(credit: ocgp.org)

(credit: ocgp.org)


Looking for somewhere to go in Orange County with your parent friends? Are you a down-to-earth, family-focused parent looking to meet similar moms and dads in your area? There are excellent venues and normal people out there. A wealth of OC parks and beaches are just waiting for you, and their simply crawling with like-minded locals.
(credit: Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano)

(credit: Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano)


Historic San Juan Capistrano
32400 Paseo Adelanto
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 493-1171
www.sanjuancapistrano.org

If you appreciate beauty, culture, history, peace and nature, you will love San Juan Capistrano. And, if you want to surround yourself with the type of people who also appreciate these things, then spend time some time at Historic San Juan Capistrano. To enjoy the fully effects of this great area, take a walking tour of the Los Rios Historic District with your fellow family friends or make some new ones. Shop, eat, sit and watch the kids play in any of several groves of trees which line the area. As you enjoy the area, look around and find yourself surrounded by families participating in the same pursuits.

(credit: C. Schmidt)

(credit: C. Schmidt)

Trader Sam’s
1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 778-6600
www.disneyland.disney.go.com

A restaurant bar with a massive patio in the shadow of the monorail-themed water slide at the Disneyland Hotel is what awaits you with Trader Sam’s. If you are familiar with the resort’s newest venue, you probably already love it. If you aren’t, you and your family and friends need to be, and you need to start spending time here. Trader Sam’s offers total comfort, a typically Disney-excellent staff and a terrific menu, all wrapped up in an elaborate and charming concept. There is live entertainment most nights and enormous cocktails that take eight exhausted adults to consume. All the while, you are surrounded by Disney splendor. Electing one adult to supervise the children as they tour the fantastic hotel property frees up the rest of you to go into the bar to witness the ongoing floor show, complete with erupting volcanoes, simulated shipwrecks and even bigger drinks.

(credit: C.Schmidt)


Irvine Spectrum Center
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 753-5180
www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com

Malls offer some of the best free entertainment and people watching around. From stroller pushers, to toddler toters, to parents with tweens and teens, “The Spectrum” is an ideal place to meet. There are about a hundred places to eat to suit every taste as well. There is also this mammoth courtyard by the Ferris wheel for relaxing, conversing and observing the intriguing aspects of your fellow flawed human beings.

Related:Best Kid-Friendly Happy Hours In OC

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)


Heisler Park
375 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-3311
www.lagunabeachcity.net

Choosing one Orange County beach to visit over any other is extremely tough. But if you have to do it, no one can fault you with choosing Laguna Beach. Want to gather with friends and other wholesome families engaged in those activities that wholesome families want to do? Might as well immerse yourself in startling beauty while you do it. And if you have to pick one section of Laguna Beach over any other, Heisler Park is the place. In the picnic area, on the playground, marveling at the view from the gazebo and everywhere else, you will be hopeless to not enjoy yourself.

(credit OC Great Park)

(credit OC Great Park)


Orange County Great Park
Marine Way Parking Facility
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 724-6247
www.ocgp.org

Many Orange County locals spend every day at the beach. If you must venture inland for you family fun and distraction, though, put OC Great Park on your shortlist. It’s not the tree-blanketed hiking and mountain biking type of park you may be used to but it is a currently expanding metropolitan park, which is definitely worth checking out. There are already a bunch of interesting and exciting things to see and do, and it’s very family friendly and safe. There is also a carousel, arts and visitor’s center, kids climbing rock, farmers’ market and sports facilities. It’s over by the I-5/405 split. Come take a walk and look around. You’ve been meaning to investigate that big orange balloon over there, anyway.

Related: OC’s Best Spots For Family Photos

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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.