Sunshine and Strollers: A Family Vacation Guide to Orange County


Discovering Orange County with the Family

Hey fellow moms! When it comes to planning a family vacation that keeps everyone happy, Orange County in sunny Southern California is a no-brainer. I’m going to walk you through our favorite spots and give some handy tips to help you plan the perfect family trip.

Basking in the Sun and Surf

Alright, moms, get your beach bags ready! Orange County’s pristine beaches are about to become your family’s favorite vacation spots. And don’t forget to pack good sunscreen (SPF 50 works wonders), a cute sun hat for the kiddos, and plenty of beach toys for sandcastle building.

All About the Family-Friendly Newport Beach

If you’ve ever dreamed of a beach that offers clean sandy shores for your little ones to play and beautiful scenic views for you to soak in, Newport Beach is it. Perfect for those Instagram-worthy family photos or just a lazy day of building sandcastles and frolicking in the waves.

The waters here are typically calm and shallow near the shore, making it a safe and enjoyable environment for the children. Make sure to bring their favorite floaties and maybe even a small inflatable pool for the littlest ones.

Just up from the sand, the boardwalk is ideal for stroller cruising, and a bike ride (rentals are available) can be a fun family activity. Remember to take a leisurely walk down the Newport Pier, and catch a glimpse of the local fishermen. The views from there? Absolutely spectacular!

Creating Unforgettable Memories at Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, or “Surf City USA,” as it’s fondly called, is another jewel of Orange County that we adore. It’s more than just a beach; it’s a day-long outing with plenty of amenities and activities to keep the whole family entertained.

The beachfront playgrounds here are a major hit with the kids. Well-maintained and safe, they offer the perfect place for the kids to burn off some energy while you enjoy watching their joyous faces.

The designated picnic spots here are a blessing, especially when the little tummies start rumbling. Pack a picnic lunch or opt for one of the beachfront eateries; the options are aplenty. Think sandwiches, fruit, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

And the Huntington Beach Pier? A must-visit. It’s one of the longest piers on the West Coast and offers breathtaking views, especially during sunset. The Pier is also home to Ruby’s Diner, where you can enjoy a meal while looking out over the ocean. Plus, the kids will love the novelty of dining at the end of a pier!

Remember, no matter which beach you choose; it’s all about having fun and creating those treasured family memories. Happy beaching, moms!

Diving into Adventure at Theme Parks

Moms, prepare for squeals of delight and a day (or days!) packed full of fun because Orange County is a mecca for theme parks that are sure to dazzle kids and adults alike.

Creating Unforgettable Magic at Disneyland Park

The first stop on our thrilling adventure is Disneyland Park, a place that truly needs no introduction. Get ready to embark on a magical journey that’s certain to create lifelong memories for your family.

The look on my children’s faces when they first spotted the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle was absolutely priceless. A heartwarming sight I’m sure every mom would cherish! And that’s just the beginning. From joyous parades featuring their favorite Disney characters to magical rides that spark imagination and excitement, Disneyland never fails to fill our day with wonder and joy.

Pro tip? Make sure to plan your FastPasses strategically to skip the long lines for popular rides. Also, don’t forget to check the schedule for parades and fireworks. And pack some Disney costumes for the kids – they’ll fit right in!

Stepping into History at Knott’s Berry Farm

Next up is Knott’s Berry Farm, a treasure trove of fun and adventure with a unique historical twist. It’s not just a theme park with adrenaline-pumping rides (although there are plenty of those!), but it also offers an engaging and interactive history lesson for our little ones.

The Ghost Town in Knott’s Berry Farm, with its vintage charm and old West feel, never fails to intrigue my kids. They love the stagecoach ride, which gives them a taste of how travel used to be in the Old West. The blacksmith demonstrations and the interactive gold-panning experience always have them excitedly chattering on the ride home.

But let’s not forget the main attraction – the thrill rides! From gravity-defying roller coasters to exciting water rides, there’s an adventure waiting at every corner. For the littlest members of your family, Camp Snoopy offers a wide range of Peanuts-themed attractions that are equally fun but less hair-raising!

So buckle up, moms, because, between Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, you’re in for a thrilling ride packed with loads of fun, learning, and quality family time. Enjoy the ride!

Boosting Their Brains while Having a Blast!

Who said learning has to be boring? Not in Orange County! There are plenty of spots here that turn education into an exciting escapade. Get ready for some edutainment, moms!

Engaging with Science at Discovery Cube

Discovery Cube is one of our family’s favorite spots where science is anything but dull. Here, learning becomes an interactive journey that has the kids hooked from the get-go.

My little ones absolutely adore the hands-on exhibits that make complex scientific concepts easy and fun to understand. The ‘Planetary Research Station’ is always a hit, transforming them into little astronauts exploring Earth’s changing weather patterns through an incredible 3D experience.

Remember to check out the ‘Dino Quest’ – a fun, interactive exhibit that takes kids on a digital scavenger hunt in the world of dinosaurs. And their ‘Eco Challenge’ exhibit is a fantastic way to instill an understanding of recycling and conservation from a young age. Pack a picnic to enjoy in their outdoor lunch area to recharge for more exploration!

Immersing in Culture at Bowers Museum

For a shift from science to culture and history, we head to Bowers Museum. This place is a vibrant and exciting window into the diverse cultures and histories of the world.

The Kidseum section here is specially designed for our young explorers. Interactive exhibits allow them to try out ancient musical instruments, excavate artifacts in an archaeology lab, and even try on clothing from different cultures.

The museum hosts family festivals throughout the year with music, dance, arts and crafts, food, and more – so do check out their schedule! Trust me, moms, Bowers Museum makes learning about global culture an exciting adventure for our little ones.

There you have it, fellow moms. Orange County seamlessly merges education and entertainment, making learning an absolute thrill for our kids. Who knew that boosting their brains could be this much fun? Enjoy the edutainment!

For the Love of Shopping!

Alright, moms, let’s switch gears. Let’s talk about the glorious indulgence we all secretly love – shopping! Orange County is a shopper’s paradise, with options to fit every budget and style.

High-End Indulgences at South Coast Plaza

When I feel the need to pamper myself and indulge in a bit of luxury, I head straight to South Coast Plaza. This place is a haven for all things posh, with an array of high-end brands such as Gucci, Chanel, and Prada, to name a few.

But don’t fret; it’s not all just designer labels. South Coast Plaza also houses our favorite household brands like Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo, ensuring a diverse shopping experience. It’s the perfect place to find that special something for a mom’s night out or maybe even snag a stylish new outfit for the kiddos.

And if shopping gets too tiring, there’s a great selection of restaurants and cafes to rest your feet and refuel.

Score Deals at The Outlets at Orange

On the flip side, for those days when I’m on the hunt for bargain finds without compromising on style, I find myself at The Outlets at Orange. Here, I can score great deals on brands like Gap, Banana Republic, and Nordstrom Rack.

The best part? It’s not just about shopping. The Outlets at Orange also offer entertainment options that keep the kids occupied and happy. The Vans Skatepark is a hit with the older kids, and the little ones love the Dave & Buster’s.

So, whether you’re looking for a luxurious indulgence or a savvy deal, Orange County’s shopping scene has got you covered. So, go on, moms, enjoy that well-deserved retail therapy!

Savoring Orange County’s Delights

Food – it’s not just about sustenance; it’s an essential part of the travel experience. In Orange County, you’re in for a tasty treat, with options to tickle everyone’s taste buds.

Relishing in Kid-Friendly Eateries

Mealtime is made easy in Orange County with a multitude of family-friendly eateries around. When we’re on the hunt for places where both the kids and I can enjoy a satisfying meal, a few spots always hit the mark.

IHOP, with its impressive pancake menu, is a perennial favorite. My little ones can never resist the funny face pancake, and I confess, their mouthwatering stack of double blueberry pancakes is hard for me to resist too!

We’re also fans of The Old Spaghetti Factory, where the ambiance is as fun as the food. With its unique and whimsical decor, it feels like dining in an old-fashioned train car, making the meal an experience in itself. The kids menu offers variety, and their signature Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese never fails to please.

Handy Travel Tips for Moms

Moms, we know traveling with kids is no easy feat, but a little planning goes a long way in ensuring a fun-filled, stress-free family vacation.

Pack smart and always have essentials like snacks (think granola bars, crackers, and fruit), sunscreen, hats, and wet wipes at hand. These lifesavers have saved us from many a travel tantrum!

Remember, kids need downtime to recharge, so schedule in some rest between activities. A midday break at the hotel for a nap or some pool time works wonders.

Also, choosing accommodation near our main activities has been a game-changer. This saves us from long travel times and allows for easy returns for any forgotten items (because with kids, there’s always something!).

So, there you have it, moms – a scoop on dining and handy travel tips to help you have a fun, hassle-free family vacation in Orange County. Enjoy every delicious bite and every unforgettable moment!

Mom’s Essential Takeaway

Orange County, from my experience, is a destination that checks all the boxes for a memorable family vacation. It seamlessly combines fun, education, relaxation, and those precious moments of pure joy that we, as moms, cherish deeply.

Whether your family is soaking up the sun at one of the pristine beaches, exploring the enchanting world of Disneyland, getting a fun-filled education at Discovery Cube, indulging in retail therapy, or savoring the delectable local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this sunny haven.

So, trust me on this one, moms – Orange County is a place that will capture your heart and have your family yearning to return again and again!

On a final note, if you’ve fallen so in love with Orange County that you’re considering a move, make sure you reach out to the best local movers in Orange County. They’ll make your transition smooth, stress-free, and easy, leaving you free to continue making those precious family memories.

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your family vacation in Orange County, all from a mom’s perspective. Enjoy every moment, and remember, the journey is just as important as the destination!


Q: What’s the best time to visit Orange County? We found spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are ideal, with fewer crowds and mild weather.

Q: Are Orange County’s beaches kid-safe? Absolutely! Newport Beach and Corona Del Mar State Beach are particularly safe for little ones.

Q: Any recommendations for family-friendly restaurants? We love IHOP and The Old Spaghetti Factory!

Q: Can I rent baby gear in Orange County? Sure thing! Services like ‘Traveling Baby Company’ and ‘Babies Getaway’ offer rentals.

Q: Are strollers allowed in theme parks? Yes, but always check each park’s stroller policies.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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2 months ago

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