Challenge: Name three things to do in Yorba Linda without using the words “Nixon” or “library.” Can you? No. Three types of people visit the Nixon Library (18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., 714-993-5075; nixonfoundation.org): school groups, people who are gamely visiting every presidential library and suffered two hours' traffic from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, and the people who are really serious about their love of the Dick, which is just plain weird. So what to do in the summer in Orange County's northeast corner? Plenty.
Start by hopping on your road bike and heading to the entrance of the Santa Ana River Trail, just off the 91 freeway and Green River Road on the Orange/Riverside county line. From there it's an easy 60 miles to the beach and back; on weekends, hundreds of cyclists set out in the first morning light, trying to time their journey so they get the offshore wind on the way down and the onshore wind on the way up. By 10 a.m., though, the serious cyclists have mostly given way to casual riders and families taking short rides through the parks, and if you're not the kind of person who likes to be seen in public in skin-tight riding gear, this is when you should head out. Spend a couple of hours tooling around, head toward Orange or Anaheim, then come back and clean up.
After lunch, get a sense of Yorba Linda's rural history at the Susanna Bixby Bryant Ranch House and Museum (5700 Susanna Bryant Dr., 714-694-0234, ylpl.lib.ca.us/sbb.php). If you squint as you enter the ranch house, you can almost get the sense that perhaps Yorba Linda wasn't always a suburban outpost of tastefully curved residential streets and homes that range from the merely oversized to the truly palatial, that it was once Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana, a Mexican land-grant rancho sold off in the 19th century.
Did you know that tucked away within the stately confines of these badlands lie the last vestiges of Orange County's once-influential Danish community? Once a month during the summer, the Danish Church (16881 Bastanchury Rd., 714-993-6362; danishchurchsocal.com) and its pastors host an outdoor service followed by a barbecue with Danish specialties. If you're looking for a gateway to Swedish, you can enroll your kids in Danish summer camp here.
And no matter your summer plans, you'll inevitably be stuck at some point in the choking eastbound traffic on the 91 freeway. Save yourself, and take a rest at Sushi Noguchi (18507 Yorba Linda Blvd., 714-777-6789; sushinoguchi.com). Sit at the blond-paneled bar and order omakase. If your experience with sushi is dragon rolls and eel sauce, start with the set omakase, which incorporates cooked ingredients as well as raw. If you're spouting off the Japanese names for fish—kampachi and saba and tako—then you should put yourself fully in Hiro's hands.
Oh, and there's that presidential library, too.