If you find yourself near Orange County on your next California getaway, you’ll want to know the top 10 fun things to do while you’re there. From outdoor adventures to California culture, Orange County has plenty of activities that will make your trip memorable and help you create unforgettable memories with family and friends. Plus, Orange County is home to several cultural icons like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and The Irvine Spectrum Center, so you can spend as much time as you’d like exploring all these attractions! Check out these 10 fun things to do in Orange County during your next vacation. Cheapest Spirit Flights Ticket for all destinations!
1) Irvine Park Railroad
Kids, families and train buffs alike will love Irvine Park Railroad, an operating 2.5-mile miniature railroad that is a living museum of Southern California’s rich railroad history. Stop by after 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends for a train ride through Irvine Park—and don’t forget your camera! Entry is $1 per person or $2 for a family up to 6 people with ID (free for children under 2). Note: The park is only open on weekends from March through December.
2) Anaheim Packing District
While it’s not technically in Anaheim, The Anaheim Packing District is just as close. The district is filled with cool restaurants and shops that are fun for all ages. Kids will love visiting Disneyland, which is located less than 20 minutes away from The Anaheim Packing District. For adults, Disneyland features two amazing lounges for you to enjoy your favorite beverage or bite to eat: Club 33 and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. Several times throughout each year, Disney hosts special events that are open only to those who have purchased tickets.
3) Knott’s Soak City Waterpark
If you want a day full of fun, go to Knott’s Soak City Waterpark. If it’s not summer, though, don’t forget your swimsuit because there is nothing worse than waiting for warmer weather when you could be having fun! Even if it is summer, try bringing a change of clothes with you anyway: swimming can make you really sweaty. Also, check out their new sliding coaster: Montezooma’s Revenge! It goes upside down and forwards AND backwards! No matter what time of year it is (as long as water isn’t frozen), there are lots of things to do at Knott’s.
4) South Coast Botanic Garden
Located on 27 acres of land just north of Laguna Beach, South Coast Botanic Garden is an ideal place for hiking and a breathtaking view. From coastal sage scrub to rare California coastal dune habitat, it’s a haven for those who want to escape and enjoy nature. The garden contains more than 3,000 native and exotic plants including Australia-New Zealand flora, mangroves from Baja California, wildflowers from around the world and species that are rare or threatened. You can take an easy self-guided stroll along paved pathways through displays featuring regional desert plants, wildflowers at different times of year and sections with hardwood trees or exotic plants such as century palms.
5) Experience Pacific Marine Mammal Center (San Juan Capistrano)
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center cares for hundreds of marine mammals a year. From sea lions and elephant seals to dolphins and porpoises, they have plenty of patients—and you can be one of them! Visitors must make a reservation through their website first, but once that’s done you can head out with a group and visit their on-site hospital where you can observe medical procedures or even volunteer with an animal. Be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes early if you have reservations as visitors are welcome on a first-come, first-served basis. Due process is also key if you have time between appointments; don’t forget to fill out your forms ahead of time so that when it comes time for your training session, there are no delays.
6) The Wave, Laguna Beach
The Wave is a protected beach that has some of California’s finest body surfing waves. The rip currents off of The Wave are formed by an unusual phenomenon called longshore drift, and as such, every swell hits different parts of The Wave at different times. So, if you want to catch a great wave (or just hang out), you’ll need to check with one of your friendly local surfers for info on how best to score it.
7) Aliso Creek Trail, Laguna Niguel
The Aliso Creek Trail is a pleasant place for cyclists and walkers alike. The trail starts at Canyon Hills Park, just off of Crown Valley Parkway, and heads northbound through several parks and residential areas before coming to an end near Alicia Parkway. It’s a little more than 3 miles long and suitable for people of all skill levels. For residents looking for a nice route that takes them past lots of different neighborhoods, school zones, parks and more, it’s perfect! And not only that, but some parts are covered by shade trees as well. So even on hot days when you want to get outside with your kids or your friends but don’t feel like sitting in direct sunlight while doing so, you can still enjoy yourself!
8) Dana Point Headlands/Dana Point State Park
Dana Point State Park is a perfect place for those who enjoy hiking and biking. With 8 miles of trails that lead visitors through scenic coastal canyon views, you can’t go wrong with spending an afternoon here. Also take note that there are many coastal caves located within Dana Point State Park. Visitors are not permitted to enter these caves but should still be on alert for them. If hiking or biking isn’t your thing, then consider yourself lucky! The park also offers endless fields of beach grass where you can enjoy picnics, sunbathing and surfing lessons for kids of all ages! There are even facilities and restrooms if you decide to spend more than just an afternoon at Dana Point State Park; it is definitely worth checking out!
9) O.C. Zoo, Irvine
This is one of many reasons why Irvine is named America’s Safest City. The zoo features a nature center, a bird and crocodile exhibit, an off-leash dog park, a petting zoo, and numerous other animals on land. For those with more than just dogs and birds in their life, there’s also an aquarium which displays sea creatures from California waters. There are three locations around Southern California including Long Beach. It’s open daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day when it closes at 2:00pm. Admission is $16 for adults; $12 for seniors ages 60+; $11 for children 3-12; free for children 2 & under (free parking).
10) Sunken Forest, Laguna Beach
It’s easy to miss when driving on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), but if you make a right turn just past San Clemente, you’ll discover a hidden gem. If you like exploring off-the-beaten path places, then make sure you explore the Sunken Forest, which is located on an old rock quarry. It is a magical place that feels more like a fairytale than real life – something straight out of Harry Potter. The lush trees are absolutely beautiful and have grown so tall because they have been able to take root in pockets of air between rocks left from mining operations back in 1915! There are also many hikes that start here for those looking for another adventure. Unlimited deals & discount on Spirit Airlines flights Booking.