Theme parks, beaches, sun—welcome to the ultimate place to let yourself go.
Trip length: 3-4 days
NEWPORT BEACH (10mi/16km; 16min). Explore in a kayak from Newport Aquatic Center (naturalist-led kayak tours on weekends with Newport Bay Conservancy). Reel in Bear Flag Fish Company’s panko-grilled fish tacos. INFO Visit Newport Beach ; 800/942-6278
COSTA MESA (8mi/13km; 16min). Find shopping nirvana at South Coast Plaza , with some 250 boutiques and 30 restaurants, like chef David Myers’ Pizzeria Ortica , serving wood-fired pizzas topped with Parma ham and wild arugula. INFO: Costa Mesa Conference & Visitors Bureau ; 888/588-9417
SUNSET BEACH (6mi/10km; 10min). Play beach volleyball and body surf. Crack open Alaskan king crab legs at Captain Jack’s Prime Rib & Seafood Restaurant. INFO Huntington Beach Visitors Bureau ; 800/729-6232
BUENA PARK (21mi/33km; 27min). Swashbuckle at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure or thrill to jousting at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament . Play on Knott’s Berry Farm’s revamped Boardwalk. INFO Visit Buena Park ; 800/541-3953