Written By: Dianna Armand
Orange County covers 948 square miles and is home to over 3.1 million people. Does that sound overwhelming? Yes, we think it does! Even in that expanse and all the people there are some amazing areas in Orange County that are definitely worth visiting. Whether it is a first date, a hike with your BFF, or a family trip with the kids, it is time to explore the OC. The first place we want to introduce you to is Victoria Beach. This is a beautiful white sand beach just South of Victoria Drive in Laguna Beach. The beach is great for a number of activities including scuba diving, skim boarding and exploring tide pools with the kids. The beach is a secluded gem, lined with mansions and beautiful views. Oh, and did we mention there is a pirate tower on the beach? This slightly askew turret was originally built in the 1920’s by the house directly above as a stairwell to access the beach. Keep in mind this wonder can only be reached at low tide. So check the tide charts, at this time of year best to go first thing in the morning.
If you go 35 miles inland from Laguna Beach down a tree lined road in Unincorporated Orange County right off the 241 you will find the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. Once inside the center, there are interactive activities for the kids with educators available to answer questions. It also offers more than 85 species of birds that you can view from the observation porch, and family friendly trails around the sanctuary. Make sure to check with the center for current hours of operation. If you want something more challenging you are in luck as the Sanctuary sits at the foot of Modjeska Peak. Modjeska Peak is the second highest peak of the Santa Ana Mountains, reaching 5945 feet. This hike is for those seeking a fitness challenge. It is a little more than 10 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 2250 feet. A longer and somewhat more primitive hike, it has little shade so adequate water and protection from the sun is required. You will enjoy a relatively private hike on this chaparral lined trail, as it is seldom crowded.
Last but certainly not least, let's go to San Juan Capistrano for the day. This is an outing the whole family can enjoy, even the grandparents. Yes we know you have heard about Mission San Juan Capistrano, but there is so much more to see. Head down early and start your morning with a fresh cup of coffee and a bite at Hidden House Coffee. A short walk from the coffee house in the Los Rios Historic District is the family owned and operated Zoomars Petting Zoo. Whether it is a horse, guinea pigs, goats, a cow or any of a number of other animals they are all available to see. You can see, pet and even feed them fresh vegetables. Just up from the zoo is a quaint tree line street next to the railroad tracks. This path is flanked by small, unique family owned shops. This historic town has the small town feel that encourages a leisurely stroll and taking in all the sites and sounds. Once you have worked up an appetite, have lunch inside a historic train depot at Travors at the Tracks. We encourage you to go out and explore the OC. From beaches, to hikes, to afternoon walks many options are available for you just a short drive away. As always share your adventures with us #seedinthewild #seedintheOC #seedadventures