Welcome to California, where the motto is Dream Big, and where dreams really do come true. There are so many incredible cities, towns and vibrant places to visit, where does one start? And how does one plan an unforgettable itinerary with a family? Begin in Anaheim southern California, an incredibly central city in Orange County that allows exploration for surrounding destinations.
Check out how to keep active in and around Anaheim Southern California:
Theme Parks for Days!
First off, let’s talk about the fact that Anaheim is home to your favourite Disney characters, and that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. It’s even happier now that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has opened! You can fly the Millennium Falcon on a thrilling interactive smuggling mission, build a custom lightsaber, or assemble and activate a droid at Droid Depot, and “Become a Jedi” is an experience just for kids!
Once you’ve gotten your fill of this magical theme park, explore California’s original theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm. Located 30 minutes from Anaheim in Buena Park, Knott’s iconic theme park features attractions and entertainment in areas inspired by the history and culture of California. It is also the birthplace of the boysenberry so don’t forget to pick up some boysenberry pie before you leave. Knott’s will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2020, so this is a perfect time to plan next year’s family vacation!
Also arriving in spring 2020 is the expansion of Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Hollywood. Burbank, CA is a couple of hours by car (which is a necessity when touring the state). Visitors will enjoy the new state-of-the-art, 55,000 square foot tour centre located across the street from the existing location. Baby boomers and Gen X will love the Classics Made Here Tour featuring the early days of Warner Bros. from the 1900’s to the 1970s and the iconic 110-acre backlot that features Batman, The Big Bang Theory, Casablanca, Pretty Little Liars, La La Land and of course the Friend’s Central Perk set.
And for the little superhero’s in the family, the new DC Universe exhibit focused on Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman will include a newly designed Batcave. Not to mention the Wizarding World of Harry Potter exhibit will feature even more authentic props, costumes and magical surprises!
Once you’ve experienced all the interactive and exciting attractions in and around Anaheim, you’re going to want to turn your frequency to the beach town vibes; you are in California, after all. Orange County features 42-miles of coastline. Taking a mini-road trip down state Route 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway will have you and the family turning up the music with the windows rolled down as you take in the ocean air. From Anaheim, here are a few of my fav stops along the way:
Laguna Beach Like a Local
Laguna Beach is a vibrant beach town celebrated as an artist’s colony. 26-miles from Anaheim, you’ll find everything from hidden sea caves, tide pools and shipwrecks’ off the Pacific coast. Explore Laguna’s amazing coastline via kayak, surf or explore the cliffs and caves and visit Seal Rock, a nature sanctuary that is home to hundreds of California sea lions. Mid-March (just in time for March or Spring Break) is the perfect time to come whale watching where whales will sometimes come up close to the cove.
Hunger starting to set in? Lunch on the terrace at The Ranch at Laguna Beach offers spectacular mountain and golf course views alongside a local and fresh feast.
Surf City USA: Huntington Beach
Only 21-miles from Anaheim is Surf City, USA! Also known as Huntington Beach, CA, this is where surfers come to rip waves with near perfect surf conditions. Visitors can take lessons or watch from the landmark Huntington Pier, while talented surfers dance with the waves. For a more scenic approach, rent a bike and go bike riding along the curving oceanfront path and in case you fancy some shopping while in the neighbourhood, Pacific City Shopping Mall is just 10 minutes away.
Dana Point is readily accessible via Route 1 and features one of the few harbours along the Orange County Coast. Jump aboard a charter that departs daily from Dana Point Harbor for two-hour charter rides where year-round spotting of whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea-faring birds and the occasional shark sighting are sure to lock in your family memories.
More than just the place where dreams come true, Anaheim, California offers family-friendly activities year-round whether your family enjoys theme parks, fast-paced adventures or exploring beach towns, California is calling.
For more info on Anaheim, check out www.visitanaheim.org