes inspired by the land and sea. The Wild Caught Lobster Roll is a crowd favorite, made with succulent lobster meat, lightly dressed in roasted garlic aioli, topped with gem lettuce and nestled in a brioche roll, it is a true coastal delicacy. Other highlights include the Clam Chowder, bursting with flavors of fresh clams and herbs, and the Fish Tacos, featuring a blackened fisherman’s catch topped with avocado mash, chipotle slaw, pico de gallo, and queso fresco, and served with corn tortillas. Beer, wine and cocktails are also served. With its inviting atmosphere and mouthwatering menu, Lost Pier Cafe is the perfect spot to refuel during your coastal journey. Beach fire pit rentals are also available.

3. Crystal Cove Shake Shack: 7703 East Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92657

In the coastal community of Newport Coast, the Crystal Cove Shake Shack is a delightful snack shack overlooking Crystal Cove State Beach. This charming establishment offers a mouthwatering selection of shakes, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Using premium ice cream and a wide array of toppings, the Crystal Cove Shake Shack serves up indulgent treats that are hard to resist. From classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla to more indulgent combinations such as chocolate chip cookie dough or peanut butter cup, there’s a shake to satisfy every sweet tooth. You’ll also find an array of breakfast and lunch menu items, from avocado toast or cinnamon roll French toast to burgers, fish and chips, hot dogs and sandwiches. Whether you’re looking for lunch with a view or a sweet treat to end your day, the Crystal Cove Shake Shack is sure to leave you craving for more.

4. Doho Cafe: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629

Doho Cafe, at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, offers beachgoers a delicious selection of snacks and refreshments. This casual shack is known for its tasty beachside bites such as fish tacos, breakfast burritos, and juicy burgers. They also serve refreshing beverages like fresh ice-cold, organic lemonade, perfect for quenching your thirst on a sunny day at the beach, as well as frozen margaritas and daiquiris. Whether you’re lounging in the sand or taking a break from the waves, the Doho Cafe provides a convenient and satisfying option for beachside snacking.

As you embark on your journey along Southern California’s Pacific Coast Highway, take the time to explore the gourmet snack shacks that dot this stunning landscape. They are sure to make your beach outing even more memorable. So, hit the road, enjoy the views, and indulge in the delectable treats along the way. Bon appétit!

Sharael Kolberg

Travel Writer (Sharael.com), Founder of FamilyTravelChannel.com, Breast Cancer Survivor, Mom.