summer orange county

A Family Friendly Summer in Orange County

Memorial Day has come and gone which technically means it's Summer, right?

Maybe not quite, as most kiddos are still in school. But the weather is warming up (this weekend anyway!) and the Summer bug is hitting us big time. So in celebration of all things surf, sand, and sun, we've compiled some of our favorite family friendly events in Orange County!

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Music Makes The People Come Together

Here in the OC we are blessed to have lots of incredible parks and beaches where each Summer the local cities put on a series of concerts throughout the area. This Summer the OC Concert Park Series has 10 outdoor concerts on Thursdays evenings starting June 21st. Some of our personal favorites will be present including Donovan Frankenreiter, Matt Costa, The Fenians, and The Tijuana Dogs! Pack a picnic or enjoy one of the many food trucks that will be on site. Admission is free for the whole family. 

Looking for Movie Nights in the park?? OC parks has that too

Looking to stay in your neck of the woods? Check out your city's Facebook pages or websites for other local concerts in the park - they're everywhere!

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Nature, Nature Everywhere!

If your kids are anything like mine then they love exploring and getting their hands dirty! Luckily there is no shortage of nature related activities nearby!

The Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine and the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach are two of our favorite local spots to go exploring. They both have incredible kids programs and nature camps or you can go together as a family and do some free-range exploring on your own. 

Go exploring with an actual Zookeeper from the OC zoo in the Wildlife Explorers Program! Events are held regularly throughout the Summer on Fridays at 10am. 

Looking for some awesome hikes? Santiago Oaks in Orange is great as is Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Don't forget to pack lots of sunscreen, water and snacks! 

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Reading Rainbow

Storytime is a huge hit around here and if you're looking for some indoor activities on those HOT summer days, these are a perfect option. We recommend you checking out your local library for one close to home, but we're including the ones we frequent as well. Make sure to check out the recommended age ranges to ensure it's appropriate for your own kiddo!

Ponderosa Library in Anaheim has two story times each week, including one on Saturdays at 11:30am! Score! The City of Orange offers several throughout the week including Bilingual story hour and Lapsit story time for those under two. Lapsit is awesome as it includes nursery rhymes, finger puppets, and more interaction to keep the little ones engaged. Switch it up a little with story time amongst the redwoods or an evening option where everyone wears their pajamas!

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Let's Get Moving

It's no secret that kids have lots of energy to burn and summer time seems to accelerate that energy. With all that Vitamin D to be had, Summer is no time to stay indoors! (Except for nap time. Nap time is sacred.) Get moving with a variety of fitness and play options!

YMCA of Orange County is guaranteed to have some great choices as will your city parks & recreation program. From soccer, to basketball, to swim, putting your kids in a summer sports program not only encourages regular physical activity, it helps them stay social when they aren't in school... not to mention it wears them out so they're ready to crash when the come home!

The Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim has some of the best kid-friendly hikes around as does Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach. On a particularly hot day, a short hike in Crystal Cove followed by a dip in the ocean is incredible!

If you & your child are into zen activities, check out KindKarma, a yoga studio with Family Yoga and Kids yoga classes! This Lake Forest studio even has an awesome summer camp!

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Splish Splash

You didn't think we'd forget the ever so popular water play did you?! NEVER. We are water babies ourselves so beaches, splash parks, and tide pools are the best! 

Hands down the best water play area is in La Mirada at Splash! No, it's not free, but it is well worth the money! As is Moe B's at the Newport Dunes which is now double the size (this one is more for proficient, confident swimmers, just an FYI). Looking for some free or low cost options? Check out Sprayground in Laguna Niguel, Pioneer Road Park in Tustin, or Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach.

If you want to mix exploring and water play, we highly recommend the tide pools at Little Corona on Ocean & Poppy in Corona Del Mar, or Shaw's Cove and Treasure Island, both in Laguna Beach. When exploring the tide pools in Orange County, it's a good idea to wear shoes, and remember that collecting sea animals and rocks are prohibited. Pro tip: check the tide before you go or you might find a beach covered with water and no tide pools in site. 


Of course, there are tons more family-centered events throughout all of Orange County! If you have a favorite that wasn't listed here, please share in the comments as we're always looking for new ways to explore. 

Beat the Heat in the OC

Summer has officially arrived and with the heat wave we had a few weeks ago, it's clear that it is here to stay! Luckily the options to beat the heat in Orange County are bountiful. Whether you prefer to be near the beach, be indoors, or go exploring, the OC has it.

Scores of people are looking to get out of the sun without spending too much money. But the moviescan get a bit crowded during the summer months, so here are some of OC Doula Collective's favorite places and activities to enjoy the sunny weather without overheating.

Museums

Add a little culture to your day while exploring the museums in Orange County, many of which are kid friendly! We have the Bowers and OCCCA in Santa Ana, The Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, just to name a few. Long Beach has the MOLAA and The Long Beach Museum of Art which has stunning views of the ocean. If you're feeling adventurous, head to Los Angeles to visit the ever-popular LACMA or the Zimmer's Children's Museum. Most museums have discounted pricing on certain days of the week as well as kids pricing. 

Splash Parks & Outdoor Water Play

These amazing venues are popping up all over Orange County and are a great way to cool in the middle of teh day when the heat is most unbearable. The amazing people at Fun Orange County Parks have compiled and updated a wonderful list for the Summer of 2016. Keep in mind that the drought may affect the parks openings, so check with the venue first before planning your trip.  

Low Cost Family Fun

Sticking to a budget this summer? Get together with a few friends and go in on some fun water toys – a kiddie pool, sprinklers, water balloons, etc. Plan a play-date once a week (or more) at someone's home and go to town with all your toys! Water balloon fights aren't just for kids, you know! Try making one of these homemade popsicles as a special treat for your guests. 

Stay Indoors

Need to get out of the house but want to stay indoors? There are a plethora of businesses that offer a reprieve from the heat, sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Most people resort to the movies, but we love going bowling or to an indoor playground. Just a short drive down the 405, Long Beach has the INCREDIBLE Aquarium of the Pacific. Keeping costs to a minimum? Go window shopping at South Coast Plaza and treat yourself to an iconic ice cream cone at Hans' Homemade Ice Cream, just a short walk across the street!

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches

This is Southern California, so the beaches are a given. They're in high demand for tourists and locals alike, but really are the epitome of an OC Summer. Our biggest tip here is to get there early... and overpack. Pack a lunch, sand toys, extra clothes, lots of sunscreen and water, and a big umbrella to keep you cool. Make a whole day of it with friends and family and enjoy the cooler coastal temps. Sea and sand are good for the soul, that's a fact!

Whatever you do to beat the heat, be safe. Remember to drink lots of fluids and to let your body rest after a long day of fun in (or out of) the sun! And if you have any favorite local spots we missed, let us know!