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Travel

Best Memorial Day Getaways Near OC

May 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: Thinkstock.com)

(credit: Thinkstock.com)


Just because you live in the most amazing, fulfilling community on dry land, does not mean you can’t enjoy a brief getaway every so often. Orange County is brimming with every manner of single-, several- and multi-day distraction, and it’s also conveniently surrounded by them. This Memorial Day, pack up the family and head out for a little fun and adventure. The best news is you don’t have to spend days in the car to find it.
(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Long Beach Harbor
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 435-3511
www.visitlongbeach.com

There are those who say you can’t go to Disneyland everyday. For residents of Orange County, this is simply not true. If you are of a mindset to spend one of your vacations away from Disney, the veritable kingdom of attractions of Long Beach are a worthwhile, nearby substitute. Stay anywhere near Long Beach Harbor and you are within easy reach of the Queen Mary, The Aquarium of the Pacific, gondola cruises, beaches, prime dining, bike paths and several bayside parks. There is plenty to do for at least a couple days. You may not even notice there’s no Space Mountain.

(credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)


Catalina Island
Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center
1 Green Pleasure Pier
Avalon, CA 90704
(310) 510-1520
www.gotocatalina.com

For some incredible adventure just a little further afield, sail on over to Catalina; Southern California’s own island paradise. You like boats? You like the beach? You like to take a beautiful walk in postcard-perfect conditions? Based upon where you’ve chosen to live, the answer is likely yes. If you want to get just far enough away from home to be theoretically away from it all, make Catalina your Memorial Day getaway. Stroll, shop, eat and watch the sun rise and set over the ocean on the same day. Rent a golf cart; even if you don’t play golf, it’s okay. In this wholly relaxed environment, it is the preferred means of transportation.

keywest 09040 Best Memorial Day Getaways Near OC

A sunny day in San Diego (credit: C. Schmidt)


San Diego
www.sandiego.org

If you don’t currently reside in San Diego, California, and you have not yet paid it a visit, it’s time to change that. Living in Orange County is one of a very few reasonable excuses for not living in San Diego, but there’s no excuse for not at least checking it out. San Diego is classically Southern California beautiful, and maintains the type of relaxed, yet wholly fulfilling lifestyle OC inhabitants have come to demand and appreciate. One drawback is that there’s almost too much to do here. No matter what you are doing, you will feel the compulsion to make thorough use of your time.

Related: OC’s Best Spots For Family Photos

(credit: Visit Carlsbad)

(credit: Visit Carlsbad)


Carlsbad Village
3138 Roosevelt St., Suite H
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 434-2553
www.carlsbad-village.com

If you’re not keen on driving all the way down to San Diego, a tall order these days as the southern traffic begins to rival that of our neighbors to the north, check out Carlsbad, just a couple freeway exits below San Clemente. This town has all of the beauty, activity and community you’ve come to appreciate back home, but is just far enough away to consider yourself on vacation. Enjoy walking-distance amenities that you can actually walk to. Have the best Mexican food you’ve ever tried. Take advantage of free parking at the beach. Seriously, it exists and is everywhere in Carlsbad. You may as well get some frozen yogurt while you’re there. It’s everywhere, too.

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)


The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300
www.getty.edu/museum

Full disclosure: you can’t stay at the Getty Museum. But you can stay very nearby, and there’s little other reason to intentionally go to Los Angeles and spend any length of time. Further disclosure: the Getty is located on the northern outskirts of Los Angeles proper, but that’s as near as you want to be to the sprawling metropolis anyway. The Getty is an intriguing mix of culture, beauty and educational experience, which is entirely worth the dubious drive it takes to get here. It is an ideal Memorial Day destination, and you can positively spend a few days here, if only to keep from having to commute back and forth. A delightful family experience is waiting for you at the Getty. Take advantage of it.

Related: Cooking Ideas For Kids From OC Chefs

Christopher Schmidt is a freelance writer experiencing and espousing the glory that is Orange County. Driven to travel, drawn to sports, spirits and celebrity, Chris’ work can be found on
Examiner.com.
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