A short walk from the bustling downtown Laguna Beach, this park is an amazing hidden oasis. The grassy bluff and the sandy beach with giant rocks and hidden caves makes this park a favorite spot for photographers, sunset watchers, picnickers, and even sea birds. There are also a variety of art stands selling local artwork.
The area is 900 acres (364 hectares) of estuary, marsh, and coastal sage scrub habit, and it is home to several endangered bird species. Seventy species of fish use the bay and during winter migration thousands of shorebirds and ducks either visit or spend the winter here. Kayak, canoe, walking and electric boat tours are offered and a state of the art Interpretive Center is located at 2301 University Dr., Newport Beach.
The Environmental Nature Center is a must-visit for every nature lovers touring Newport Beach. It’s a beautiful attraction lined with native plants and trees where several bird species dwell. A getaway for birding enthusiasts as well as those who love hiking, the center is a perfect break from city noises. It is dedicated to teaching children as well as adults about sustainable development and waste management, in addition to other subjects that aid in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Irvine Park Railroad is located in beautiful Irvine Regional Park. The one-third scale train takes visitors on a scenic, 12-minute ride through the 477-acre park. Other park attractions include pony rides, the Orange County Zoo, walking trails, horseback riding, snack bars and more. You can rent paddle boats, bikes, and horseshoe and volleyball sets. Annual Irvine Park Railroad events include the Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Train, Easter Eggstravaganza, California History Education Program and Anniversary Celebration. School field trips are available. You can also reserve space for private parties.
Located in the historic Anaheim Colony, the district includes three principal areas, the Packard Building, Farmers Park and the original Packing House. The Packard Building houses the popular Umami Burger and Anaheim Brewery while the Packing House hosts a myriad of restaurants. The food selection is mind-boggling, from Quiche Lorraine at Pandor to Banh Mi at Saw Leaf. Farmers Park is where the market opens on weekends and oftentimes, you will see live music as well. Overall, the Anaheim Packing District is one of the most entertaining spots in a town that is mostly known for Mickey Mouse.
Located in Irvine, this family owned and operated organic farm is spread out over 30 acres (12 hectares). Producing over 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables, Tanka Farms is known for offering delicious produce at their farm stand and for their one-of-a-kind tours and activities. Offered year-round, the tours and activities aim to educate children on where their food comes from and how it is grown. Changing with the seasons, tours in the winter and fall focus on pumpkins and Christmas trees. In the spring and summer, watermelons and their famed strawberry tours take place.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a locals' favorite for hiking and biking, particularly during spring when a spectrum of wild flowers bloom. Two entrances are available. One is at the junction of El Toro Road and Aliso Creek Road where limited street parking is available for free. Despite its isolation from the majority of the park, this area features Barbara's Lake, Orange County's only natural lake. The other entrance is across Laguna Canyon, by the junction of Laguna Canyon Road and El Toro Road. Although there is no free parking, you can head straight to Crystal Cove from here. With "wilderness" in its name, no pets are allowed in the park. Some residents you may have the pleasure of seeing are deer, mountain lions, and snakes.
Balboa Beach is synonymous with Newport Beach and vice-versa, one beach stretches into the other and both are extremely fun places to enjoy the sand. Both beaches have piers, however Balboa offers more parking spaces and at the end of the pier, you'll find the original Ruby's Diner as well as an opportunity to cast a line. Additionally, there are plenty of shops and restaurants in the area.
If you want to explore the North Pacific Ocean Dana Point is the place to go to. The establishment offers tours for deep sea fishing, whale watching and chartered boats for hire.