Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
This 3-mile stretch of beach is not Orange County's most scenic or natural, but what Sunset and Surfside have going for them is everything you want for a day at the beach—all within walking distance. There's free parking, unoccupied sand (it's among the widest SoCal beaches), and generally clean water for wading, swimming and, especially on the north end, body and board surfing. Lifeguard services are provided seasonally. It's quieter, the waves are more mellow, and the sands are covered with more shells than at OC's more popular tourist beaches, making it a great place for young'uns. Meanwhile, it's so dark there at night that you can tick sex on the beach off your bucket list without anyone knowing—or even having to have a partner! Need to get out of your home for a while (damn mold!)? Sunset has a row of clean rentals that are more reasonably priced than those at our snootier ZIP codes. Best of all, you are within stumbling distance of watering holes including Brix, Turcs, Mother's, King Neptune's and Nadine's Irish Mist. Sláinte!
It's not often you use the words bullets and Brea in the same sentence. But within this relatively sleepy suburb is the most bangin' firing range around. Orange County Indoor Shooting Range is a fully renovated and top-of-the-line establishment for all your firing needs, whether you're a beginner or Dirty Harry. Carrying a full stock of 62 types of gun rentals (ammo, too!), as well as various stages of training classes and group discounts (two people can shoot for two hours for just $50), this place is all about giving you more bang for your buck (you know we had to use that, right?).
Its mystique, ungodly smells and tiny Asian waitresses with boobs so inflated they should be falling into their drink trays make Hawaiian Gardens Casino special—in all the best ways. Also, there's pai gow poker, which yields greater odds of winning than traditional poker. Just keep an eye on your rearview mirror while driving home. Just sayin'.
Though it's not quite considered the boonies, this beloved patch of nature in the northern hills of Fullerton feels far away from the rush of cars, traffic and people—enough to plop down for lunch with the aid of a blanket. As the sun shines onto the shimmering lake, watch as wildlife chirps, scampers and swims all around you as you chomp down on some sandwiches and potato salad. Just don't feed the ducks; they'll never leave you alone.
This is about as close as you can get to the way surfing started—and in a less bro-tastic world—in OC. Located in a parking lot just to the north of the Seal Beach pier, M&M Surfing School isn't much more than a trailer parked in front of the sand, with boards on the side and a heap of wetsuits in all sizes. Run by Michael Pless and his son, Michael Jr., the school is licensed by the city and provides group and individual lessons for adults and kids. And the variety of breaks at the beach means that no matter what your skill level, there will be a wave with your name on it.
Get up early and devote a little more than an hour to walk from Hart Park to Grijalva Park. Round trip, it's 4.6 miles—the path is longer than that, but this is our favorite section—and you'll work up a sweat, get your daily exercise, and start your day amid the trail's peaceful, natural splendor. Well-maintained throughout the year, there are trees and greenery (when there's enough water), friendly squirrels and ducks (when there's enough water), and only a handful of joggers. During rainy season (when there's enough water), taking a walk before dusk with an umbrella, holding the hand of the one you love, the creek rushing beside you . . . there's little more romantic than this.