After a long week at work, all that any of us want to do is look forward to a little R&R for the next couple days. Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Yes please! Bring on the sleep and the fun!
However, there is a pitfall that many of us stumble into and often dread planning during the evenings of the weekend. This dismay is (newly) known as “Daycations”.
Daycations: A vacation condensed into one single day!
We have to plan, make reservations, and shell out our savings in order to have a good time, but the stress and expense is enough to cause many to have a case of Daycation Anxiety, which ultimately ruins the whole joyous occasion.
This day should be a celebration of togetherness and not a chauvinistic expenditure, but unfortunately today’s mindset and economy would state otherwise. By the time dinner for two is eaten up and the credits for the movies are rolling, you are in the hole $100 ! And the expense only goes up spending the whole day together.
Who is looking forward to the weekend now?
Luckily, the fun can still proceed without the stress or the expenses, even in the pricey district of Orange County.
How so, you ask? With some innovative ideas and a little bit of research. Fortunately, we have done the difficult investigating for you and found these incredible daycations that you will love for under $20. So grab your spouse and your sense of adventure and check out these incredible activities for two:
1. Huntington Beach Pier
Looking for some good ol’ fashion fun in the sun? Head down to Surf City USA and check out the Huntington pier. The beach is open year round so you can go enjoy the surf and sand any day, any time. Not to mention, parking is free in the neighboring streets if you want to walk a little, or the shore side parking is $15.
Spend the whole day catching some waves in the cool pacific swells, soaking up the sun on the sand, playing beach volleyball on the sand-side courts, or browse around the downtown shopping area or the pier. There are many greatrestaurants, like Bj’s and Johnny Rockets, that include a cheap and tasty happy hour perfect for an afternoon snack, or walk to the end of the pier and grab a shake from Ruby’s Diner while watching the sunset! Walking tours are also available for free or a small fee if you are curious to discover the secrets behind this iconic beach.
In town on Tuesday?
Check out the farmer’s market in Downtown Huntington. It’s free and absolutely fresh and fun. Not to mention, the farmer’s market usually accompanies an art walk, which features several entertaining performers and street artists selling masterpieces and creating more on site.
If you want more food and fun, Huntington Beach also caters to bonfires and hot-dog roasts with many fire rings on the sand. So grab the sunblock, your swimsuit, and your man for the best day in the OC sun.
2. Angel Stadium Tours
For many guys, its all about the live games and the sports, so if your man is into anything MLB, definitely check out the behind the scenes Angel Stadium Tour. For only $7 (and $5 for children, if you want to bring the kids along), you can embark on a scenic tour and come face to face with the typically “restricted areas” of the stadium. The areas that you will explore include the team dugouts, exclusive diamond club, the Angel Stadium Press box, locker rooms, and more!
Most tours last around an hour and a half and run from as early as 10:30am to as late as 2:30pm and are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when the team is out of town. It may be tricky to find a tour when the Angels are in season, so definitely check beforehand to see what is the tour availability.
To schedule a tour, or to address any questions, call the tour hotline at (714) 940-2045 or email the bookie firstname.lastname@example.org. The secrets will be unlocked and your inner fan will be let loose, so book a tour today!
3. OC Parks Hiking and Mountain Biking
California is famous for its incredible weather and diversity of year-round activities. The sun is always shining so those outdoor ventures calling your name are available annually. One such recreation is hiking and mountain biking. Many are not aware of the numerous hiking trails throughout the OC mountain line, but the trails are always open and most are free, including the Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park, and Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
However, these are not the only places of wilderness that can be explored; Orange County is home to over 40,000 acres of parks, which means there were simply too many trails and paths to list.
If you are interested in finding your perfect destination for a hike, mountain bike adventure, or Cliffside picnic, click on the link to check out the parks and trails available for you!
As mentioned before, most are free, but some may ask for a small parking fee, but it will never be more than $20, as promised. So, all you need are some sturdy shoes and a little sense of adventure!
4. Orange County Great Park Balloon Ride
What’s more romantic than an evening over the city with your loved one and you? Not much, especially when it doesn’t cost much either.
Spend a night high above the city traffic in a glamorous helium balloon where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride thanks to the expertise of a balloon guide. See the city lights below and the stars lit above, and hear nothing but the gentle hum of the balloon go sailing bye.
Each balloon can hold up to 30 people and fly half a mile above the ground. Not to mention its safe for the whole family, and the environment as well.
Prices for adults are $10 each. Children can join as well for $5 if they are 6-16 years of age, or it’s free for children 5 and under. The hours of operation are:
Thursdays and Fridays: 10:00a.m-3:00p.m. and 7:00p.m-10:00p.m
Saturdays and Sundays: 9:00a.m-3:00p.m. and 7:00p.m-10:00p.m
For any questions, or to book a flight, call (866) 829-3829.
5. Balboa Island Ferry
The kid in us sometimes just wants to be set free. Embrace the child like wonder in all of us and live it up at Balboa Island. It’s carnival style entertainment, which includes an old fashion arcade, Ferris wheel, and historic carousel. Plus, vendors sell novelty goods and everything famously fried just like a traditional fairground. Not to mention, Balboa Island is just across the Newport harbor, so all beach going activities, like swimming and sun tanning, are also available.
To get to the island, simply take the ferry ride over from mainland Balboa. Ticket prices are just $1 for adults and $0.50 for kids 11 and under. Want to drive around on the island? No problem! The ferryboat has spaces for cars too, and it only costs a dollar extra.
After you are done exploring Balboa Island, don’t forget to take a walk through Downtown Balboa. Your inner child will find absolute joy browsing through Balboa’s Candy Store, and you can’t leave without trying the famous Balboa Ice Cream Bar created by Dad’s Donut and Bakery. It’s a taste of chocolate dipped heaven, and it is the perfect ending for any daycation!
6. Roger’s Garden
Who said gardening is a “women’s sport”? Some men pride themselves on their botanical skills, so if that is the case, definitely check out the beautiful splendors of Roger’s Garden. This floral paradise is a fairytale for everyone, even if plants are not quite your thing. This reserve has acres of lush greenery and designated gardens that include foreign flowers, handmade statues, and natural streams. It’s a great place to explore, breath in the fresh air, or simply take a stroll down the rocky pathways.
Have landscaping and botanical questions? Roger’s garden is your place to get all things “plant”. Experts are available park-wide daily to answer any questions about botanical sciences and development. Not to mention, you can try some of the freshly grown fruits and vegetables produced directly on the property.
If you happen to stop in during special holidays, be sure to check out their festive events. Every Halloween, part of the garden is blocked out to make way for a haunted laboratory, and each winter the staff brings in an elaborate Polar Express train set running through the park during Christmas. Not to mention, hand-blown glass ornaments can be seen annually in one of the garden’s boutiques.
Oh, did I mention entrance is free?! Definitely stop by for a relaxing afternoon with a fairytale ending.
7. Downtown Disney
So not all of us have a Disneyland pass, despite the stereotype that all southern Californian residence do. However, it’s still possible to experience the magic of Disney without the crazy expense of a park ticket or annual pass. Just visit Downtown Disney!
This lively promenade features one-of-a-kind stores that cannot be found anywhere else. These stores includingMarceline’s Confectionery where handmade candies and characterized chocolate dipped apples are created right before your eyes, World of Disney which houses collectibles and all things Disney, and the WonderGround Gallery where Disney animators and artists sell and showcase their work; sometimes, artists draw directly in the store so you can watch their handiwork and ask them questions in person!
Live music is being played throughout different sections of the strip, which include the serenade of instrumental guitarists to the rock of 50’s tribute bands who will teach you how to swing dance.
During Holidays, the south end of the downtown walkway is transformed into an ice skating rink complete with lit trees and tinsel to bring in the Christmas spirit. However, the magic of Disney is felt in this location year round!
Parking is free for the first two hours, or can be validated with a receipt from many of the on site stores or restaurants.
8. Farmer’s Market
Sometimes a simple stroll for “walkin’ and talkin’” is all that’s needed for a wonderful day. However, if you want to enjoy the niceties of a casual stroll, but still want some excitement and aromas of new exploration, check out the available farmer’s markets located throughout Orange County. Many markets are open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and it’s always free to enter (however, you may want to bring a few bucks to purchase some amazing and wholesome food).
Shop and sample some of the most astounding, fresh, and locally grown produce or come by to support local artists. Many sell their craft or will showcase it live throughout the day.
Check out this site to look at the Famer’s Market Schedule to see when and where your favorite boutiques are open.
Fun in the sun all day doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; in fact, you may need those valuable appendages later to embark on one of these incredibly fun and inexpensive daycations! Don’t be afraid of the dreaded expense and planning of “Date Night”. Enjoy the simplicities of togetherness and grow more in laughter and love while having a great day out on the town!
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