On our recent trip to SoCal (we live in NorCal), the main focus of our trip was Anaheim aka Disneyland! There’s may ways to enjoy Orange County and while a trip to the Disneyland Resort and theme parks can easily fill more than a few days, there is more to do and see in the area. A couple of my good girlfriends live in the area and since we were there… we visited with them, and they also provided the ideas on a couple of family-friendly fun spots the kids were sure to enjoy.
First up the Irvine Spectrum Center. Located in Irvine, this is essentially an outdoor shopping mall…BUT it has so much more. Beyond the shops, there’s an awesome (free) outdoor play area resembling a pirate ship.
There’s also a Carousel, Giant Wheel and Kiddie Train. You have to purchase tickets to enjoy these attractions, we chose to test out the carousel.
And — when it comes to food choices. There are several restaurants at the center, from fast, food-court style options to casual sit down and more sophisticated dining too. We ended up at Red Robin, hence the balloons! I spied more than few sweet/dessert spots too.
My friends both commented how it’s a nice place to hang out in the summer when the days are hot and the nights stay warm. There’s lots of room for the kids to roam and open grass areas too.
What visit to Southern California would be complete without a trek to the beach! Being there at the end of February, you never know if it’ll be warm enough to go, but since we had rockin’ weather, we decided to bust out the swimwear and hit the coast. My friend recommended Corona del Mar Beach at Inspiration Point, which is in the Newport Beach area.
It was a beautiful stretch of sand, and the waves were perfect for our toddlers. Since technically it was still winter, there wasn’t much of a crowd and we had lots of room to play. The water was cold, but you know kids, they don’t care! So they got their feet wet, jumped some waves and played around. Good thing Dad was game to go in… I got to sit in the sand and just watch.
There is a parking lot adjacent to the beach, but we just parked along Ocean Blvd. It is a residential street, but we found free parking no problem. We also got in some good exercise because it’s a very long steep staircase down from the street down to the beach and then the climb back up too.
Overall, so glad we got the chance to explore off the Disneyland strip and enjoy more of what SoCal has to offer.