September 1, 2016

Top Things to Do in Southern California This Fall

Top things to do in Southern California fall 2016
Fall 2016 is right around the corner, but in Southern California the picture perfect vacation days never really end. Take a look at these top things to do in LA, Orange County, and San Diego this upcoming fall.

1. The Beach. Always!

Cooler weather may be swiftly approaching, but don't let the lower temps put you off. It's too late to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Southern California. Whether it is the crisp air of Newport Beach, the homey vibes of Belmont Shore in Long Beach, or the relaxed and surfing-inspired environment of Huntington Beach, Southern California beaches are the place to be year round.

Here are just a few ways to enjoy the beach this fall:
  • Soak up the sun. Southern California is known for its beautiful sunshiny days, no matter the season!
  • Watch the sunset. Fall sunsets on the West Coast are, perhaps, even more stunning than other times of the year.
  • Get together a cozy evening picnic—complete with some hot cocoa and cookies to usher in the cooler season.
2. Hike

With its cooler weather and refreshing ocean breezes, fall is one of the best times to enjoy all the hikes Southern California has to offer! Whether you are someone who enjoys a laid back stroll, or an avid climber who is up for a challenge, Southern California is well known for its variety of hiking options. Try Crystal Cove State Park’s well-marked trail--perfect for biking or a day hike skimming the beach; hike Inspiration Point in Corona Del Mar for stunning views; or try out Potato Chip Rock on Mt. Woodson for an especially unique experience, and the perfect photo opportunity!

For even more awesome Southern California hiking ideas, Check out SoCal Hiker's blog.

3. Explore local events

It's never difficult to find things to do in Southern California. With LA, Orange County, and San Diego all nearby fun California activities abound whether you're a single traveler or a large group. But, we have to admit, some of our very favorite local events happen in the fall. Here are just a few of our top picks for your fall California vacation

  • The Ocean Institute Tall Ships Festival (Sept 9-11): This Dana Point event celebrates the rich maritime history of Southern California. Experience a bit of history with cannon battles, ship toures, and more. See more...
  • Knott's Scary Farm (Thursday-Sunday nights Sept 22-Oct 31): If you love to be scared, get your fill of screams at this haunted theme park! See more...
  • Vampirates Dinner Show (Oct 1-31): During the month of October Buena Park's Pirate's Dinner Theater gets a spooky makeover, and you're invited to dress up too for their weekend costume contests! See more...
  • Festa dell'Autunno (Oct 8-11): Get transported to Italy during this special weekend at Pelican Hill. This Italian harvest festival includes live music, dancing, traditional Italian art, and of course lots of exquisite Italian cuisine! See more...
  • The Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational (October 8-16): Experience painting like you've never seen it before, live, outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of Laguna Beach. Come for the Collector's Gala, or visit the free art show on Saturday and Sunday. See more...
  • Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy (Nov. 19-Dec 18): For five weekends the Laguna Beach Art & Craft festival grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland. See local artists at work, shop for some one-of-a-kind artistic creations, and experience the magic of Laguna Beach. See more...
  • Tree lightings at South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island (dates coming soon): If you're visiting the OC in November, don't miss the pageantry of holiday tree lightings! More information coming soon.
There are many, many more local events to choose from, from the OC Brew HaHa Craft Beer Festival (Sept 24) , to San Clemente's SeaFest at the Pier (Oct 2), to Huntington Beach's Surfing Santa competition (Nov. 19), so make sure to check out local events in our area when you're planning your visit to SoCal!

4. Local California Attractions

If you've read our post about the shoulder season in Southern California you know that Fall and Spring are some of the best times to check out our California attractions and California points of interest. Smaller crowds offer easier access to rides and parking, and Autumn also bears the very best weather for a local day trip. From nature to amusement parks, Fall has just the right amount of sunshine and breeze for a day outdoors whether you're standing in lines or exploring gardens.

Filled with family fun activities, locations like Legoland California have stations to build and rides to thrill for the young builder. The Queen Mary is often overlooked on California vacations, but serves as a wonderful adventure for a family outing, especially during its seasonal carnivals towards the end of each season! If you are looking for a quaint place for a date, consider the Sherman Library and Gardens . This beautiful little garden offers enjoyable strolls, photo opportunities, and even a delicious café! Lastly, a trip to Southern California would not be complete without a visit to Naples Island in Long Beach . This unique neighborhood lines a local canal, where lovers and families sit in gondolas, and locals paddle board. Naples is especially exciting during the Halloween and Christmas season, when houses are decked out in extravagant lights and decorations—a must-see during an October or December visit!

5. Shop

When visiting Southern California, most locals will suggest one of the many shopping centers available. California shopping is especially delightful in the fall, when summer’s best are given extra affordable prices, and fall’s latest and greatest come to life. If you're an avid shopper and fashion lover, you'll love fall in Southern California! Make sure to take a look at our recommendations for Essential Shopping Experiences in Orange County !

Southern California is also a fabulous place to be on Black Friday. Check out local outlets, like the Carlsbad Premium Outlets , or the oceanfront Outlets at San Clemente for a Black Friday experience like no other, or discover an even more high-end experience at Fashion Island in Newport Beach . Even if you are not looking to grow your closet, a day walking around one of Southern California’s shopping centers makes for a fun experience, and gives everyone exercise!

6. Eat

Finally, Southern California never fails to provide some of the most high quality, interesting, and delicious dining experiences in the country! Warm up fall evenings with Vietnamese noodle soup , or a local burger, or cool down a sunny fall afternoon with artisan ice cream at After's Ice Cream !

Take a look at some of our local recommendations and start daydreaming about your Southern California dining adventures:

And if you're craving that pumpkin spice latte, take a look at some of our local coffee spots. Some of the best cafes in SoCal offer seasonal drinks when fall begins, like Portola in Costa Mesa, and the Coffee Code in Buena Park.

Ready to start planning?
So snag a pumpkin spice latte, pack your favorite cool weather sweaters, and start planning a Southern California fall trip! Our reservations team is eager to answer your questions and help you secure the perfect vacation home for your California vacation, so give us a call today at 800-408-1822!

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