Orange County Honeymoon - what do do, what to see?
April 4, 2012 9:22 AM   Subscribe

My lovely bride and I will be married later this year. Due to scheduling issues, we'll be taking our honeymoon in January 2013, in Capistrano Beach. We need some ideas on what to see and do in and near Orange County.

We'd like to stay out of LA proper, but anywhere from, say, Irvine to San Diego would be fair game. My interests run to the geeky: computers, science fiction, RPGs. I am also an amateur magician. Her interests include gardening, landscaping, the environment, outdoor activities, hiking. music, and art. None of this should be considered limiting, of course. For context, we are both mid-fiftyish.

Any thoughts and suggestions on honeymooning in Orange County will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by zainsubani to Travel & Transportation around California (9 answers total)
I would grab some food from Las Golindrinas and eat it on the beach (there's one in Capo Beach!)... Shopping and eating at the Irvine Spectrum. The San Juan Capistrano mission, there is an amazing park in Dana Point near a marriot but I can't remember where... EVERYTHING about Laguna Beach is lovely and known for its art... its a short drive through a canyon from Irvine... Cocktails and a walk around Monarch Beach/ Salt Creek. Have Fun!
posted by misspony at 9:33 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The San Diego Botanic Garden would be a good choice.
posted by jvilter at 10:36 AM on April 4, 2012

This really doesn't connect with your listed interests, but you might want to check out the Dana Point Ritz Carlton. It looks beautiful and elegant, and it is your honeymoon.

I'm sure it's wicked expensive to stay there, but they have lots of day programs. I've never been there myself, but we sent my sister-in-law a gift certificate to go to the holiday afternoon tea and now I'm itching to check it out.

(I'm sounding like an ad now, but we called the concierge to help us set it up, and she couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. I'm about as far from a regular concierge user as you can get, but if you like what you see, I'd recommend just calling the concierge and seeing what they can offer.)

Have a great trip!
posted by benito.strauss at 12:08 PM on April 4, 2012

I grew up in Orange city, Orange county until we moved cross country. Whenever I go back to visit, I love having a late afternoon/early evening cocktail on the gorgeous patio of Orange Hill Restaurant, which overlooks the entire city.
posted by Falwless at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have time to take a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway? You could stay a night or two in Big Sur and hike around the redwood forests (and look for Ewoks!). There are strolls and longer hikes. Super romantic and pretty drive.
posted by davextreme at 2:17 PM on April 4, 2012

If you are in the mood for a romantic high tea or brunch (think garden-y, Victorian vibe), I cannot recommend The Tea House on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano highly enough. It's a beautiful setting with great food, and if you tell the staff that you're there on your honeymoon they will be openly delighted, judging from their reaction on my birthday.
posted by corey flood at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Balboa Island: window shopping, walk along the water, take the tiny ferry to Balboa Peninsula, eat dinner at Amelia's, have a frozen banana for dessert.

Take a ride at night on the Great Park Balloon.

Check out Crystal Cove State Park for hiking and tide pools.

In San Diego, have dinner on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night at The Gathering Restaurant. They have magicians there.

Congratulations on your impending nuptials!
posted by cecic at 7:18 PM on April 4, 2012

We also had to plan our honeymoon for a time months after the wedding. May I massively recommend a mini-honeymoon (a night or two in a local hotel) immediately after the wedding? That made such a difference for us psychologically and was so relaxing.
posted by kalapierson at 5:02 AM on April 5, 2012

A few ideas:

1. Take Amtrak down to San Diego. At the San Diego end, you could just hang out downtown, or tour the USS Midway aircraft carrier, or go to Tijuana (during the day) on the Trolley. That's if you like trains. It's a beautiful trip. But you may as well drive too, not far from where you'll be.

1.5 I know you aren't super excited about going into LA, but it's pretty fun to take the train up to downtown and hang out at Olveras Street. Lots of yummy food and snacks, wonderfully tacky Mexican souvenirs, etc.

2. Drive over Ortega Highway - twisty mountainous road, and have lunch in Lake Elsinore. There are lots of paragliding places in Lake Elsinore too. There's hiking along there too. If you want to hike, get the book Afoot and Afield in Orange County.

3. Take a whale watching trip from Dana Point. January is the time of year for it.

4. If you scuba dive, there is great diving in San Diego, and good diving in Laguna.

5. Go to the Camel Dairy in Ramona (inland from San Diego).

6. Sign up for a behind the scenes tour at San Diego Wild Animal Park. The full day one is best. They put you in a truck and drive you out actually into the exhibits and up to the animals. I got to feed apples to a Rhino! Expensive but very much worth it.

7. Go to Palomar Observatory.

8. Take the Catalina Express to Catalina Island from Dana Point. That's a really nice day if the sun is shining.

Have a great time!
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:08 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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