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Hidden Dana Point Waterfall

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Best of OC, Dana Point, Featured | 1 comment

  One of my favorite hidden gems of Orange County is the secret Dana Point waterfall. Ever since I was a teenager, I would always jump into the car on a rainy day to admire the splendor of this natural beauty. Now that I have kids, our favorite thing to do on a rainy day is going to see the Dana Point waterfall. After we are done watching the waterfall in the rain, we warm-up with a cup of hot cocoa and breakfast at The Harbor House Cafe. Runoff from the city of Dana Point is the cause of the waterfall – so do not go near the water. While it is not the kind of waterfall that you can swim in on the islands of Hawaii ~ it is just as beautiful to admire. What to know… You...

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Laguna Beach Sea Cave and Hidden Swimming Pool

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  If I was to tell the exact location of this sea cave..I would probably be lynched by my local friends. Plus, it is not safe for those to explore who are not used to walking on tide pools with bare feet and spent their toddler years on these beaches. As a child, my parents had a house that hung over the cliffs of this sea cave, and I spent most of my childhood exploring it. Yet..I would not allow my children to go into it because it is not safe for younger children or inexperienced swimmers/rock climbers. Why am I sharing? Our past summers were all about exploring and sharing the beaches in Laguna, and this summer we were committed to discovering/sharing local sea caves. This sea cave is my favorites and leads to a hidden swimming pool...

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Dana Point Sea Caves

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Beaches, Best of OC, Dana Point | 0 comments

  This summer is all about discovering the many sea caves along our beautiful coastline, and today we discovered the Dana Point Sea Caves. I have heard of these sea caves and had always wondered where they were located. Since I knew, they were somewhere around The Ocean Institute, the kids and I set out for the day to find out their exact location. Things we learned! The sea caves are only accessible during low tide (check surfline.com). There is a “small” path to the sea caves, but you’ll want to make sure your kids are wearing water shoes or tennis shoes. My kids were in flip flops, and we had a lot of stubbed toes during our adventure. There is also not a lot of shade along the walk so bring a hat and apply plenty of sunscreen....

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From Surf City to Snow City

Posted by on Mar 5, 2015 in Events, Featured, Huntington Beach | 0 comments

  Monday, March 2, 2015 will be go down in history for us Surf City residents! For 20 magical minutes we went from Surf City to Snow City! Snow, Sand, Sun and Waves what more could you ask for? The fact that it melted within hours of falling didn’t disappoint us! Neither did the fact that it was hail and not actual snow if we want to get scientific about it. We had surf and snow for 1 day and for many long time Huntington Beach residents it was amazing and a sight to behold. Word traveled fast around here. Lesson plans stopped momentarily at our school and the kids and teachers headed to the windows and doors to watch this winter wonderland magic. The community came out to watch the pier and sand get layered in a blanket...

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Free Sea Glass Jewelry Making Class at Crystal Cove State Beach

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Beaches, Events, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Crystal Cove is one of my favorite places to take the children to explore the tide pools. We always see something new every time that we visit making it a memorable experience. During our recent trip, I had taken my younger son to have lunch at The Beachcomber. While we were waiting for a table, we noticed a sign directing visitors to a free sea glass jewelry making class. When we walked over the bridge, there was a large table with a sea of colored sea glass for my son to pick out, and turn into a jewelry keepsake from our visit to Crystal Cove. There was a volunteer at the table who helped to walk me and my son through the entire process of turning the piece of sea glass into jewelry. Once we were done, there...

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The Real OC Baby Beach

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Beaches, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Dana Point and Newport Harbor have what most people in Orange County refer to as the “baby beach.” It is located right inside the harbor and has no waves. Parents can feel safer by taking their children to these beaches without the fears of having their kids washed out to sea. What you will not see is many native Orange County locals bringing their babies to this beach. Why? It is a harbor. The water is grey and usually has yucky moss. (As my son would refer to it as ‘The Grinch’ in the water) The channel does not allow the water to come in and out enough that there can sometimes be higher levels of bacteria in harbor waters. I grew-up sailing my boat in and out of these harbors, and I would see what would leak...

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Picnic Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Beaches, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Picnic Beach is one of the most popular beaches to visit in Laguna Beach. It has the large Heisler Park just steps away where families can have picnic meals and features a long sandy beach. It is located right in-between Rockpile Beach and Divers Cove right in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach. One of the best features of this beach is that there are nice clean bathrooms at the top of the ramp leading down to the beach. The waves are moderate at this beach and are perfect for kids who are looking for a beach to go boogie boarding. The only downside to this beach is that it gets crowded, although not as crowded as Main Beach or Aliso Creek Beach. Where is it? It is located at the corner of Cliff Street and Jasmine Street...

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Divers Cove Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Divers Cove is a popular diving destination for locals, and always a prime beach for families to visit in Orange County this summer. It is located right in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach..just steps away from Main Beach – minus the big crowds. Divers Cove has lots of fun rocks for children to climb and explore when the tide is low, and crystal clear waters for swimming. Since Diver’s Cove is located so close to downtown Laguna Beach, parking at this beach is always a challenge on the weekend. When visiting during the summer, we recommend finding convenient parking near a trolley pick-up location, and having the (free) trolley take your family to the beach. (the drop-off trolley location is Heisler Park). The beach is shaped like a cove and is filled with beautiful fish. Bring your...

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Keeping kids active this summer at Pirate Coast Paddle Summer Camp

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in Camp, Family, Featured, Newport Beach | 6 comments

  Many parents struggle with keeping their kids active during the summer. With the distractions of video games and television shows, many children don’t get the physical exercise that their growing bodies need during the long hot summer days. With the extreme summer heat that we are having in Orange County, sending kids to summer camp that keeps them active and cool is the perfect way to get kids excited about going outside and ….playing! My kids have been attending Pirate Coast Paddle Summer Camp for the past couple of years, and it has always ended up being their favorite summer memories. The camp is set-up as the traditional summer camps that I attended in the 80’s with cool counselors, and good old fashioned fun. When the kids first arrive in the morning, they help get set-up for the...

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Newport Dunes Beach Playground

Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in Beaches, Newport Beach, Newport Beach, Parks | 1 comment

  When thinking about visiting Newport Dunes, many of us always automatically think about camping and swimming. Newport Dunes is so much more than just a camping destination including their incredible beach playground. The park is located just steps away from the parking lot, and is open all-year long..not just the summer! There are two-play structures, multiple small play equipment, swings and picnic tables. Did I mention there is also a giant whale sculpture for climbing? Oh yeah…there is! Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the multiple tables shaded by large trees. There is also a snack bar where kids can cool down with a yummy ice cream cone or enjoy a delicious sweet treat. Did I mention bathrooms? There are nice “clean” bathrooms located just steps away from the park. After...

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Rockpile Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Just when we thought that we had covered all of the beaches in Laguna, we discovered one that we had missed – Rockpile Beach. While we had been here a hundred times, we always thought it was part of Heisler Park (aka. Picnic Beach). This hidden gem of Orange County is often overlooked because many of the tourists will head over to Main Beach or Picnic Beach – skipping this beach. The water is crystal clear with beautiful turquoise hues. The only downside to this beach is that swimming is not allowed. While my kids freaked out when they saw a giant red sign telling them that no swimming was allowed in the beautiful waters below, they discovered that they were perfectly content with just “playing” in the water. The beach is a giant tide pool. The kids...

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Riviera Beach in San Clemente

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in San Clemente | 0 comments

  One of our very favorite beaches in Orange County is Riviera Beach in San Clemente.  Riviera lies South of the pier and North of San Clemente State Beach and Campground, and is a great beach for kids due to it’s sandy bottom and outside break.  It can get swells, too, when conditions are right, so it’s popular with the surf crowd as well. Access to the beach is through the Riviera residential district.  Parking, found only on neighborhood streets, can be in short supply on busy summer days and the weekends, so it can be a bit of a walk from the car, but completely worth it. There is a turn around in the cul de sac directly above the access point, so dropping kids and beach gear and then parking is possible. Beach access is to the...

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Linda Lane Beach in San Clemente

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Beaches, San Clemente | 0 comments

  Linda Lane Beach in San Clemente may be one of the perfect – if not the perfect – kid beach in Orange County.  With it’s sandy bottom, outside break, and long shoreline, it is a great place for young kids to play in the water as well as older kids to boogie board (all with supervision, of course). Add to that it’s relatively close parking and stroller accessibility and it’s a beach-going Mama’s dream come true. It’s adventure waiting to happen, I tell you, all within a toddler’s walk from the car.  Hooray! Parking is readily accessible, although it does fill up quickly on busier summer days. Meters, which accept cash or credit card, are available in the parking lot. Once parked, it’s a short, albeit steep, walk down a ramp to a tunnel under the railroad tracks...

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Orange County’s Coastal Gem: Shaw’s Cove

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Sun-glistening waves amongst a setting of beautiful rugged cliffs and swaying palm trees remind you of the reason we live in Southern California. Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach is a California travel brochure brought to life. Our family loves this beach because it has something for everyone. The coastline creates a natural barrier to the large swells. The smaller waves help to lessen anxiety we may have felt at other beaches with our young children. We are able to relax and enjoy the fun, rather than anxiously anticipating the large sets coming in. This protection from the swells also lends it to be an environment perfect for diving and snorkeling, so don’t forget your snorkel gear. Scuba-diving instructors use the reef as their classroom and many lessons are taught here. Low-tide is a great time to explore the...

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Aliso Creek Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Beaches, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Aliso Creek Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Laguna next to Main Beach. It is also one of the last beaches in Orange County where families can still have a nighttime bonfire. Why is it so popular? Parking is a breeze, they have a snack bar and a fun playground. Aliso Creek Beach is located at 31131 S Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. There is a large parking lot (fee based) and overflow parking in a lot across the street. There is also a lot of free street parking, but it is on a busy part of PCH with a lot of blind spots, so I don’t recommend it. The beach has beautiful white sand, and lots of places for your family to spend a summer day. If your family is coming to use...

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Aliso Creek Beach Playground in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Beaches, Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, Parks | 0 comments

  It has been a longtime favorite for residents to bring their kids down to the Aliso Creek Beach playground in Laguna Beach throughout the warm summer months. It is a favorite birthday party destination, place for families to enjoy a picnic lunch or just play with beautiful ocean views. Although the park backs the popular PCH, it is nicely protected by trees and large shrubs to help keep the kids safe while playing. Our favorite part of visiting this park is that parking is made easy with their large parking lot (families must pay a fee to park). The park is located right at the corner of Aliso Creek Beach, with a GPS address of 31131 S Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach. Planning a birthday party? There are two picnic benches for birthday parties (first come/first serve) and...

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Catch a Wave at Thalia Street Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 14, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Have your kids been dreaming of becoming a surfer? The best way to start is to bring them to see Orange County’s top surfers train at the popular Orange County surfing destination – Thalia Street Beach. Thalia Street Beach is located at the corner of Thalia Street and PCH. Parking is limited, so I encourage your family to arrive early to get a parking spot that is close to the beach access. Once your family walks down the steps to Thalia Street Beach, they will be immersed into a surfing wonderland. During the early morning and weekdays, your kids will have a unique opportunity to see some of the best surfers in Orange County train for competitions and show their talents with the world. There will be coaches walking along the edge of the water helping the young...

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Brooks Street Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 2 comments

  Brooks Street Beach in Laguna Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches along the coastline. It is nestled right in the corner of a long strip of crystalline sand. The beach is often a place where locals will relax on the giant rock formations, swim and just spend a summer day relaxing under the warm sun. Brooks Street Beach is located right next to Oak Street Beach at the corner of Brooks Street and Ocean Front. Just like most of the beaches in this area of Laguna, parking is a challenge, so plan to arrive early – or you’ll find you family walking quite a distance. The highlight of this beach is there is a public outdoor shower! One of the few in Laguna Beach. The shower is located right at the top of the stairs where...

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Ultimate Skimboarding at Oak Street Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Beaches, Featured, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Do your kids like to skimboard? Have they wanted to learn how? Then bring them down to Oak Street Beach in Laguna Beach for the best place to learn and enjoy skimboarding in Orange County. Oak Street Beach is right next in-between Brooks Street Beach and Anita Street Beach. This section of the beach is always full with local kids showing off their ultimate skimboarding tricks while encouraging new kids to give it a try. Oak Street Beach can be found at the corner of Oak Street and Gaviota Drive in laguna Beach. (Right across the street from Gina’s Pizza) Parking is not easy – so we recommend arriving early, and there is always metered parking to be found on the surrounding streets (bonus that they accept credit cards..yeah) At the top of the stairs is a beautiful...

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Anita Street Beach in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Beaches, Laguna Beach | 0 comments

  Anita Street Beach located in Laguna Beach is a great beach to visit with your family this summer. It is frequented by local teens on the weekdays, and families on the weekends. Our favorite thing about this beach is that it is right across the street from our favorite frozen yogurt shop, Active Cultures, where we enjoy a refreshing frozen yogurt after a day at the beach. The challenge to visiting this beach is the parking. It is located right in the heart of downtown South Laguna Beach where all the popular shops and restaurants are located. It might take your family a little bit of driving around for a parking space, but it will be well worth it. Once your family finds a parking spot and walks down to the beautiful sandy beach, there are plenty of...

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