Forget L.A. Visit Newport Beach and Balboa Island
Back in the 1800s, many people traveled thousands of miles westward to the coast of the Golden State. Today, California is home to more than 30 million citizens.
Gold nuggets are not the only riches that drew in migrators. The state has luscious green valleys, powerful mountain peaks, and serene blue oceans – everything from bustling cities to tranquil suburbs.
Orange County has a mixture of both. From the busy highway intersections to the orange orchards and vineyards, it offer an exciting city life and calming nature.
The Irvine Spectrum Center is a mix of my two favorite things, a mall and a carnival. The Spectrum, as many people call it in Irvine, has a genuine family atmosphere. Families can take their kids to play inside of Dave and Busters, for a ride on the giant ferris wheel, to watch a film in the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 IMAX & RPX, or travel back to the 1950s to grab a bite to eat in Johnny Rockets. The Spectrum reminds me of a park, but for shopping. There is even a play center for kids.
During Christmastime, the nightlife resembles winter Christmas colors. The ferris wheel lights up. They bring in a huge, fully decorated tree and provide a skating rink for the winter wonderland.
If you are looking for a carnival by the ocean, Newport Beach is your destination. This quiet oasis is filled with beautiful, beachside town homes and a dock full of carnival games, a ferris wheel and boat rides. Local stores have custom skateboard and T-shirt shops, seashell necklaces, and decorative mugs and home décor.
The town has its own island at the epicenter. The only way to get to Balboa Island is to drive on the bridge that connects to Newport Beach or take a ferry boat ride. My family and I decided to combine the two by taking our car on the ferry boat. It was an amazing experience. The fare to put our car on the boat was less than $10 dollars. It was crazy because the boat was swaying side to side like a regular cruise ship. People without their cars could also ride on the boat.
Once we arrived on Balboa Island, we rode around a bit, and it reminded us of Beverly Hills in the middle of the sea. The shops had beautiful jewelry and fashion, along with gourmet Italian and Mexican restaurants.
One of the main reasons people travel to California is to enjoy life in the sun. Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of those extraordinary travel points. It is a great part of the California experience featuring a park with wide open space for running, jumping and playing. There is even a tunnel with a mural of sea creatures and plant life.
Beachside homes are a sight as well. They have a grand golf course in the community. Only residents are allowed in, but you can walk around it and enjoy the scenery. After roaming the grounds, the sandy beach awaits.
Something I look for in a beach is soft, clean sand, and Salt Creek Beach had it. I felt like I could run in the sand without my feet stepping on something hard. Another aspect I liked was the clear, blue water. At times, I could see my feet on the sandy floor. It truly was a great day for fun in the sun.