Top 12 Things to Do Near Anaheim – Ways to Have Fun on the Water
Southern California is known for its sun and sand. However, the beach is not just about the golden shores. To the contrary, the beach is alluring for its warm water and exhilarating waves. Although Anaheim, California, is a landlocked city in Southern California’s prestigious Orange County, it is a short distance from a number of water-based activities. Therefore, when you plan your trip to Anaheim, be sure to remember to schedule some time for the water.
To get ideas for some wet and wild adventures on your trip to Anaheim, consider the following activities.
1. SportFishing. One of the most natural water activities is SportFishing. SportFishing is simply any type of recreational fishing, which makes it different from commercial and competitive alternatives. Because of this, SportFishing can vary widely and is easily tailored to the unique preferences and needs of the participants. SportFishing is common in Southern California, and many people enjoy taking to the open water to see what they can catch. It is possible to use a wide range of fishing tools, and the type of fish being caught will vary depending on the tools and the location. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong to SportFishing. For most people, SportFishing is just about having a good time on the water. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that offer rentals for SportFishing, making it a viable activity on any Anaheim vacation.
2. Kayaking. Many people have tried canoeing, but kayaking is the popular alternative in Southern California. In truth, kayaking is similar to canoeing in that both boats involve the use of paddles. However, a kayak is designed differently, and the paddles have blades on each side to make for a different rowing motion. While some people kayak on rivers in other parts of the country, ocean kayaking is very popular in Laguna Beach or Dana Point Harbor. In these cases, it is easy to rent a kayak and other protective gear to head out onto the open water. Kayaking allows participants to get very close to the water, creating an intimate ocean experience.
3. Jet skiing. For those looking for something a bit faster, jet skiing is a fantastic option. Jet skis are personal watercraft, usually made for one or two people. The jet ski will have a motor, and the user-friendly controls always allow for precise steering. In essence, a jet ski is a bit like a motorcycle on the water. With this amount of control and freedom, jet skis are great for an active day out on the water. Jet skiing is common up and down the coast, but the best places for rentals are Laguna Beach or Dana Point Harbor.
4. Ferry rides. Not every activity on the water requires high energy levels. For those looking for a quieter time on the ocean, a ferry ride is a great option. Ferries are large boats, which essentially serve as a bus on the water. Ferries have historically been very important for transportation and are still widely used as a method of transportation in numerous ocean communities. Near Anaheim, one of the best places to try a ferry ride is Newport Beach. Here, it is possible to catch a ferry out to Balboa Island. This way, travelers can enjoy their time on the water and have the opportunity to take a fun day trip to the island.
5. Boat tours. Many major cities offer bus tours. For guests traveling to Anaheim, however, a boat tour may be a fun alternative. A boat tour will take guests up and down the coastline, pointing out famous homes, beaches and other attractions along the way. These tours are fantastic for seeing many of the sights, but they are also a great way to enjoy the open water with no hassles or added stress. These tours can vary depending on the interest. Some of these tours have a historical angle, offering guests insight into the history of certain locations up and down the coast. Some of the best known boat tours near Anaheim can be found at Newport Bay.
6. Whale and dolphin watching. While some people simply love the water, other people are fascinated by the life within it. The ocean has a distinctive selection of wildlife, most of which is especially alluring to tourists. In particular, many people love to see dolphins frolicking in the waves. Better still, people crave a glimpse of the massive whales that migrate up and down the coast each year. While it is possible to see these animals by chance, the best way to experience them is with a specialized tour. These tours know where whales or dolphins are likely to congregate, increasing the likelihood of seeing some. There are numerous companies that offer such tours near Anaheim, and Dana Point and Newport Beach are great starting points.
7. Surfing. There is no water sport more closely associated with Southern California than surfing. When it comes to the ocean, there is nothing more quintessential to the area than catching a wave. While some guests may be content just to watch, there are plenty of opportunities to get out there and give it a try. Numerous companies offer rentals, and many also provide surfing lessons for people of all ages and abilities. This way, even novices can get a taste of what it is like to catch a wave. Although surfing is popular up and down the coast, the best place to start is Huntington Beach. This famous city is actually known as “Surf City USA,” making it a must for interested surfers visiting Anaheim.
8. Kitesurfing. For a different take on hitting the waves, kitesurfing might be just the activity. Kitesurfing involves riding a board on the waves while using a kite to move. This kite is attached to the surfer in a special way, giving the surfer the ability to control the kite. This gives the surfer the ability to control their direction and speed, although it takes time to develop advanced control for tricks and racing. Although kitesurfing is one of the more complicated water sports to learn, there are plenty of companies that will work with novices for a safe and fun introductory kitesurfing experience. For the best options, be sure to try Seal Beach and Huntington Beach.
9. Stand-up paddle boarding. At first glance, stand-up paddle boarding may look a lot like surfing. However, while the boards are similar, stand-up paddle boarding is less about catching waves than it is crossing distances. This sport has been popular in Hawaiian culture for years, but it is just recently emerging as a popular sport in Southern California. To participate, it is necessary to have a board and a paddle, and then it is possible to glide across the water at leisure. Many people try stand-up paddle boarding at Laguna Beach, Dana Point Harbor or Newport Beach Harbor.
10. Undersea tours. Most people have heard of snorkeling or scuba diving, but one of the best ways to look under the surface near Anaheim is an undersea tour. These unique tours equip guests with a specialized helmet, which allows them to easily breath and move beneath the surface. This way, it is possible to explore the sea without being a certified diver. Many people find these types of tours less stressful than other types of diving. These tours can give guests unprecedented access to the magnificent life under the water. To try this out, be sure to consider the Sea Trek Undersea Adventure at Catalina Island.
11. Sailing. When most people think of a peaceful time on the water, drifting along in a sailboat comes to mind. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to sail near Anaheim. While some people may have their own sailboat, others may need to rent one during their stay. In these cases, rentals are available on a day by day basis, making it easy to customize the activity to any need. There are also guided sailing tours available for those who do not feel comfortable on their own just yet. Although there are many starting points, most people choose Dana Point or Newport Beach for their sailing adventure.
12. Dinner cruise. For the ultimate in leisure on the water, consider a dinner cruise on an Anaheim vacation. These cruises are set around the dinner hour, giving guests a decadent meal while they are treated to a peaceful tour up and down the coast. Dinner cruises are a unique way to truly relax on the water, making them a great option on vacation. Dinner cruises are available up and down the coast, but some of the most popular tours start from Newport Beach Harbor.
As this list shows, there are a multitude of opportunities to enjoy the water during a trip to Anaheim. Whether you want a high energy activity or a peaceful pastime, there is an activity perfectly designed for you. Consider the options, and be sure to book a water activity for your next Anaheim getaway.
Visit Newport Beach
Newport Beach, California is a fun and vibrant community located in the western part of Orange County. It is an affluent community where, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, 85,287 people reside. Best known for its magnificent recreational boat harbor and equally beautiful beaches, you will truly enjoy yourself when you spend time visiting the many attractions, sunning yourself on the beach and taking advantage of all that Newport Beach and the surrounding area has to offer.
Newport Beach was incorporated in 1906 and was once home to a thriving maritime industry that included commercial fishing, boat and ship building. Over time, the focus shifted from more of an industrial locale to a place dominated by recreational related businesses. There are still a few commercial fishermen and boat charters. You can go sport fishing or take the ferry to nearby Catalina Island.
A fun place for all
Today, residents and tourists alike can enjoy all types of outdoor activities. The brilliant beaches and beautiful harbor attract thousands of people every day. You can sail, canoe or kayak through the calm waters. You can play golf, ride a bike or just take a walk along the boardwalk.
Cultural activities are also abundant. On any given day, you can spend time browsing through the art galleries, visiting a museum, or attending a concert, movie or theatrical performance.
Shopping opportunities are outstanding. There are many quaint shops and a very popular upscale mall where you can have your car valet-parked and engage the services of a personal shopper.
Newport Beach is blessed with many fine restaurants. Being so close to the water, the seafood that is served by many local dining establishments is the freshest and most deliciously prepared as any seafood you have ever eaten.
Newport Beach appeals to all types of people. Families with young children can spend all day at the beach. Couples can enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner in a restaurant overlooking the harbor. Seniors can have fun attending shows and relaxing under a shady tree by the beach.
Describing all of the fun things to do on vacation in Newport Beach could mean coming up with a list of more than 100 items. Part of the fun of going on vacation is to explore and discover new, fun things without planning to seek them out. However, it is always good to have some must-see places. Just to get you started, here are a few popular places to see and things to do when you are vacationing in and around Newport Beach.
Extending out over 1,000 feet, this California historical landmark is a favorite place for fishermen and a really nice place to go for a leisurely stroll. At the end of the pier is a restaurant that specializes in sushi and seafood.
Balboa Fun Zone
One of the best places to take the kids, this Oceanside amusement park is easily recognized by the big Ferris wheel. Kids will love the arcade games and a visit to ExplorOcean will teach them all about life beneath the sea.
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
A very relaxing way to spend a few hours is to immerse your self in the unspoiled beauty of nature. With more than 35,000 migratory birds and over 200 endangered species in the 1,000 acres of protected wetlands and plenty of trails for hiking and biking, you will have plenty to see and do.
Moor your boat up to the dock and step in to one of the many excellent restaurants for a healthy lunch. This one time very busy commercial fishing village has been revitalized and is becoming a very popular place to visit.
Regency Lido Theater
Step back in time when you attend a showing at this historical theater that was originally built-in 1938. Completely refurbished to reflect the pre-World War II era, the Regency is one of the main venues for the annual Newport Beach Film Festival.
Golf at the Resort at Pelican Hill
The two championship golf courses are both included in Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in America
Volleyball at Big Corona Beach
At Big Corona Beach, you can get in a friendly volleyball game, test your surfing skills or go skim-boarding. There are majestic cliffs overlooking the beach and you can catch the magnificent sunsets from your perch on Inspiration or Lookout Point.
Shopping at Fashion Island
If you love shopping and want to be treated like a Diva, this is the place to go. In between your search for the latest fashions, stop and take a break in one of the fashionable cafes in this beautiful outdoor mall.
Orange County Museum of Art
Get out of the sun and come inside to explore modern and contemporary works of art.
Newport Beach Museum
Take a journey back in time through California history. The collection features more than 2,500 artifacts and interesting displays relating to the art and history of the Golden State.
During the season, go out on a boat for a fascinating encounter with the whales that also like to vacation in Newport Beach, or at least in the cool deep waters just off the coast line.
Deep Sea Fishing
If you enjoy fishing, get up early and join the crew on a charter fishing boat for a day at sea.
If you are lucky enough to be in town for the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, make sure not to miss the world’s largest sailboat race. If you miss it, you can still get a good look at some of the many million dollar yachts that call Newport Harbor home.
If you are planning a vacation in Southern California, make sure you put Newport Beach on your itinerary. You can still spend a day at Disneyland and go to SeaWorld in San Diego, but you don’t want to miss out on all of the fun things to do in Newport Beach.
Visit Dana Point
Once upon a time, more than 100 years ago, Dana Point and Dana Point Harbor was an active area for commercial fishing. It was also an important Southern California port for tall sailing ships that transported cargo between the east and west coast of America.
Out west, the harvesting of animal hides was big business. When those hides were harvested, they would be taken to Dana Point Harbor and loaded on ships bound for Boston or other ports of call back east. Then, finished goods, like furniture and clothing, would be loaded on the empty vessels and sail back west to Dana Point.
Today, both commercial fishing and long-distance transportation by sea are just distant memories of the historic early years of this beautiful part of Orange County, California. While you can still charter a boat to go deep-sea fishing in Dana Point, most people come to visit Dana Point for other reasons.
Dana Point is a popular place for a day trip from LA or San Diego and also has much to offer for people spending their vacation in and around the area. Come out and take in some of the sites, enjoy the outdoor activities, go shopping or have a delicious seafood dinner.
Dana Point Harbor
A great place to take in a number of different activities, from renting a boat to going on a whale watching expedition, is this picturesque harbor. One of the busiest and most popular small-boat harbors on the entire west coast, the marina provides 2,500 permanent and temporary boat slips. The fully equipped marina includes a fuel dock, bait barge, boating services and boat brokers. Come down to the marina and take a casual stroll along the waterfront.
You can have lunch at one of the fifteen restaurants and eateries around Dana Point Harbor and then do a little browsing or buying in the 25-plus unique shops. The Harbor is a central focal point of this community of a little over 33,000 residents.
• Go sport fishing on a chartered fishing boat. Your Captain will make sure you will come home with at least one big fish to show off to your friends.
• At night, enjoy a dinner cruise with live music and entertainment.
• Take an exciting trip out to sea, anytime of the year and get a close-up look at the whales. Gray whales migrate south during the winter and you will spot the blue whales during the summer months.
• Walk, jog or ride your bike on the four mile paved path that surrounds the Harbor.
• Rent a kayak or other small watercraft and set sail on your own little adventure in the calm and peaceful waters around the marina
Located at the west end of Dana Point Harbor, Baby Beach is so named because of its very calm waters. There are no big waves and only a few ripples in the water when the wind blows. A great place for families with young children, you can swim in the morning, build sand castles and then rinse off in the public showers. Bring a picnic basket or use the barbecue grills to make lunch. It won’t cost you much to have a most enjoyable day. Parking is plentiful and free.
Just a little bit away from Baby Beach is another popular beach where you can get into a friendly volleyball game, shoot hoops or participate in a variety of different water sports. You can rent fishing gear and there is a concession stand that sells food and cold drinks.
Ocean Institute & the Pilgrim Tall Ship
One of the more popular things to do when you visit is to take a tour through the facilities of the Ocean Institute and observe the ocean animals, sea plants and deep sea fish in their natural environment. The facility is frequented by school kids during the week, but, on the weekends, the general public is invited to participate in the fun.
A must do if you get the chance is to take a short tour of the harbor aboard the Pilgrim, a replica of the original tall ship. Your voyage will be led by docents, or guides, dressed in full 19th century costumes. The experience aboard this 3-mast, Tall Sailing Ship, is one you won’t soon forget.
Monarch Beach Golf Links
If golf is what you love, let your wife take the kids to the beach for the morning. She will enjoy lying out in the sun and the kids will have fun playing in the sand and splashing in the calm water. While they are having their own special experience, you can hit the links of a championship par 70 golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. that is based on a traditional Scottish links course. Other than maybe Pebble Beach, this course is the place to play in California if you want incredible scenic ocean views while you are on the green putting for par.
If you are lucky enough to be in town during December, be sure to catch the Annual Boat Parade of Lights. Locals from Orange County, and around the greater Southern California area, dress up their boats for a long and fun procession through the Harbor. Other regularly occurring events include the Festival of Whales in March, the Tall Ships Festival in September, the Dana Point Grand Prix Bike Race and the Turkey Trot in November.
When you come to Orange County, be sure to visit Dana Point. You can enjoy a day out at sea or a day at the beach. There are many great restaurants where you can dine and watch the yachts sail by in the harbor. While there is no famous theme park in Dana Point, the kids will love all of the fun outdoor activities that are woven into this beautiful seaside community.