A Family-Friendly Spring Break in the OC
With Spring right around the corner and so many opportunities for things to do, how do you know where to begin?
When it comes to fun sightseeing and unique adventures, family-friendly Orange County has so much to offer that every trip guarantees an unforgettable experience. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular activities to do in the OC.
Best Attractions for a Spring Break in Orange County
Visit Knott’s Berry Farm: California’s First Theme Park (Buena Park)
Knott’s Berry Farm is a world-renowned theme park built from the humblest of beginnings. What started as a small berry farm soon began to grow into a family theme park destination thanks to famous fried chicken dinners, boysenberries and an Old West Ghost Town. Knott’s Berry Farm now bursts with attractions and entertainment for all ages; including first-class roller coasters, stage shows, interactive experiences, delicious food creations and family-friendly fun featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang. The once small family farm has grown into today’s family fun destination in Buena Park. Buena Park is home to the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, Knott’s Soak City Waterpark and Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel.
Explore the Balboa Peninsula, Fun Zone and Balboa Beach (Newport Beach)
Locals know the three-mile-long stretch with the harbor on one side and broad, sandy California beaches on the other as “the Peninsula.” The Balboa Peninsula features the original Ruby’s Diner and a view of a shoreline, surfers, and sunbathers spanning for miles. A walk straight down Main Street brings you to the historic Balboa Pavilion, made famous in the 30s and 40s for being the home of Big Band era legends Count Basie and Benny Goodman.
The Balboa Peninsula is home to many sit down restaurants and quick food stops for people hitting the sand for a day at Balboa Beach, and the variety of bars and live music makes the Peninsula a regional nightlife destination. Some of the places locals hang out for good seafood and a casual fun atmosphere are the Crab Cooker and Woody’s Wharf. Anglers can bring home dinner from one of the sportfishing vessels and whale watching enthusiasts can see some of nature’s most beautiful creatures up close, as Balboa Peninsula rentals and adventure boats launch early and often.
But a trip to the Peninsula wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Balboa Fun Zone, where the Ferris wheel has stood for more than 80 years, Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest, and the world famous Balboa Island Ferry.
Eat at Porto’s Bakery (Buena Park)
Porto’s Bakery was born out of Rosa Porto’s love for sharing her wonderful cakes and pastries with friends and family. Today the Porto family is still committed to using the finest ingredients from all over the world ensuring that quality remains the cornerstone of the Porto tradition. Rosa Porto is now retired, but her recipes and her high standard remain, including her motto “quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”.
Families with kids are always excited to visit Porto’s. There is something yummy for everyone and their affordable prices are hard to beat! Porto’s is very popular on the weekends so come early to avoid the lines.
Shop and Dine at Pacific City (Huntington Beach)
Pacific City’s family-friendly environment is nothing short of awesome, with Huntington Beach vistas and ocean views from every plaza, deck and patio. Stroll throughout Pacific City, experience the beautiful, indigenous landscaping; hang out with your family in fun outdoor lounges; enjoy the fire pit in the evenings; view the sunset from the deck; or linger in front of the outdoor movie screen. Enjoy music pop-up events that will surprise and excite audiences. Experience a place in The OC that embodies the best of what SoCal culture has come to represent – freedom, creativity, amusement, and an intangible and affordable quality coveted around the world for it’s “cool” factor that is not easily duplicated but sought after nonetheless.
Visit Tanaka Farms for the U-Pick Experience (Irvine)
Since 1940 Tanaka Farms has been dedicated to providing all families with quality products and educational experiences. The farm provides customers with things to do all year round. It hosts Strawberry Tours in the Spring months (March through June) and offers U-Pick Vegetable Tours and Cookout Tours throughout the year.
U-PICK VEGETABLE TOUR INFORMATION
This free, guided wagon ride around the farm (45 minutes to an hour) allows you to pick your own fresh fruits and vegetables in the field. U-Pick Tours are seasonal and take place when the farm has an abundance of crops. Times are announced when tours become available and no reservations are necessary; simply arrive 15-20 min prior to the announced time so you don’t miss the tractor.
Vegetable picking is seasonal and based on availability, but U-Pick produce may include carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, corn, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, Swiss chard, kale and more. It’s a surprise every day!
Mission San Juan Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano)
Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark and museum, is the Birthplace of Orange County. It was founded more than two hundred years ago as the 7th of 21 missions statewide and features a chapel still standing where Saint Serra once celebrated Mass.
Today, it is a monument to California’s multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self-sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Native Americans, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion.
Famous for the Annual Return of the Swallows, Mission San Juan Capistrano is the “Jewel of the California Missions” and welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year. Mission San Juan Capistrano will be sure to provide you with the family-friendly intellectual getaway that you are looking for. missionsjc.com
Whale Watching (Dana Point)
Whale watching in Dana Point is more than spectacular—it’s world class. Known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the West,” they have the best year-round whale watching, including the greatest concentration of blue whales and dolphins on earth.
From Dana Point Harbor, gray whales can be seen just seconds away by boat, and nearby are gigantic and gentle blue whales, fearsome killer whales and marine life in their natural habitat that will have you saying “Ooooh” and “Aaah.” It’s a cliche, but it’s true. They all but guarantee you’ll reach storage capacity on your smartphone thanks to all the photos and videos you’ll take during a whale watching tour in Dana Point.
There’s magic in the streets, on the rides and in the kitchens of the Disneyland® Resort. The family-friendly entertainment and food served inside the “Happiest Place on Earth” are an integral part of the visitor experience. When you’re at Disneyland, you realize that there’s never been a better time to make some magic!
Whether you’re in the mood for a theme park adventure, a day of shopping and dining with the kids or a relaxing day on the beach, Orange County has the kid-friendly activities that families are looking for on their next vacation. Come visit us this in The OC!