Fall Stay-cation Tips for Orange County Renters
Photo taken at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA
Fall is a great time to take a vacation. Temperatures have moderated. Crowds have thinned. Kids are back in school.
If you live in Orange County, you're already in the middle of one of the world's top vacation destinations. You can enjoy a "stay-cation" -- a vacation right in your own backyard. Stay-cations don't require expensive airfare, hotels or car rentals. You get to sleep in your own bed every night, yet enjoy the recreational diversions those who live elsewhere pay thousands of dollars to experience.
Here are just some of the dozens of fun things you can do in Orange County as a single, a couple or a family, and not spend an arm and leg in the process.
Orange County is home to some of the world's most famous theme parks. If you live in Orange County, you're just minutes away from Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. Drive an hour north or south and you can also visit Universal Studios in Universal City, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, or Legoland in Carlsbad. While admission to these parks can be pricy, many run "off-season" deals specifically for SoCal residents.
If your recreational tastes run more toward miniature golf, go-carts, Ferris wheels and videogames, O.C. has plenty of smaller "family fun" parks you can enjoy at a fraction of the cost of the Disney-level megaparks. These include the Boomers parks in Irvine and Fountain Valley, Adventure City in Anaheim, Camelot Golfland in Anaheim, and the historic Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach. Castle Park, with everything from roller-coasters to water attractions, is just across the country border in Riverside.
Want to just lie on the sand, soak up some rays and listen to the pounding surf? Orange County has world-class beaches stretching from Seal Beach in the north to San Clemente in the south, with Huntington, Newport and Laguna in between. Temperatures here often remain summer-like through late October, while crowds are minimal.
If you enjoy surfing, you'll love the beaches in Huntington and San Clemente! Check out Surfline for local surf conditions!
Helpful Tip: Save some money and park in adjacent neighborhoods and not in the expensive state-run beachside parking lots.
For hiking enthusiasts, Orange County offers a number of beautiful parks and trails where you can find hills, trails and glorious isolation. The county's top hiking trails include El Moro State Park, Barbara's Lake Loop Trail in the Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park, Laurel Canyon Loop trail in Laguna Beach, Black Star Canyon Falls Trail in Irvine, Trabuco Canyon Trail, and the Peters Canyon Lake View Trail in Orange.
For a bracing fix of art, history or science, visit the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, the Fullerton Museum Center in Fullerton, the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, and the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.
Looking to take a walk on the wild side? Check out Zoomars in San Juan Capistrano, the Santa Ana Zoo, the Orange County Zoo in Irvine Regional Park or the reptile zoo at Prehistoric Pets in Fountain Valley.
Really want to play tourist in your hometown? Then you can't miss Medieval Times and the Pirates Dinner Adventure near Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. Both are kitsch classics.
Orange County regularly plays host to some of the top comics working today. You'll find them at the Surf City Comedy Club in Huntington Beach, City National Grove of Anaheim, Hennessey's in Dana Point and The Improv at Irvine Spectrum Center.
Finally, what would a vacation be without shopping? In Orange County, shopping venues run the gamut from the world-class Fashion Island in Newport Beach to the funky shops of Laguna Beach, Old Town Orange, Old Town Tustin, Old World Village in Huntington Beach and The Camp in Costa Mesa. Let’s not forget there’s also Irvine Spectrum, Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, The Marketplace in Tustin/Irvine, The Shops at Mission Viejo and Westminster Mall. In Orange County, you can literally shop 'til you drop.
Are you looking for an apartment close to Orange County parks, shopping and attractions? Visit our Orange County Apartments listing page and find what you are looking for!