Irvine Park Railroad


The holidays are quickly approaching which means its time to take family holiday photos! With so many attractive backdrops in Orange County—deciding on the perfect one can be just as hard as pleading the kids into a simultaneous smile. So, to make your holidays a little easier—we’ve rounded up nine perfect photo spots to consider for that special yearend family photo.


Disneyland® Resort

Photo courtesy of Disneyland® Resort

A visit to Disneyland® Park is always a joyous occasion and a perfect place to catch the whole family in a happy mood. Another perk is that the park provides plenty of spots to score the perfect family photo. Right now, Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park are stunning due to a mixture of Disneyland's Diamond Celebration and their magnificent holiday decor. If you don’t have a high-quality DSLR camera, there is always an option to flag down a PhotoPass Photographer to take great photos of your entire family—including yourself! If you did happen to bring your own camera, ask those same PhotoPass Photographers to use your camera. Each PhotoPass Photographer is well-trained, friendly and will likely spend the extra time framing the shot so that everyone is happy. Don't forget the fireworks! While we'd recommend this only for experienced photographers—you might luck out with a once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Tip: Try to plan your visit during the first weeks in December to avoid heavier holiday crowds.
1313 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Fashion Island

Photo courtesy of Fashion Island

This sprawling outdoor shopping venue is a perfect option for a holiday photo. The scenery is endless and flawlessly maintained. From a stunning Koi Pond, to serene waterfalls and a 90-foot stunning Christmas Tree. Every year in November, the large courtyard outside of Bloomingdale's home to a behemoth Christmas tree transported from a private timber area near Mount Shasta in Northern California. Friends and family will be green with envy when they see your family in front of one of the largest and most decadent tree in SoCal.
401 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660

South Coast Plaza

Photo courtesy of Fashion Island

South Coast Plaza is a premier shopping experience and the definition of luxury and upscale ambiance, So when it comes to exquisite holiday decor—South Coast brings the wow factor. The annual Jewel Court Christmas tree has branches lit up with around 20,000 LED warm-white lights and a tree topper made of gold leaf. If a photo by a tree is not your style, snap one near the reindeer carousel ride, on the train or near Santa's Village display with elaborate snow scenes and elves.
901 S Coast Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Crescent Bay Beach

Photo courtesy of Visit Laguna Beach

Crescent Bay Beach is a dream destination and provides scenery that could be pulled from a travel brochure. With aquamarine water, rocky cliffs and palm trees skirting the bluffs, nothing screams Southern California like a family of five on the beach in December. Sometimes you'll even catch a few seals barking from "seal rock" or a few fin from a pod of dolphins if you're lucky.

Remember: There's a steep hill required to walk down, so proper footwear is a must.
Circle Way
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Photo courtesy of OC Parks

This hidden gem is tucked away in a cozy Laguna Niguel featuring a 44-acre tranquil lake. Make sure to come early to avoid the crowds and with plenty of greenery and hiking trails—there's plenty of backdrop for your family to choose. 

Remember: There's a $5 parking fee.
28241 La Paz Rd.
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

Los Rios District

Photo courtesy of Visit San Juan Capistrano

If you are looking for more than a traditional holiday shot, there are boundless opportunities in Los Rios District. Between building that date back to early 1800's, to quaint shops, petting zoos and gardens. We recommend parking in the center of the district and taking a walking tour of the district. Adjacent to the district is an Amtrak station, gardens and historic architecture that all make for unique backdrops.
31831 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Irvine Park Railroad

Photo courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad

Irvine Regional Park is nestled among a grove of heritage oak and sycamore trees. The rolling foothills that surround the park provide a variety of wildlife and trees for a serene setting. During the holidays, some areas of the park are transformed into a magical winter wonderland adorned with Christmas lights and Garland. The train itself is thoroughly decked out and the surrounding environments take on a memorable holiday theme. The train will depart from the brightly lit train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole, where children can share their wish list with Santa and have their photo taken with him too. After visiting with Santa, hop back on the Irvine Park train and enjoy the beautiful and colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village. This is a holiday hot spot as there is also a Christmas Tree Ranch on site. If the train is sold out there are still plenty of photo opportunities from picture stands to ice fishing to storytime with Mrs. Claus.
1 Irvine Park Road
Irvine, CA 92869

Newport Beach Boat Parade

Photo courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

If you are looking for a truly unique photo for your holiday card this year, look no further than the annual Newport Beach Boat Parade. Held December 16 - 20, 2015, this is the perfect way to enjoy a fun day with your family, and get an unforgettable picture by the water. Incredible photos can also be taken when the Boat Parade begins at 6pm Plenty of lighted vessels from sailboats to rowboats can be seen floating along the harbor, providing a holiday scene that everyone will love!
Newport Beach, CA 92661

Irvine Spectrum

Photo courtesy of Nick Van Houten

What could be better than combining Disney and Christmas lights? No entrance fee of course! From now through January 3rd, Irvine Spectrum will shine brighter with a unique music and lighting moment each evening throughout the holiday season. With “Disney Magical Holiday Lights” at Irvine Spectrum Center, Edwards Courtyard comes to life with a tribute to the magical holiday shows of the Disneyland® Resort. Show times begin at 5:30pm and run every hour to closing. The show will infuse you with holiday spirit!
670 Spectrum Center Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618