100 Reasons to Be Ecstatic About Summer In OC!

Summer here is bliss, better than anyplace else in the States

 

14. MOUNTAIN BIKING UP INTO SCARY, POTENTIALLY HAUNTED BLACK STAR CANYON
Where there are mountains, there are mountain bikers. While OC has a lot of single-track trails, none is as full of lore as those of Black Star Canyon, up in the mountains above Silverado. La Llorona, the Spanish-speaking (Spanish-screaming?) banshee with the head of a horse, is said to live in a well. Sadly, the well in question has been capped by the landowner, though there's an alarm that rings when hikers approach too closely. Farther into the canyon is an abandoned school bus that supposedly emits the screams of children by night, there's a squatter camp near the top that's occasionally occupied, and tales of Native American ghosts float around after the sudden bursts of wind to which the canyon is prone. During the day, hikers and bikers are most likely to encounter some of the canyon's famously ornery residents. Stay on the path, and you won't piss them off—and you don't want to piss them off. Parking and entrance are on Black Star Canyon Road, past the bridge over the wash, about a mile north of Silverado Canyon Road.

 

Star Foreman
Star Foreman

Location Info

Map

Orange County Fair & Exposition Center

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Costa Mesa

Mo Ran Gak Restaurant

9651 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Garden Grove

Bowers Museum

2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Category: Museums

Region: Santa Ana

Fullerton Farmers' Market

801 W. Valencia Drive
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Restaurant > Street Food

Region: Fullerton

Irvine Lake Cafe

4621 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Silverado

Villa Romano Green Farms

200 Avenida La Pata
San Clemente, CA 92673

Category: Restaurant > Street Food

Region: San Clemente

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

12827 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Retail

Region: Garden Grove

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

2200 S. Ritchey St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Category: Retail

Region: Santa Ana

Knott's Berry Farm

8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Buena Park

Aliso Beach

31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92652

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Laguna Beach

Mutt Lynchs

2300 W. Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Newport Beach

The Fisherman's Restaurant

611 Avenida Victoria
San Clemente, CA 92672

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Clemente

Costa Mesa Speedway

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Costa Mesa

Mugs Away Saloon

27324 Camino Capistrano
Laguna Beach, CA 92677

Category: Music Venues

Region: Laguna Niguel

Anaheim Convention Center

800 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Services

Region: Anaheim

Fullerton Sports Complex

560 E. Silver Pine St.
Fullerton, CA 92835

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Fullerton

The Festival Amphitheatre

12762 Main St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Category: Performing Arts Venues

Region: Garden Grove

Ocean Institute, Dana Point

24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

Angels Stadium Of Anaheim

2000 E. Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Music Venues

Region: Anaheim

Irvine Meadows Fairgrounds

8800 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Irvine

Art-A-Fair

777 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Community Venues

Region: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts

650 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Laguna Beach

Sawdust Art Festival

935 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Laguna Beach

El Centro Lions Park

201 N. Cypress St.
La Habra, CA 90631

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: La Habra

Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center

6200 Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

Category: Music Venues

Region: Long Beach

Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari

24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive Dana Point
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Dana Point

United States Sailing Center

5689 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90803

Category: Services

Region: Long Beach

Oaks Blenheim Riding Park

Via la Plata
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Pacific Marine Mammal Center

20612 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Services

Region: Laguna Beach

320 Main

320 Main St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Seal Beach

Matador Cantina

111 N. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Fullerton

Pacific Amphitheatre

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Music Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Long Beach

Dockside Boat & Bed

316 E. Shoreline Drive
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Long Beach

Orange County Zoo

1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Orange

Cook's Corner

19152 Santiago Canyon Rd
Coto De Caza, CA 92610

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Foothill Ranch

The Bruery

715 Dunn Way
Placentia, CA 92870

Category: Breweries and Wineries

Region: Placentia

Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Pacific Coast Highway and Warner
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Huntington Beach

Lantern Bay Park

25111 Park Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

Pearson Park

401 N. Lemon St.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Anaheim

Hi-Time Wine Cellars

250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Costa Mesa

Centennial Farms

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Services

Region: Costa Mesa

Newport Cruisers

2233 W. Balboa Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Retail

Region: Newport Beach

Catholic Worker

316 Cypress Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Category: Services

Region: Santa Ana

Wild Rivers Waterpark

8770 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Irvine

Doheny State Beach

25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Parks and Outdoors

Region: Dana Point

The Rinks- Anaheim Ice

300 W. Lincoln Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: Anaheim

Oak Canyon Ranch

5305 Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado, CA 92676

Category: Attractions and Amusement Parks

Region: Orange

Creme Tangerine

2930 Bristol St., Kiosk 2
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Retail

Region: Costa Mesa

Las Brisas

361 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Laguna Beach

Tanaka Farms

5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Raw Food

Region: Irvine

Portfolio Coffee House

2300 Fourth St.
Long Beach, CA 90814

Category: Coffee Shops

Region: Long Beach

Art Theatre of Long Beach

2025 E. 4th St.
Long Beach, CA 90814

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Long Beach

Details

Photography and post-production: Star Foreman
Hair and makeup: Autumn Sanders
Styling: Devon Nuzer
On-set stylist: Sunshine Harding
Models courtesy of Models International: Haley Bartlett, Thor Knai, Samantha Summers

SEE ALSO:


VIDEO: Click here to go behind the scenes of our cover photo shoot.


INFOGRAPHIC: Click here to see the last orange groves in Orange County.

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15. VOLUNTEERING AT VR GREEN FARMS
It's getting harder and harder to get back to the land in Orange County, but there are still patches of land planted with an array of fruits and vegetables, and nothing says summer like a little hard work followed by some great produce. Villa Romano Green Farms is an organic Italian farm on a hillside at the Bella Colina Golf Course above San Clemente. Fava beans, lettuces, chard, tomatoes and more spill down to the parking lot for the golf club, and every Thursday morning, owner Nic Romano seeks volunteers to help him work the land. Volunteers are put to work planting, transplanting, watering or—yes—weeding. Romano is the grandson of Italian immigrants and dreamed of trying to replicate the quality of the ingredients his grandparents remembered from Italy. He got his chance when the owners of the Bella Colina Golf Course invited him to use some unimproved land; the farm has expanded ever since, with fruit trees and the importation of San Marzano-type tomato plants. If volunteering at the farm is not a possibility for you, Romano runs an opt-in community-supported agriculture program on Saturday mornings. Buy a set of six ornate wooden discs for $150, then reserve a basket by Thursday for pickup on Saturday. Whatever's freshest goes into the basket, along with a big loaf of artisanal bread and maybe some honey or jam if they're available. Customers are sometimes handed a knife and told to harvest their own greens. Leftovers from the harvest are available at the Sweredoski Farms booth Saturday mornings at the Irvine farmers' market. 200 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente, (949) 697-0032; vrgreenfarms.com.

 

16. VISITING THE SURF GHETTO
(Click here for story.)

 

17. FIREWORKS!
OC has plenty of officially sanctioned fireworks displays on the Fourth of July—Huntington Beach's annual display on the pier is one of the largest—and five cities allow the sale of "safe and sane" fireworks (Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Stanton). But that doesn't stop people from bringing more powerful pyrotechnics back from Mexico—and then, in a fit of stunningly poor judgment, getting completely hammered before attempting to set them off. Seeing the inebriated attempt to figure out which of the three wiggling wicks to light is like watching a train wreck. Be a pal, and be someone's designated fireworks lighter. Or better yet, leave it to the pros.

 

18. WE'RE NOT RIVERSIDE
It's 110 degrees in the shade and the recipient of all the smog the rest of Southern California generates—hello, Riverside! There's a reason the westbound 91 freeway remains a stifling, choking bottleneck on summer weekends, ya know. . . .

 

19. HIKING TIJERAS CANYON AND THE WESTRIDGE TRAIL
Hiking in backwoods Orange County is beautiful, but starting and ending in civilization is even better. The Tijeras Canyon Trail is a beautiful, easy, clear, well-marked trail that is the antidote to the crowded beach. It starts near the north gate of Coto de Caza, just off Antonio Parkway, and ascends gently along the west side of the community. Signs lead to the Westridge Trail, which runs along a fairly flat ridge. Hawks sail in the air, deer occasionally dart across your path, and the weather is moderated by the sea breezes that waft up the canyon. Bring a basket (shh, we won't tell about that bottle of wine or Thermos of cocktails) and use one of the clearings for a picnic lunch. Break the trail at Tesoro High School before it wanders too far inland.

 

20. GETTING SECONDARY HIGHS FROM OPEN WINDOWS
Orange County's dozens of medicinal-marijuana dispensaries and the beautiful summer weather means you're never too far from a secondary high in the summer. Stock up on chips.

 

21. RESCUING LOST THEME-PARK TOURISTS
June through August in Anaheim, Buena Park and the beach cities means hordes of tourists cruising slowly and confusedly along Harbor, Beach or PCH. While it's tempting to give wrong directions ("Knott's Berry Farm? Oh, that's way up in LA"), it's better karma to rescue them from the horrors of the tourist traps that surround OC's signature attractions. After all, what did they do to deserve Captain Kidd's?

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My Voice Nation Help
2 comments
Eric Brightwell
Eric Brightwell

*Reasons 45, 58, 67, 87 and 99... because LA County is next door.

Cathie
Cathie

Break of Dawn is in Laguna Hills, not Laguna Niguel. So I guess the only thing Laguna Niguel has going for it is the bare-assed folks at Mugs Away. Big whoop.

 
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