- Visit Catalina Island - It is a paradise a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the mainland just a short ferry ride away! The air is refreshing, the water is clear, the community is casual and friendly, and there isn’t even a traffic light on the whole Island. From the city of Avalon to the rustic village of Two Harbors, experience the Island for yourself - explore the rugged back country where the buffalo roam, enjoy dining experiences, conquer adventures, or relax on the beach.
- Sunny Jims Cave - Located in La Jolla near San Diego, Sunny Jim’s Cave is a fun old historic sea cave that you can walk down to and explore. It is the only La Jolla cave that is accessible by land via a hand-dug tunnel leading down from the historical landmark, the Cave Store. Once used to smuggle Chinese immigrants and contraband Whisky during Prohibition, this historical landmark is a famous spot for out-of-town visitors. No appointments are necessary; however, hours of operation change based on day light, and season, so be sure to call before visiting.
- LA Observation Deck - Head up to the top of LA City Hall for a fantastic view of downtown Los Angeles from an angle you haven’t seen before.
- See the sea lions in Port San Luis - Right near Pismo Beach, you can get up close and personal with sea lions. The small stair case right at the end of the pier will get you as close as you could ever want to be, but be careful, they bite.
- See a show inside the Fox Theatre - Once the crown jewel of Downtown Fullerton, this long-standing building was designed by the same man who created the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. It continues to undergo a restoration since it was shuttered in '87. You still occasionally can see old movies digitally blasted onto the venue's back wall. But they hope to soon be able to house live shows, but if you can’t make a show, it’s still a great place to tour and enjoy a piece of Orange County history.
- Go whale watching – The Seamen at Dana Point boast sightings of mega-pods numbering 10,000 strong. It is said that California has more blue whales and dolphins so be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
- Drive Pacific Coast Highway - Travel south until it ends at the edge of Nixon's coastal retreat in San Clemente, or start there and cruise north to Long Beach or beyonod. Most people will accomplish this in about an hour or so. Personally I would need the weekend to allow time to stop at all the shops, bars and eateries you never knew existed.
- Visit Old Town Orange - This one-mile square area of Orange is like stepping upon Main Street USA. “The Antique Capital of Southern California” is centered on the historic Orange Plaza and is dotted with many restaurants and modern businesses such as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Starbucks. Don’t forget to stop at Watson’s for an old-fashioned dining experience where you can order a banana split or malt from the soda fountain.
- Newport Lights Boat Parade – If you happen to be there in December be sure to visit Newport Beach at night. They have a unique boat parade where all the harbor participates; see boats adorned with thousands of lights, awe in the lights wrapped on tiny beach front porches even see Santa Clause on a surf board!
- Walk the Thousand Steps Beach - One of the most accessible beaches in California. The beach was created for the local population and it is therefore not surprising that the local community loves the fact the beach is somewhat hidden. An interesting fact about the Thousand Steps Beach is that one might just drive past the beach while looking directly at it.
There are a few places that come immediately to mind when you start planning a trip to Southern California; Disneyland, Hollywood and the beach. Of course, no trip to the Golden State is complete without a trip to Disneyland, seeing how you stand up to celebrities by matching their hand and foot imprints on Hollywood Blvd or riding the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica pier with a giant ice cream in hand, but I want to focus on the lesser known but still oh so amazing “attractions” throughout the Southern California area.