Sports & Recreation

  • Best Park

    Irvine Regional Park

    When one thinks of a park in Orange County, it usually brings up images of finely manicured grass, perfectly placed shade trees and a nice man-made pond with some intrusive ducks. These types of green spaces have their place of course, especially when it comes to family outings, but they are a dime a dozen. Yet parks that can offer… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Big Bear

    Whether you're coming from as far south as San Clemente or as north as Yorba Linda, it will usually take between two and three hours to get to Big Bear. You can be snowboarding, hiking or boating in the same amount of time it can take to get to downtown Los Angeles on a weekday. It's far away enough and… More >>
  • Best Place to Take an Out-of-Town Visitor

    Heisler Park

    Let's face it: Though Orange County has an international reputation for glamour thanks to cable-TV shows, huge chunks of our region are grotesquely ugly. But the most invigorating spot in Southern California is also within our boundaries: Heisler Park in Laguna Beach. With incredible views of the hillside coastal town, as well as of the Pacific Ocean and beach, the… More >>
  • Best Place to Escape North County Hell

    Yorba Regional Park

    We'll have to double-check with Webster, but we're pretty sure feeding a flock of ducks by a lake is pretty much the definition of leisure. It's one of the many activities you can get in on at Yorba Regional Park. Situated at the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon, this mile-long expanse of lush grass, serene lakes, softball diamonds, modern playgrounds… More >>
  • Best Place to Get High

    Down By the Santa Ana River

    Unfortunately, we cannot give you the address to our friend's house, but we can tell you about a lovely place to light up that you may have never been to—or even heard of. Many factors go into choosing the best place to get high, but atmosphere and stealthiness are at the top of the list. So, go down by the… More >>
  • Best Thing to Do In the Dark

    Full Moon Stand-Up Paddleboarding

    In Orange County, the best thing to do in the dark involves getting wet. Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! We're talking about stand-up paddleboarding, better known as SUP. During the day, it's a fun fitness activity, but when the sun goes down, it's a truly magical experience. In the summer, Pirate Coast Paddle Co. hosts Full Moon… More >>
  • Bellis Park Dog Park

    Best Dog Park

    Bellis Park Dog Park

    In the land of Snoopy lies a hidden haven for his barking brethren to play: a fenced-in, grassy area behind the tennis courts at Bellis Park. Opened four years ago by the Buena Park City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission, the Bellis Park Dog Park is leash-free in its libertine ways. There are also no sections separating big… More >>
  • Best Park for Kids

    Box Canyon Park

    Most kids want to be a pirate or a princess at one point in their lives, and Box Canyon Park grants that wish. Where most parks lack in creativity, this place makes up for it with a pirate ship and castle playground. Staying true to an authentic ship, the play area features sails, a helm and a spot dedicated to… More >>
  • Best Ride At Disneyland

    Indiana Jones

    It isn't every day you can travel to Bengal and go on a thrilling adventure in search of Indiana Jones. Once you get in line, the park's setting is completely changed. It's an adventure in itself to reach the loading area, as you go through different caves, avoiding diamond-shaped steps, and watch the mini instructional film. The Disneyland ride's illusions… More >>
  • Best Historical Landmark Everyone Takes for Granted

    Mission San Juan Capistrano

    Yeah, so you visited the mission while in elementary school—but have you returned since? It's actually quite enjoyable. Whether you're journeying through a rustic, religious time warp during one of its many historical tours (both audio-guided and with a live docent), meandering through sacred gardens or marveling at the gilded altar of the Historic Serra Chapel, this will indeed be… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Mike Brown

    Coaching the Lakers in the championship-banner shadows of Phil Jackson is no easy task—just ask Rudy Tomjanovich, who bailed on the team mid-season in the aftermath of the Shaq-Kobe explosion in 2004. Add to that pressure a lockout-shortened season, no training camp, a trade for Chris Paul swatted down by Commissioner David Stern, a laughable bench and, of course, whiny… More >>
  • Best View

    Black Gold Golf Club's 12th-Hole Tee Box

    It's going to cost more than a few ducats to marvel at this view, but if you're a golfer, there's no better panoramic vista than the highest tee in Orange County. You're staring southwest, directly at Huntington Beach, and nearly all of Orange County northwest of Newport Beach sprawls before you, along with Catalina Island and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.… More >>
  • Best Angels Player

    Mike Trout

    Before the season began, this was a no-brainer. The Angels signed Albert Pujols, the greatest hitter of his generation, in December. Even though his numbers had trailed slightly in 2011, there was no reason to think he wouldn't crush it in Anaheim. But King Albert appeared lost in the first month, and with the Angels off to their worst start… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Michael Lorenzen

    UC Irvine has four returning All-Americans this year: Kevin Tillie (men's volleyball), Mitch Wise (men's water polo), and Jesse Cardey and Danielle Warde (women's water polo). But it's hard to top the latest sensation from Cal State Fullerton's prolific baseball program. Michael Lorenzen, an Anaheim native, joined junior Dylan Floro in receiving All-American status last season. The sophomore was named… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course

    We appealed to Randy Youngman, a longtime Orange County Register sportswriter (until he was unceremoniously jettisoned earlier this year, the dumb fucks . . .) and avid golfer for this one. He says the south course at Pelican Hill is the jewel in the county's golf crown, but it's also ridiculously expensive ($280 before 12:30 p.m.). For the best blend… More >>
  • Bolsa Chica State Beach

    Best Beach

    Bolsa Chica State Beach

    It doesn't have the biggest waves or views unobstructed by the offshore oil industry or a location that makes you feel as though you've gotten away from it all, but what Bolsa Chica State Beach has going for it is one-stop shopping. You can camp, surf and fish here. And sunbathe and picnic and bird watch—anything you can do at… More >>
  • Black Star Canyon Falls

    Best Nature Trail

    Black Star Canyon Falls

    Orange County—at least the southern part of it—is full of amazing hiking trails. For pure exertion, views and thrill of conquest, it's hard to top the 5,689-foot Saddleback Mountain, a.k.a. Santiago Peak. Equally stunning view-wise but more accessible are the myriad trails in Laguna Canyon, some of which, near the Top of the World, even lead to hippie caves. But… More >>
  • Best Surf Spot

    The Wedge

    There is a severely enforced and unwritten law of the California board of tourism that there must be at least one person in the Pacific Ocean at all times. Since surfers will do anything to the point of poverty to be in the water, they have become the minions of this government money-making scheme. Because of the severity of punishment,… More >>
  • Best Not-So-Secret Surf Spot

    San Onofre State Beach

    If we were vindictive, sadistic sociopaths, we'd send you to the mouth of the Santa Ana River or some other non-surf spot, knowing full well you take our recommendations like the Word. But we're reading a lot of Buddhist literature at this point, so we'll give you the obvious truth: San Onofre. No, seriously! With Interstate 5 going right by… More >>
  • Best Ducks Player

    Teemu Selanne

    If the National Hockey League owners get their sticks out of their five-hole, this will be Teemu Selanne's 20th year playing in the professional league, and he's already showing his age—last year was his worst, goal-wise, for a full season in his career. Of course, that total—26—would count as an All-Star year for just about anyone else, which only shows… More >>
  • Firing-Line

    Best Shooting Range


    It was the first indoor shooting range in Orange County, and it remains the top spot to visit when you need to blow off a few rounds. Firing-Line's Huntington Beach location is safe, professional and run by expertly trained staff. Open every day until 10 p.m., Firing-Line skips the fancy ambiance and décor and goes right to the meat of… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Craig Regional Park

    While Irvine continues to try to promise that its Great Park will one day rise up, hang out in what's a true treasure of green among the suburban beige of Fullerton and on-the-border Brea. Long a spot for amorous North County lovers, Craig (named after one of the few Brea council members who was not a Ku Klux Klan member)… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Linbrook Bowl

    This Anaheim landmark is everything a bowling alley should be in the 21st century—a historical landmark that's still vibrant, a place that draws in the grayhairs playing for the same teams they've belonged to since the Johnson administration alongside kids who were born during the Obama administration, a collection of fast lanes that seems to produce as many strikes as… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're a Bollywood Star

    MAD Bollywood Dance Studios

    Boy meets girl. Girl's parents go batshit crazy. Boy fights goons sent by girl's father. Girl swoons. Throw in some jeweled costumes, lip-synching and choreographed pelvic thrusts, and you've got yourself a Bollywood hit. If you've ever wanted to plant yourself in one of those epic musical numbers, there's no need to travel all the way to Mumbai. At Tustin's… More >>
  • Best Gym

    The Outdoors

    Sure, you can pay a pretty penny and tone your body alongside the multitudes, but the Great Recession demands thriftiness, and Orange County offers the gym that it is. Whether it's the off-road biking of our trails, the marathon that is Beach Boulevard, the swimming off San Onofre or the weight-training that is lugging around your kid, get to it!  … More >>
  • Best Mud Run

    Camp Pendleton World Famous Mud Run

    The granddaddy of them all, and still the best. Really, how can any other mud run compete against an event that gets you into the same camp where our Marines practice, that draws scores of hot guys and gals from across the country wanting to share a hose with you, and whose proceeds usually go to charity. The Camp Pendleton… More >>
  • Best Casino

    Commerce Casino

    Other casinos might be more opulent, pay out more or have a better selection of games, but nothing beats the Commerce Casino for sheer convenience. House payments have been won (or lost) by commuters on Interstate 5 who finally give up on traffic and decide to spend a couple of hours playing poker and blackjack here.… More >>