Wordless Wednesday: Crystal Cove Memories

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My family was lucky enough to score a Crystal Cove Beach Cottage and spent 3 nights down at the beach last week making great memories. I caught this moment of the girls just taking in the splendor of the view outside of our place. Sometimes I can’t believe we get to live in a place this beautiful.

For more beautiful Wordless Wednesday pictures, head on over to www.AngryJulieMonday.com.

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Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County

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Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Since we are officially entering beach season, I wanted to do a post on the beach beaches for kids in Orange County. Awhile back I asked my Facebook fans for their favorite kid-friendly OC beaches. Just one more reason to “like” us on Facebook. I have the most amazingly resourceful mamas on there. Here are all the great recommendations…

Sunset Beach

“Parking at Sunset Beach is FREE which is an added plus!” ~ Lisa

Seal Beach

Super cute playground, and lots of lovely shops & food places.” ~ Amber

“Great bathrooms, playground, shops, places to eat and parking all close by.” ~ Andi

Playground at Balboa Pier

“Playgrounds, restrooms & close parking. Just have to go early!” ~ Lisa

Ruby Beach Balboa Island

Great beach for little ones, it’s on the bay, so no waves. Biggest downside is no restrooms, but great for a couple hour beach visit. It’s located at the end of Ruby Avenue at North Bay Front.” ~ Jen (me!)

Corona del Mar

“No playground but not a lot of sand walking needed to get to the bathrooms and a tame crowd.” ~ Jennifer

El Moro Beach (Crystal Cove State Park)

“This is a beach that is accessible from the Moro Canyon Camping entrance by El Moro school. I believe it’s $15 to park for the day. If you go early, you can park very close to the beach at the bottom of the hill and and take path under the freeway. Nice, clean new restrooms, hardly any sand walking.” ~ Jen (me!)

Crystal Cove Beach by Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

“Tidepools are wonderful, and they have The Beachcomber restaurant.” ~ Amber

“We LOVE Crystal Cove but it can be a trek down to the beach with younger kids and parking is expensive.” ~ Katie

“I also love to check out the historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. If you don’t want a sit down restaurant, you can also head up the hill for a hot dog from Ruby’s Shake Shack.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Aliso Beach

“Close parking, good bathrooms and a playground.” ~ Aracely

“Nice and easy to lug stuff to and from the car!” ~ Vanessa

Salt Creek Beach

“Bathrooms are close to beach and there are lots of walking paths and parking is inexpensive.” ~ Katie

Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach by the Montage

“Stunningly gorgeous.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Mother’s Beach at Dana Point

“Nice as they have a barrier so there are no waves close to the shoreline, good for the little kiddos!” ~ Nicola

Capistrano Beach

“Easy Parking and beach access…my son loves it because of the train that passes by often. I am not sure about their bathrooms…” ~ Melissa

Did we miss any? Please comment below on your faves! And have a beachy keen day! xo

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My 5 Favorite OC Outings with Kids

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Since many of you might have kids home from school today or if you extra lucky, a hubby that is home as well, I wanted to put together a quick list of my 5 favorite OC outings with kids (in no particular order!) What are yours? Comment below!

1. Pretend City / Irvine Spectrum.  Pretend City has to be one of my absolute favorite places to take the kids. Entertaining infants through age 10, Pretend City is generally open only from 10am – 1pm on Mondays, but is open for a full day on 02/20/12. Either before or after visiting PC (for my kids’ ages, usually 2 – 3 hours is good), head over the freeway to the Irvine Spectrum where you can grab some lunch (our faves with kids are Wahoo’s, Chipolte or Ruby’s and Pinkberry for dessert), go on the ferris wheel, carousel and/ or kiddie train and check out the different fountains. Click here then click on “Frequently Asked Questions: What Are the Prices for In-Center Attractions” for hours and pricing.

2. Balboa Pier / Balboa Fun Zone /  Balboa Island. We start our adventure by parking off “A Street” in the metered spots by the Balboa Pier on the peninsula then let the kiddos have fun at the beachfront playground. There is also a huge grassy area adjacent if you want to throw in the soccer ball. After they have gotten their energy out, you can walk over to the Fun Zone and let them play in the arcade or take a ride on the ferris wheel if it is running. From there you can take the ferry across to Balboa Island to explore.If you want to do a bunch of walking around Balboa Island, I recommend taking a stroller. Our fave dining spots are Ruby’s Diner on the end of the Balboa Pier, or for super casual, there is a pizza place in the Fun Zone where you can get slices.  And don’t forget your sprinkled Balboa Ice Cream Bar (OC famous!)

3. Crystal Cove Beach / Tide Pools / Ruby’s Shake Shack. A trip to Crystal Cove Beach is a must-visit for anyone that lives here (and for those that don’t!) If it is a nice day, throw in the sand toys and spend some time on the beach, but if it is a chilly one, you can still dress warm and walk down to check out the historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages and amazing tide pools. When you are ready for some grub, head up the hill for a hot dog and shake from Ruby’s Shake Shack and enjoy the incredible view. Click here for a previous post on visiting Crystal Cove Beach. And please note, I think the beach lot parking off Los Trancos is now $15.

4. Newport Back Bay / Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center.We live close to the Back Bay and spend a ton of time over there with our girls. Park off University Drive in the free lot and bring your bikes, scooters or jogger. There are a ton of kid-friendly trails, and for those that don’t want to go “off roading” there is a paved path all around as well. Recently we did a fun nature scavenger hunt which my girls loved. And the Muth Center in the Back Bay is a hidden GEM of a FREE outings, but (wah-wah), it’s closed on Mondays. So don’t head out there today to visit, but do keep this in mind for future outings as it is a fabulous experience for little ones and they are open on Saturdays and Sundays.

5. Zoomars / San Juan Mission. If you are ready for an EXTRA fun outing, consider taking the Amtrak train from Santa Ana to San Juan Capistrano. Soooo fun! Once there, walk down to Zoomars Petting Zoo and let the kiddos feed the guinea pigs, take a pony ride or pan for gold. Hungry? Walk up to Ruby’s Diner (Ruby’s seems to be a recurring theme in this post!) and then cruise around the streets of San Juan. Feeling like taking a trip back in time? Visit the San Juan Mission and revel in the California history (kids get a free audio tour on 2/20 – click HERE for the coupon).

Hope these are some good ideas to keep you busy! Have a WONDERFUL day everyone!  And click here for my list of top 5 OC parks!

 

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OC Tide Pooling Tips by OC Mom’s Activity Guide!

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This guest blog arrived in my email box last night and I am so grateful it did because I did not have a post ready for today!  Emma got hit with a bad respiratory virus early this week, then baby Morgan got it a few days later.  Awful! The only thing worse than one sick kid is two sick kids!  So thank you Katie from OC Mom’s Activity Guide for saving my day and giving me a fabulous guest post!

OC Mom’s Activity Guide is a fabulous local blog dedicated to {you guessed it!} fun activities and favorite finds for OC moms and their families.  Katie wrote some great tips on taking your kids tide pooling in Orange County.

Here is what Katie writes…

The beach has always been a destination for our family.  To be honest my oldest sons’ first trip to the beach was when he was less than a week old, ok… so he never left the Baby Bjorn, but still he was at the beach.

Once the boys were steady on their feet and able to explore a bit, we found ourselves venturing in to the world of tide pooling.  We absolutely love checking out the tide pools to see what kind of sea creatures we can find, whether it is a sea anemone, a crab or some other fish, there is always something fun to find and the boys never get tired of it.

We have fabulous beaches to explore here in Southern California, places like Aliso Creek Beach, Crystal Cove (on the border of Newport and Laguna), Montage Beach and more.

The biggest piece of advice I have is to be sure to check when low tide is (you can do this on any weather website or weather App for your phone), it will make or break your adventure.  If you can time it just right to hit the beach at low tide, you will have the best opportunity to scope out the best tide pools.

Items I recommend you bring…

*  Sunscreen (even on cloudy days)

*  Water sandals or flip flops for those with sensitive feet

*  Towels, swimsuits, etc. in case you get caught off guard by a wave

*  I also recommend a life vest for the little ones if you are taking more than one kid.  It will give you peace of mind; this is from first-hand experience!

This picture above is from our recent trek to Crystal Cove Beach.  It’s quite a walk down (and parking costs $15), but even in the peak summer months, it isn’t super crowded.   At low tide there are TONS of exposed tide pools that the kids love exploring.”

Thanks again Katie!!!  We actually just visited Crystal Cove by the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages for a beach day last weekend. See Wednesday’s post with our adventures at the beach with a one-year-old! I also did a post eons ago about this beach…One of our favorite kid beaches in OC!  Next time we will have to check out the tide pooling with your great tips!

Where’s YOUR favorite beach in OC?

More about Katie (aka OCMomActivities):

Katie is a full time working wife and mother of two active boys. When they aren’t riding the roller coasters at Disneyland or exploring the beaches, you can find Katie writing over at OCMomActivities. Find her on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

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