Immerse yourself in the ultimate Orange County vacation by exploring OC hot spots that the locals don’t want you to know about. This list has something for everyone from cruising scenic harbors, hiking to breath-taking vistas and getting sworn in as a pirate to discovering hidden restaurants and splashing around one of the longest water park lazy rivers.
1.) Get Launched 83 Miles-Per-Hour in 2.3 Seconds on Xcelerator
Enjoy over 30 exhilarating rides including the famous Timber Mountain Log Ride, visit the loveable Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang at Camp Snoopy and pan for gold at the only authentic 1880’s Ghost Town at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. Save $33 on adult and $7 on kid’s admission at VisitBuenaPark.com/deals.
2.) Be a VIP at the West Coast’s Largest Shopping Center
South Coast Plaza is Southern California’s premier shopping destination and home to over 250 boutiques, personal shopping services and upscale amenities. Stop by the California Welcome Center in Buena Park to pick up a free carousel ride and VIP Passport, full of exclusive offers for this OC wonderland.
3.) Hike Past Ancient Oak Groves
Irvine Open Space Preserve invites visitors to hike past ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops in Bommer Canyon; conquer the three-mile Orchard Hills loop for a breath-taking vista from Loma Ridge that consumes the coastal ridge; and explore Irvine’s southern wilderness via the Quail Hill Trail, the only trail that allows dogs.
4.) Cheer on Your Favorite Knight
At Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Buena Park, visitors are transported back in time to an era of jousting, sword fighting, brave knights and a meal fit for a king. You might recognize the dinner show from several television shows and feature films including the 1996 movie, Cable Guy with Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. Get a free Royal Upgrade: VIP seating, cheering banner and more at VisitBuenaPark.com/deals.
5.) Check Out the World’s Largest Surfboard
Huntington Beach offers 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline and an International Surfing Museum. The free museum is home to a 42-foot surfboard that holds the Guinness World Record as the ‘World’s Largest Surfboard’ and an artifact exhibit honoring Hawaiian surfer, Eddie Aikau.
6.) Explore a Presidential Helicopter
At the Richard Nixon Library and Museum, history buffs can step aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter that traveled the world with Nixon as well as Kennedy, Johnson and Ford. Visitors to the museum will also find an exact replica of the White House East Room, Nixon’s childhood home and the memorial sites of the President and First Lady.
7.) Graduate from Skipper School
Secret tip: After riding the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland®, ask the skipper for a map as you disembark. The maps are given to sailors who complete skipper school by making animal noises from some of the creatures that are seen along the ride.
8.) Salute the Martini Flag and Enjoy the Sunset
Every evening since the 1930’s the bugle is sounded and the “martini flag” is raised at 5pm to signal the end of a work day and time to relax at The Beachcomber Café. Located on Crystal Cove Beach, the restaurant offers outdoor patio seating for watching spectacular sunsets and dolphins playing in the waves.
9.) Brave 63-foot Waterslides on Old Man Falls
Knott’s Soak City, a 13-acre California beach themed waterpark in Buena Park, features one of the world’s longest lazy rivers, a rolling wave pool, dozens of waterslides and kid’s splash area. Save $12 at VisitBuenaPark.com/deals.
10.) Get Sworn in as a Pirate
At Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, Captain Sebastian the Black is seeking new recruits for his crew. Young landlubbers to the “World’s Most Interactive Dinner Show” may be called aboard to take the pirate’s oath and join the crew on their adventure. Save some treasure with a buy one-get one free offer at visitbuenapark.com/deals.
11.) Dine Aboard A Floating Restaurant
Well-known for their delicious brunch and dinner cruises, Hornblower also offers a two-hour Sunset Cocktail Cruise during the summer. The scenic boat ride in Newport Beach includes complimentary appetizers, music and cash bar. Save a boatload with a buy one get-one free deal at Visitbuenapark.com/deals.
12.) Uncover the Hidden Door to a 1920’s Speakeasy
The Anaheim Packing House in the OC is a foodie’s paradise, with a collection of unique restaurants, outdoor activities and live music. Hungry patrons will find fresh seafood, made-to-order popsicles, gourmet grilled cheeses and authentic southern food. Want a refreshing cocktail? Well, you’ll have to find it first. Behind a non-discreet wall of sake barrels with a small black rabbit on it lies a speakeasy appropriately named, the Blind Rabbit.
13.) Bonus Challenge – Pig Out on Award-Winning Ice Cream
Take a step back in time to a wildly fun, turn of the century ice cream parlour and restaurant awarded “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” by the Food Network. For more than fifty years, Farrell’s has been serving up splendidly oversized ice cream treats like the Pig’s Trough, Hot Fudge Volcano and the mother of all desserts – The Zoo! See if you can devour the oversized sundae, which includes 30 scoops of ice cream topped with chocolate sauce, strawberries, marshmallow, whipped cream, cherries and bananas.
VISIT BUENA PARK
Located just 5 miles from Disneyland®, 10 miles from beaches and 20 miles from Los Angeles is the charming town of Buena Park in the OC. A vacation hot spot, the city is home to world-famous entertainment, interactive dinner shows and one-of-kind shopping. Visit Buena Park, the tourism bureau for the City of Buena Park is dedicated to offering first class customer service to visitors and groups traveling to Buena Park. They promote the Buena Park/Orange County brand as well as develop and support destination marketing programs and initiatives. For more information contact Visit Buena Park at 800-541-3953 or www.visitbuenapark.com.