9 Inexpensive Orange County Summer Fun Places for Kids

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I am a resident of Orange County and proud of it. Sadly, however, I have not written enough about the beauty of where I live. Makes me feel a little bit like I haven’t done enough to support the lovely state and county I live in. So this will be my first of many posts, where I will share all the best things about sweet Southern California.

Now that almost every school in the country have returned kids back into their parents lair, it is once again that busy period, where parents are trying to do what they can to keep their kids from boredom.  It’s important for the parents’ sanity to wiggle the energy out of the kids at least a few times during the week.

To all the residents of Southern California and those who will come and visit for the Summer, here are places you can take your kids for a sure-fire bundle of fun:

1. Nearest Beach

If you are anywhere in Orange County, you are never that far away from the beach. Some of the most beautiful beaches nearby are:

2. Irvine Spectrum

The Spectrum can get quite busy with moms of young kids during the week. There are a few fun things for entertainment, especially if you’ve got toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners who might enjoy:

  • a playground
  • Irvine Spectrum Playgroun

  • a splash area
  • irvine-spectrum-splash-area

  • a carousel ride
  • a train ride
  • ferris wheel (more for older kids, but young kids could enjoy it if you hold onto them tight 🙂 )
  • irvine-spectrum-ferris-wheel

3. Pretend City

My son absolutely loves Pretend City. There are so many things to do. Kids can pretend to be a doctor, a fire man, a chef, a gardener, a grocer, and so much more. There are also fun activities like arts and crafts time, and so much more! Check out their website and you are sure to find something there to fill your time! Oh, and they offer playgroups and workshops too!

4. Dana Point Baby Beach

There is a little area where you will see bathing suit moms during the week with their little babies. Some people call this the baby beach because there are really no waves at all. It’s also shallow enough that your toddler can walk back and forth and splash to his heart’s desire!

5. Parks

There are MANY fun parks in Orange County. I’ll share 3 of my favorites located in Laguna Beach that most people will find quite beautiful, yet many may not know about.

  • Top of the World
  • This place is really beautiful. It has a truly amazing view of Orange County and the ocean. You can have a romantic picnic here and even take a hike, have your kids play soccer, play in the sand and playground, and more!

    Source: bixbyblog.com

    View from Top of the World. Source: bixbyblog.com

  • Bluebird Park
  • The local Laguna Beach residents love to hang out here with their kids. It’s secluded into its own little area so families can have picnics and have their kids pretty much roam around freely and not worry too much about running out into the street due to the heavy gate and long way to get to the street from another side. The park is large enough to have picnics, events, and lots of fun!

  • Main Beach Park
  • This park is actually hard to miss if you’re at Main Beach in Laguna Beach. It’s a newly remodeled playground and it is a hot spot for babies and young kids. My son absolutely loves this place as it is surrounded by so much life and different visitors from around the world.

Ok, I did mention 3 parks in Laguna Beach but I also want to mention one outside of it that is always buzzing with things different events and things to do. Irvine Regional Park (also known as Irvine Park Railroad) has a lot of attractions, including pony rides, bike trails, paddle boats, and of course a nice railroad. If you’ve got a little guy like I do, this is always a nice treat! He loves the railroad and the zoo! Yup, there’s a zoo too!

6. Local Library

Believe it or not, most local libraries have fun activities for kids during the week. It’s such a great way for parents to get to know one another and kids to interact with other kids. There are story time, crafts, and sometimes even singing for our special babes.

7. Zoomars

There are a few zoos in Orange County, but if you are looking for something inexpensive, yet a lot of fun for your kids, Zoomars is the place to go. It is right next to the metro rail and is surrounded by fairly unique restaurants. You’d have to go to understand what I mean by unique.

This zoo is actually a petting zoo with lamas, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, goats, and more!

7. Museums

There are 2 really fantastic museums in Orange County. One of them can be seen from the 5 freeway and is a lovely place to get your child interested in science, called the Discovery Cube.

Bowers Museum is also a great place to teach kids about different cultures around the world. Art and archeology camps are also offered through the Summer so it’s definitely a place to check out! If you want to save a little cash but still want to see what it’s all about, the first Sunday of the month is always free.

8. Movies

Sometimes you just want a moment to sit down, while entertaining the kids. How about a movie?

The Starplex Cinema in Irvine is only $2 per person! That’s right! You could watch some great movies with the full theater movie experience for a really low cost!

9. Discover Laguna Beach

Every Summer, Laguna Beach has a free trolley that will take you from north to south and back through Laguna Beach for free! There are art festivals and so much to see that the trolley can help you get to.