Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Favorite Spots in the OC

Understand me right, I love LA, but as soon as I moved to Orange County, I instantly knew I was home.  Wider streets, less traffic, beautiful parks, bike trails, and miles and miles of sandy beaches make after work hours and weekends much more relaxing.  So, if you are craving to get away from your busy life, and want to relax and reenergize, pick a week or even a weekend and come over to Orange County, California!
Thankfully to the SoCal beautiful weather, you can enjoy outdoor activities here all year long.

Corona Del Mar State Beach ~ If you want to go for a relaxing stroll, enjoy spectacular views, and explore tide pools, you will love this place. Sometimes I come here with a picnic basket full of munchies, settle under a tree, and relax. The view is unbelievable.

Balboa Island ~ Charming is the word to describe this place. Stroll on the Main street, visit shops, or take a brisk walk around the island and enjoy beautiful views.  If you take Balboa Island's famous old and rusty ferry, you will be transported to the other side of the island where you can rent a bike to ride along the beautiful beach, or simply hang out and soak in the sun.

Laguna Beach ~ This is certainly a gem of not just OC, but of all of California. Walk along the beautiful beach, visit art galleries, and local shops. If you are in OC during July and August, check out the Festival of Arts Pageants of the Masters.
Bike Trails ~ If you love biking outdoors, OC offers amazing bike trails with beautiful views for every difficulty level. You can also pick the scenery you like, whether you want to ride in the mountains, or in the beautiful wild parks, or along the open river, or along the sandy beach. The choice is yours.

While OC has lots of excellent restaurants to offer, whenever I spend a day at the beach, I opt for burgers or seafood. And here are a few of my favorite spots to eat on a beach day.

Joe's Crab Shack ~ Oh, if I crave a seafood steam pot and a cold beer, this is where I go. Joe's Crab Shack is located not far from the beaches on PCH, and is looking at the Balboa Island's Grand canal. And, it may sound cheesy, but I love when all the waitress get up and start dancing to a catchy song on the loud speaker. It's a lot of fun!

Beachcombers Cafe  ~ This restaurant is located right on Crystal Cove beach. This is kind of like dining at the beach, not by the beach. No matter if it is morning, noon, or evening, it is always beautiful out here. And if you're up for a drink, try their Bloody Mary... just don't drive afterwards... even if you share it with some one...when you see it, you will know what I mean.

The Deck ~ Bring your honey here for a romantic sunset dinner. The drinks and food are delicious, and the atmosphere is relaxed and hip at the same time. There's even live music. 

Gelato Paradiso ~ This ice cream shop reminds me of gelateries in Italy - the shop's design, the ice cream taste... Gelato Paradiso is located in a small alleyway off PCH. Don't give up if you don't find it right away. This gelato is worth the effort. Pistachio is my favorite.
Most OC activities and entertainment are outdoors. And nothing will relax you more than being out in fresh air. By the time your head will hit the pillow, you will be sleeping like a baby...

Knotts Berry Farm ~ Okay, this is not a place where you go to relax, really. Have you seen The Boomerang? It will make you scream for your life. At least, it does that to me. He-he. Whether you ride roller coasters or not, you will find a lot of fun things to do here. Lots of fun for every age and kind. And the price is great!

Roger's Gardens ~ If you enjoy flowers, plants, and gardening, you must come visit this nursery. Even if you are not planning on buying anything, it is a beautiful place to just walk and relax. You can check out their beautiful arrangements and amazing holiday boutique, whether it is Christmas, or Halloween, or Easter. The selection and quality of plants are great, and, surprisingly, for a very affordable price! As a bonus, during weekends, they host gourmet food trucks. Need I say more? The frequent visitor Lobsta Truck is my favorite!

Tanaka Farms ~ You may never think that in the middle of the city of Irvine, there is a farm, but it's true... Well, it's more like an entertainment farm, but you will feel here as if you are in the countryside. The farm offers different fun wagon tours during each season: Strawberry Tours, Watermelon Tours, Pumpkin Patch Tours, and You Pick Tours.  Picking your own strawberries or veggies is a lot of fun for both kids and adults... and they taste just that much better too.

Downtown Disney ~ Obviously, Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, and a must visit. But, if you have a free evening, Downtown Disney is a fun place to visit too. Here you can enjoy the shops, the restaurants, and the live outdoor entertainment. You can even watch Disney's daily fireworks!

I will stop here for now. What are your favorite OC spots?

xo, Zuma A.
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