Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
We hate saying this because, sheesh, it's that school, but the private Catholic bastion in the heart of Santa Ana—which is one of the largest (with 2,100 students), wealthiest (tuition is $13.2K per year for Catholics, $14.6K for heretics) and insufferably full-of-itself schools in the county—is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to athletics (and pedophilia, but that's for our Scariest People issue). The boys' football and basketball, as well as girls' basketball, teams are perennial pains in the ass for everyone except the Orange County Register, which has developed a cottage industry of polishing bishops. But it's not just the big programs. The boy Monarchs finished in the top 10 in the Register's rankings (one thing that fish wrap does very well is keep tabs on high-school athletics), but also water polo (first), swimming, track and field, and volleyball. And the girls were top-ranked in basketball (as with the boys' squad, they made the state championship, only to lose) and top 10 in golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. Sure the rest of the county hates the school, but, dayum, you can't argue the facts.
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.