The Local’s Guide: 14 Tips for Authentic Orange County Adventures
The balmy breezes of Orange County are calling. Is it time to finally answer? You decide! Today we bring you a local’s guide, letting you experience this golden county with expert advice.
So explore this west coast haven to your heart’s content, with these 14 tips for authentic adventures.
1. Lines Through US Customs Are Long
According to one frequent traveler, the lines through U.S. customs at LAX are so long that they’re longer than the line at the DMV on a Monday morning. So, give yourself plenty of time.
2. Make the Most of the Location
Orange County’s central location is ideal for day trips. You’ve got San Diego to the south – only a 1.5-hour drive. Likewise, you could reach L.A. in around an hour.
Not a fan of big cities? Not to worry. Nature lovers are also spoiled with the likes of Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia and Yosemite. However, for longer drives, it’s worth considering an overnight stay.
3. Try Something New
Embrace your spontaneous side with a new activity, such as kayaking at Newport Beach or surfing the waves at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
Alternatively, try your hand at archery, soar the skies by hot air balloon or catch a game at Angel Stadium. Remember, it’s not about what you do but the attitude you bring with you.
4. A Visit to Disneyland Is a Must
Another user said if you’re going to Disneyland, get there early to beat the crowds.
Also, if you can swing it, consider getting a Fast Pass to skip the lines on popular rides. And remember to try the churros. They’re the real star of the park!
5. Beware of Blind Spots While Driving
A third local warned about driving in Orange County. Cars have flat driver’s mirrors, so you’ll see the lane on the left or your door handle, but not both. So, the blind spots are massive.
Also, don’t forget that cars can turn right at red lights.
It’s like playing a game of Frogger but with a rental car.
6. Expect a Scorching Temperature
Be prepared for scorching temperatures, especially in the summer. Northern California can reach over 100°F in September, and it doesn’t cool until late evening.
A local also advised planning activities in the morning to beat the heat.
7. Carry Cash with You
One person cautioned about credit/debit card usage advising travelers to carry cash as some places may not accept cards. They also said that sometimes your card might not work at all. “Better safe than sorry” was their parting advice.
8. Mexican Food Is Outstanding
Another commenter shared that if planning to dine out in Orange County, you’ll find that the Mexican food is outstanding and anything with “BBQ” in the name.
This local further advised you to be prepared for a different payment experience – as some restaurants may take your credit or debit card away from you for payment. It’s just how things are done.
9. Fresh Produce and Seafood
One user shared their food experience in Orange County, noting that fresh bread takes time. As a result, they ended up avoiding sandwiches altogether. However, the user did mention that the food, in general, is excellent, with fresh produce and reasonably priced seafood as standout options.
10. Look Left When Crossing the Street
Somebody pointed out that it’s important to remember to look left when crossing the street, as traffic in the U.S. flows on the right-hand side.
This may seem obvious, but it’s a helpful reminder for those used to traffic flowing in the opposite direction.
Additionally, the person advised that it’s essential to be mindful of oncoming traffic when opening car doors, as this can be a hazard for drivers and pedestrians.
11. Don’t Expect to See Celebrities
Don’t expect to see celebrities! It’s a common misconception that one person cautioned against. However, they noted that it is common to run into celebrities unexpectedly. So just keep your expectations in check.
12. The Beaches
One resident recommended Strands or Salt Creek for the best beaches in South Orange County. They suggested sunglasses and elaborated that you should “expect to wear a hoodie and jeans as your warmest outfit.”
Finally, be sure to check the weather forecast before heading to the beach.
13. Knott’s Berry Farm
Many people will mention Disneyland as a top OC activity. Still, one resident recommended visiting Knott’s Berry Farm, alleging “It has a stronger ‘Southern California’ feel than Disneyland, as Disney is a global corporation.” Furthermore, “The food is better and cheaper!”
“They have Boysenberry everything.” The commenter noted that Knott’s Berry Farm is commercial but less so than Disneyland.
14. There Are a Lot of Multilane Roads
Finally, a local warned that the roads in Orange County could be overwhelming with the multiple lanes. So, if you find yourself lost, don’t worry. Instead, enjoy the ride and take comfort that you’ll eventually end up somewhere interesting, even if it’s different from where you initially planned to go.
Keep these travel tips in mind during your next visit to Orange County. It is nice to get advice from the locals!
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Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.