Ahh... the Southern California lifestyle: Plenty of sunshine, shopping, sports and smiling faces. And no place is more typically Californian than Orange County. From affordable family fun at famous theme parks to five-star spa resorts along the coast, Orange County offers something for everyone.
Known as the hometown of the world's most famous mouse, Anaheim is also home to Angel Stadium baseball park and the Arrowhead Pond hockey arena, which doubles as a popular concert venue for touring national musicians. Of course, nearly every visitor to Anaheim heads to one of the sights at the Disneyland Resort: Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney and Disney's California Adventure.
Once known as Anaheim's affordable alternative, Buena Park has come into its own as a destination. Knott's Berry Farm, the city's main attraction, was once a small farm stand and chicken-pie restaurant. Now it's a popular family resort with a theme park, Camp Snoopy for kids, Soak City USA and its own 4-star hotel. Other city sights include Movieland Wax Museum and Medieval Times dinner theatre.
Always popular with locals for its beaches and shopping, Newport Beach is now famous across the country as the setting of TV's "The O.C.". For a trip back in time, head to Balboa Island, buy a frozen banana and stroll along jewel-named streets. Then take the ferry to the Balboa Fun Zone for a spin on the Ferris wheel. Or, for a more cultural escape, spend the day at the Orange County Museum of Art.
One of Southern California's first planned communities, Irvine offers an endless assortment of apartments, homes, office parks and retail shopping. The heart of the city is the University of California campus at UC Irvine, renowned for its literature and science programs. Other sights here include Irvine Spectrum, a destination shopping-and-entertainment center, and Wild Rivers Waterpark.
Orange County's family-friendly attractions draw visitors during spring break and summer vacation. To beat the crowds and find the best deals, plan your visit from October though January. May and early June typically offer great weather and reasonable rates. Buying theme park tickets before you leave home lets you beat the lines at the ticket booth and get great discounts.