I have two beautiful teenage nieces that live in Texas, right on the border with Mexico and they’ve spent the last two weeks here. We had such a blast that I thought I could share with you what you can do in Orange County with a couple of teens.
1. The Beach
There are so many good beaches in OC that you should visit all of them. Our favorite is Crystal Cove. It is a state park, so it is well taken care of, there is a lot of open space and natural seashore. We also enjoy, Aliso Creek Beach, mostly because the access to beach is right by the parking lot, but it is also a gorgeous beach and it even has a few fire pits. Last but not least is Doheny. Doheny is also a state beach, but not as beautifully preserved as Crystal Cove, it does however have a large number of fire pits.
Ok, so maybe some of the teenagers won’t be on board for hiking, but it is worth it. There are many hiking trails in OC with amazing views and they range from easy to difficult. We hiked locally in Laguna Niguel but there are so many other options out there.
3. Free Concerts and Movies at the Park
During the summer weekends all over OC you can find parks that offer free movies or concerts. All you need to do is bring a blanket, a couple of chairs, and a snack. We spent some time in Newport Dunes which on Fridays shows a family friendly movie right on the beach.
4. Los Angeles
Technically this is not OC, but the girls really enjoyed a day trip to LA. We started by visiting the Griffith Observatory to get a good look at the hollywood sign, then we went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We ended our trip at the Santa Monica Pier, where we enjoyed lunch and some time on the beach. Parking wasn’t too bad, but we got stuck in rush hour on the way back.
5. Bonfire at the Beach
Ending a day at the beach with a bonfire is the perfect way to watch the sunset and eat some sweets. Our favorite beach for this is Doheny. We spend the whole day there, cook dinner on the fire pit and end with some s’mores.
6. Fancy Dinner
This was one my favorite activities, we took the girls out for a fancy dinner. We wanted to give them their first fine dining experience, you know, white table cloth, more silverware than you know what to do what to do with, and fancy drinks. I decided on Red O a Rick Bayless restaurant, I was hoping because it was something familiar they would try more things. You should’ve seen their faces after I told them they had just eaten raw tuna!
There were a couple of things we didn’t get to do, but I’m still including them on the list.
7. Art Festival Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach throws a huge art festival during the summer. The one we were planning to attend is the Sawdust Art Festival, with over 200 featured artists and their works, interactive classes, food and live music, you can’t go wrong. There’s also the Pageant of the Masters where works of art are brought to life as living pictures.
8. OC Fair
A humongous fair with rides, concerts, competitions, good food, wine tastings and more. Located in Costa Mesa at the OC fairgrounds.
Of course we couldn’t leave out Disneyland. This year is their Diamond Celebration, 60 years, and they are 3 new nighttime spectaculars to enjoy.
10. Surf Lessons
You can’t visit California and not take surf lessons! Here is a list of the best surf schools around.
My nieces left on Monday and I was a pile of tears. It was a rare gift to have them all to myself for those two weeks. Living away from family can be hard sometimes, so when the opportunity presented itself for them to come I couldn’t wait. Even after doing all these fun things in OC, my favorite part of the whole trip was getting to know them better. I learned that you can never take too many selfies, that I should laugh until my tummy hurts more often, and that I should be grateful for my family, no matter how far away they are.