Beachside Vacation Rentals > Things to do in Southern California

Things To Do in Southern California

There is so much to do in Southern California! From Disneyland to Whale watching, California activities, California attractions, and California points of interest are some of the most fun in the country! Here are just a few of the top things to in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County.

Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure

Southern California has not one, but two Disney Parks! Disneyland offers the classic Disney experience, with Sleeping Beauty's Castle, time-honored rides like It's a Small World, and parades to thrill any Disney fan of any age. Disney's California Adventure brings something different to the Disney experience. California Adventure has more thrill rides for adventure-seeking visitors, a California style boardwalk, and fun new attractions like Cars Land.

So which park will you visit? When in doubt, find time to check out both parks! Both are an easy drive from our vacation rental properties in Newport Beach . Don't forget to take a stroll through Downtown Disney as well!


Whether you're visiting "Surf City USA," commonly known as Huntington Beach, exploring the famous Trestles surf spots at San Onofre, or catching some huge waves at The Wedge in Newport Beach, Southern California is always a great place to surf!

If learning to surf has always been on your to-do list, let us help you cross it off! You can book convenient surf lessons with experienced instructors through our concierge services in Newport Beach and San Clemente .

And if you're planning to surf every day, take a look at a few our our vacation properties perfect for surfers. Take a look at our Surfer's Row and Trestles vacation rentals, located near some of our very best local surf spots!

Dolphin and Whale Watching

May to October is blue whale season, while from December to May we see gray whales taking their annual migration between Alaska and the lagoons of Baja. Fin whales, minke whales visit us all year, and occasionally we also see killer whales, humpacks, pilot whales, and more! The Southern California Pacific is also home to more dolphins than any other place in the US. Dana Point is an especially great place to view whales and Dolphins. The underwater canyons near the coast of Dana Point are popular locations for the smaller fish that dolphins like to eat, which means more dolphins off our coast!

Any time of year is a great time to go whale watching, so request a tour today through our Vacation Planning Services!

LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND California is incredibly family friendly, with over 60 rides for kids of all ages, and hands-on attractions that will keep kids entertained and curious, not to mention the amazing Miniland USA made of over 20 million LEGO bricks!  LEGOLAND also has a waterpark and and aquarium, so you may want to visit more than once!

If your family is planning a visit to LEGOLAND California, take a look at our vacation rentals in Carlsbad. Our Acacia condos are just one block from the beach, and our Chinquapin luxury vacation rental with its kiddie pool and water slide is always a hit with traveling families!

Mission San Juan Capistrano

This mission is over 200 years old and full of California history. It has now been restored, with 10 acres of gardens. A free audio tour is included in the admission price to guide you through the ruins, gardens, and museum displays. You'll learn a lot about California history, and also get to spend the day on the beautiful, peaceful mission grounds.

Stay nearby at our vacation rental properties in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel , and if you're planning a visit, check out the Mission's Calendar to learn more about daily activities and special events at the mission.

Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park is located between Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar. If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking, Crystal Cove is a must-visit! Whether you want a short hike down to the beach to look at Crystal Cove's impressive tide pools, or a more strenuous ten mile adventure, you'll find it here. Soak up the natural beauty of California, enjoy sweeping ocean views, pack a picnic, and stay the whole day!

For easy access to Crystal Cove, stay with us in Newport Beach or Corona Del Mar ! Crystal Cove State Park is just a short drive south.

The Queen Mary

A tour on The Queen Mary is a trip back in time. Built in the 1930's, this ship has been a glamorous ocean liner, a troopship, and is thought to be one of the most haunted places in America. Take your pick of the multiple tours available and don't forget to dine on board!

If you're planning to visit the Queen Mary and other Los Angeles sites, take a look at our Belmont Shore vacation rental in Long Beach! It's one house to the beach and conveniently located between LA and Orange County.

Hike & Bike

Southern California is so full of beautiful scenery, there's no way to take it all in... but you can try! Check out these local guides:
Prefer to get off your feet? Bikes are a great way to get around in our local beach towns! If you're staying with us in Newport Beach or San Clemente our Vacation Planners can help you secure convenient bike rentals in the local area. Click below for more information:

The Carlsbad Flower Fields

You've never seen flowers like this! The 50 acres of the Carlsbad Flower Fields are 50 acres of vibrant color, gorgeous blossoms, and delicious floral scents. Stroll through the gardens and greenhouses, or take a tractor tour!

Visit the Carlsbad Flower Field website to see if the fields will be in bloom during your stay.

Photo courtesy of the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.

Newport Beach Gondola Tours

If you're looking for a romantic adventure, you can't go wrong with a gondola tour! You'll find a few different gondola companies in Southern California, but we recommend Gondola Adventures of Newport Beach. Consistently highly rated on TripAdvisor and Yelp, Gondola Adventures has also been rated the number 1 most romantic thing to do in Orange County by USA Today!

Book your tour at your preferred time and customize your trip with a singing gondolier, champagne, or even a lunch or dinner cruise! (P.S. We recommend asking for Hunter as your gondolier - he's a great singer!)

The Balboa Fun Zone & Ferry

The easiest way to take a boat ride in Southern California? Take the Balboa Ferry. The ferry runs back and forth between the Balboa Peninsula, and Balboa Island and the fare is only $1 per person. Get a new view of the peninsula and the surrounding homes and harbors from the water, and spend a few hours exploring Balboa island!

Our Newport Court condos are under 2 miles from the Balboa Ferry, and only one house to the beach, so if you're planning to visit the Balboa Peninsula, make sure to check them out.

The Aquarium of the Pacific

If you want to get up close with some of the Pacific's most incredible creatures, this is the place to do it! Pet sharks, see leafy sea dragons, and watch ruffly jellyfish swirl in their tanks. It's an incredible underwater zoo.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is conveniently located on the Long Beach Waterfront, with other attractions and local restaurants nearby, making it easy to work into your day in Long Beach!

If you're thinking of visiting Long Beach, make sure to check out our Belmont Shore page for more ideas of local things to do!

The San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Southern California's mild climate makes it a comfortable place for many different animals to live. The San Diego Zoo houses over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies and is one of the few zoos in the world to house a Giant Panda. The San Diego Zoo specializes in natural enclosures that mimic animal's native habitats and also features huge free-flight aviaries as well as a rare plant collection.

For an even more immersive experience, visit the San Diego Safari Park. The Safari park offers many different tour options, including open air caravans, trike rides, and ropes courses!

If you're planning to visit the San Diego Zoo, make sure to look at our vacation rentals in Carlsbad, California !

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm is bursting with family friendly fun in every season of the year! If you're visiting in October, experience the thrill of Knott's Scary Farm. During the holiday season, soak up the cheer at Knott's Merry Farm. In the spring sample a vast array of boysenberry cuisine at the Boysenberry Festival, and of course, don't forget Knott's Soak City waterpark in the summer!

At Knott's Berry Farm you can meet Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters, and experience a bit of the old west in the Ghost Town. Make sure to eat at Mrs. Knott's Chicken dinner, and buy some boysenberry preserves to take home with you! With rides and attractions for all ages, and more budget-friendly ticket prices than some other local theme parks, Knott's is a great choice for traveling families.