Balboa Pier in Newport Beach

Best Day Trips in Orange County

Anaheim is the center of Southern California, making it the perfect starting point for your vacation. Within just an hour or two from Orange County you can visit the mountains or the desert, go wine tasting at nearby wineries, tour the streets of Hollywood or visit wildlife at SeaWorld® San Diego.

San Diego

Located just 90 miles south of Anaheim, San Diego has many day-trip-worthy activities that are fun for families of all sizes.

SeaWorld San Diego

Spend a day at SeaWorld® San Diego, home to all kinds of marine life, exciting shows, the famous Shamu® and many thrilling attractions.  At night, head over to the Historic Gaslamp Quarter for dinner where there are more than 100 restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, and retail shops that line the Victorian-era historic streets.

San Diego Zoo

Get up close to animals and learn about their natural habitats at the San Diego Zoo® or the San Diego Zoo® Safari Park. Experience animal encounters and exciting shows at both of the parks. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park provides a unique experience where many species of animals live together in wide, open-field enclosures.  

LEGOLAND California Resort

Take the little ones a on a day trip to LEGOLAND® California, a LEGO®-inspired theme park featuring more than 60 rides, factory tours and LEGO-themed areas. Get a hopper ticket and visit the other separate attractions; LEGOLAND® Water Park and SEA LIFE® Aquarium. These theme parks are most enjoyed by kids under 10.

How to Get There

Getting there is easy! There are many ways to get to San Diego including renting a car, driving your own or just let someone else do the driving. Take Amtrack California℠ Pacific Surfliner® Train for a beautiful  ride along the coast or take a bus with Pacific Coast Sightseeing Tours & Charters, Anaheim Tour Company or LuxBus America.

Insider tip: Many transportation companies offer special discounts when attraction tickets or tours are booked together in a package. Check out this blog post that includes more details about prices and how to get there. 

Los Angeles

City Tours

The city of Los Angeles is approximately 30 miles north of Anaheim. It is easily accessible by car, Amtrak train or sightseeing tour excursions. Tours are a great way to pack in an entire day of sightseeing without the hassle of planning every detail of your trip. Pacific Coast Sightseeing Tours & Charters, Inc., Anaheim Tour Company, LuxBus America and Starline Tours offer a great selection of tours that show you LA up close. Transportation to and from LA is included with most tours. The Hop-on, Hop-off tour by Starline Tours offers the perfect way to see everything you want at your own pace, while the TMZ Hollywood Tour - Secrets and Celebrity Hot Spots takes you on a star-studded tour of famous places celebrities frequent. Read more about the Hop-on, Hop-off tour in this blog post, and more about the TMZ tour in this post.

Universal Studios HollywoodSM 

Get ready for the ultimate Hollywood experience at Universal Studios HollywoodSM!  Find a full day of action-packed entertainment all in one place: thrilling theme park rides, interactive shows, and a real working movie studio.  Take a break from all the excitement and head over to the adjacent Universal CityWalk where you can find L.A.’s best shops, restaurants and cinemas.

Insider tip:  If you want VIP treatment with exclusive guided access to backlot sets not open to the general public and unlimited Front of Line accesses to all rides, sign up for the VIP Experience.

Catalina Island

Head down to Newport Beach and hop on the Catalina Flyer for a day trip to Avalon on Catalina Island. The relaxing, one-hour cruise to the island is a great way to start your day, with light snacks and beverages onboard the ship (or you can bring your own), and a beautiful view of the OC shoreline. Once on land, rent a locker at the dock and store items you won’t need all day to help lift the weight of your bags. Stroll down Pebbly Beach Road to Casino Way, where you’ll find quaint shops, lively bars and a variety of oceanfront dining options. You’ll also find an array of rental shops for bicycles, waverunners, golf carts and more.

Suggested activities include: parasailing, glass bottom boat tour, Zip Line eco tours, kayaking, and snorkeling. Experience something unique and take a food tour or sit on the open-air patio of the Metropole Market Place and sip delicious coffee. Head farther down Casino Way and snorkel, swim, kayak or enjoy a cocktail on the beach at the Descanso Beach Club. At the end of the day, relax in accommodations just steps away from the beach.

Insider tip: Let the experts help you plan your island adventure for any island activities and excursions prior to your arrival, especially during the summer months.