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Family Fun: Your California Beach, Golf and Disneyland Vacation!

By Edited Nov 22, 2014 12 17

Fun Family Vacations in Orange County

Including Popular Beach Towns

Does your family all have different ideas about where to go this summer?  Family vacations can be planned to include activities for everyone! The Orange County communities of Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, California make up a series of unique and gorgeous beach towns, each only about a 20-40 minute drive from Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Orange County is one of California’s more popular vacation spots. As a result, it is easy to combine beach vacations, golf vacations and Disney vacations all in one trip. There is no longer a need to choose between spending time at “The Happiest Place on Earth” and enjoying a sunny golf course or playtime next to the ocean. Here are some of the vacation ideas you can look forward to if you decide to combine your Disneyland vacation with time in one of the nearby Orange County resort communities!


Disneyland is only minutes from beautiful beaches


Orange County Seaside Villages:  


There are miles of beaches along the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, along the shores of Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, and even a small sandy area for children in the Dana Point Harbor.

The town of Huntington Beach actually is the world famous Surf City that the Beach Boys sang about in the 1960's. It is a great place to practice surfing, build a sand castle or just swim. In addition, you can also enjoy these same aquatic activities in Laguna Beach and along the BalboaPeninsula in Newport Beach. The small beach at the Dana Point Harbor is ideal for families with young children.

There are numerous charming shops on Balboa Island and at the Dana Point Harbor, as well as in downtown Laguna Beach. Dana Point Harbor also boasts an Ocean Institute, as well as a couple of beautifully restored antique sailboats.


The Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach has a fun zone with arcade games, T-shirt shops, restaurants and the opportunity to take harbor cruises or even a day cruise to Catalina Island. You can also rent an electric Duffy boat and drive around the bays and islands that make up much of the waterfront.


The streets of Laguna Beach are lined with numerous art galleries and an art museum.  In addition, the town also hosts several art festivals during the summer.


If you are interested in shopping, Newport Beach is home to Fashion Island with a wide selection of department stores and boutiques which are popular with both locals and tourists.


Orange County Golf Courses:


Golf is a popular activity for both Orange County residents and the tourists, and nearly all of the local communities have a wide selection of golf courses which are open to the public. They range from the affordable Arroya Trabuco Golf Club, the moderately priced Strawberry Farms Golf Course and Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine, to the exquisite Pelican Hill in the Newport Coast area of Newport Beach. All of these golf courses have websites, and you can also learn more about many of the Orange County golf courses at www.playocgolf.com.


Disneyland Activities:


Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom is world famous for it’s variety of rides and attractions including Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and numerous other popular rides and attractions. A day in the Magic Kingdom can be delightful for visitors of all ages, but especially for young children and their families!


Disney’s California Adventure is a separate theme park, next to the Magic Kingdom. It is possible to buy park hopper tickets that will allow you access to both parks on the same day. Disney’s California Adventure park contains an additional selection of rides and attractions, many with a California theme, such as Soarin’ Over California, Toy Story Mania, the Paradise Pier, the Ferris Wheel, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the Hollywood Pictures Backlot and many other rides and attractions. The new nighttime show, World of Color, is spectacular.


Downtown Disney is located next to both California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom. It is open to the public without a ticket into Disneyland. It is a great place to meet up with friends or family members who are spending time in the amusement parks while you have been lying around the beach or catching a round of golf. Downtown Disney has a variety of hotels, shops and restaurants which are enjoyable by themselves, including the Rain Forest Cafe, and House of Blues.


Sometimes it is cheaper to buy your souvenirs before you arrive in California.  You may also wish to get your children a few things after you return home.  If you wish, you can use this direct link to Disney souvenirs from Amazon.com.


Orange County, California Hotels:

 Where can you stay? There are hundreds of hotels in Orange County, starting at the southern end of this string of beach towns with the Ritz Carlton and St. Regis hotels in Dana Point. Laguna Beach, just north of Dana Point, contains a variety of beachfront hotels including the spectacular Montage Hotel and the charming, historic Laguna Beach Hotel. Newport Beach has the Balboa Bay Club and is also a wonderful place to stay.

If you would like to find vacation rentals, many beachfront homes and apartments are available. Huntington Beach also has a number of hotels, both large and small, that only require you to cross the street or take a short drive to be right on the sand. Most of the beaches have abundant parking available. 

Because of the availability of beach parking, you might also decide to stay in Anaheim, where there are numerous hotels in virtually every price range, including the hotels that are connected with Disneyland such as the Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. You can also choose to stay in one of Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotels, a selection of over 40 hotels near Disneyland which are linked to the Disney website. You may be able to get special vacation packages in Anaheim that include your multi-day Disneyland pass. However, comparison shop with the hotels and resorts in the different beach communities, as well .You may be able to buy your Disneyland pass separately, and still save time and money by staying near the ocean.

Only you can decide where you are likely to spend the most time during your Orange County vacation! The advantage of staying in one of the beach towns is the proximity to the ocean and several gorgeous golf courses, such as the spectacular Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, which overlooks the Pacific. The advantage of staying near Disneyland is that you will have a room where you can go and relax during your long day in the park. Some guests may want to split up their trip … spending a few days near the beach followed by a night or two in a hotel near Disneyland.

Wherever you decide to stay, and however you decide to occupy your time, Orange County, California is an ideal location for family vacations!


Orange County Restaurants:

There is almost no end to the selection of Orange County restaurants from which to choose. Downtown Disney has restaurants which include Goofy’s Kitchen, where you can enjoy lunch or dinner with the Disney characters, without having to pay to enter either of the Disney Parks. There are also a number of restaurants which are fun for the entire family, such as the Rain Forest Café. House of Blues is a wonderful spot for mom and dad, if they can get off by themselves one evening.

The beach towns have a wide selection of restaurants, as well. At the south, the Dana Point Harbor and Mariners Village is a delightful place to stroll, look at the tall-masted sailing ships, visit the Dana Point Ocean Institute, and eat outdoors in any of a number of waterside restaurants such as The Harbor Grill and Harpoon Henry’s Seafood Restaurant. Laguna Beach has everything from exquisite dining at The Studio in the Montage Hotel, to casual dining at the Corner Greeter next to Main Beach. Las Brisas in Laguna Beach is popular with our family both for the seafood menu and the fabulous ocean sunsets! As you travel north along the PCH, Newport Beach has restaurants everywhere! You can visit the shops and restaurants at the Fashion Island shopping center, or drive onto quaint Balboa Island or the Balboa Peninsula for a wide selection of everything from Italian to seafood. Taking the PCH further north, you will continue to pass a large selection of restaurants in Huntington Beach, until the road eventually turns inland.

There is no reason to go hungry when you visit the OrangeCounty beach communities.Hope you and your family enjoy planning your California vacation!


If you enjoy traveling, you may also be interested in reading these articles:



Cheap Hotels near Disneyland


The Fairmont Orchid Hotel: One of the Best Family Resorts in Hawaii


Universl Studios Hollywood, a review


Why We Love the Beach House Restaurant Laguna Beach



Get a Guide Book That Includes Orange County & Disneyland

Fodor's Los Angeles: with Disneyland & Orange County (Full-color Travel Guide)
Amazon Price: $19.99 $10.94 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 22, 2014)
This book will help you learn more about what is available in the area. The perfect aide to help you plan your trip!


Aug 6, 2010 9:49am
Great tips on family fun vacation to the California beach
Aug 6, 2010 9:10pm
Wonderful article. The ocean views from the Pelican Hill golf course are awesome! Laguna Beach and Newport Beach are a couple of my favoirte places to go. Great information, thanks Deborah-Diane!
Aug 8, 2010 4:51pm
Excellent article. I also have to recommend the fabulous views from Cannon's restaurant in Dana Point.
Aug 8, 2010 10:44pm
Thank you Introspective and Divaonline for mentioning the views from some of our Orange County restaurants and golf courses. I, too, love the views from the restaurant at the Pelican Hill golf course, and will have to give Cannon's a try sometime soon!
Jan 26, 2011 12:02am
Great article. I've lived in 38 states and California isn't one of them. In fact i've still never been there but hope to go soon you make it more of a priority thanks.
Jan 26, 2011 9:33am
Four years ago I took a solo vacation to stay with friends in Laguna. Your article brought back lots of warm memories!
Jan 26, 2011 1:34pm
Fabulous article! Just enjoyed it again. Congratulations for a well deserved front page! Love the photo!
Jan 26, 2011 6:41pm
Congratulations on this fabulous feature article. ^^
Jan 26, 2011 8:05pm
Great tips. I am going to Orange County in May so I'll have to check some of these places out.
Jan 27, 2011 8:18pm
I love California, and haven't traveled much below Santa Monica so this is great info!
Feb 2, 2011 7:48pm
Glad you found the information helpful! Hope you get to visit Orange County sometime soon.
Feb 11, 2011 11:23am
Congratulations on this nice article .
Feb 15, 2011 4:30pm
What a wide variety of great places to go to and see while in Orange County, must also be beautiful to live there all year long.. retirement some day:)
Feb 16, 2011 7:04pm
Enjoyed this article! Visited the Magic kingdom when as an early teen and later in life made 4 or so visits to San Luis Obispo and the Hwy 1 route from San Francisco down to Marin. It is truly one of the most beautiful & spiritual places in the world.
Feb 23, 2011 4:59pm
I am from WA but I really enjoy spending time down in CA, especially along the coast and beaches. Great article, I enjoyed reading it!
Mar 11, 2011 8:34am
Wonderful guide, Deborah-Diane. Never been there, but this article sounds really so inviting. Thanks for the great share. :-)
Nov 22, 2014 3:13pm
There are so many things to do in Orange County, California. Kids and parents alike can have a great time.
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