Orange County - Beyond Disneyland

Posted by Liz · Oct 13 · in Southern California, California

What if you went to Southern California and didn’t visit Disneyland? What else is there to do if you’re not going to the happiest place on earth you might wonder?

With the help of Air Canada and their new non-stop service from Vancouver (YVR) to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA), we have the answer and that answer is “Plenty!”.

How to Get There – Air Canada

An early morning departure from YVR can have you enjoying lunch ocean side by noon. Our recent adventure started with 2.5 hour flight on Air Canada’s inaugural service to SNA on October 2, 2021. Conveniently located to avoid much of the traffic that plagues the Los Angeles area, SNA offers great access to Southern California’s most popular beach areas.

Where to Stay – Newport Beach

A short (approx.. 20 minute) ride from SNA brought us to The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. With its Italian inspired architecture, Pelican Hill offers understated elegance and sweeping ocean views on 504 acres. Whether you are spending a few days in a spacious bungalow (they start at 847 sq feet!) or settling in to one of the two, three or four bedroom villas suitable for larger families or longer stays, you can enjoy first class amenities and dining in a gorgeous setting.

The Coliseum pool is the one of the world’s largest round pools and it’s filled with 380,000 gallons of salt water. If you’re looking for the ultimate pool experience, rent one of the 18 private cabanas overlooking the pool area. Located on the pool’s upper level, each 170 sq foot cabana offers sun loungers, comfortable inside seating, privacy curtains, a T.V., Bose sound system, a fridge stocked with complimentary soft drinks, water and juices as well as personalized food and beverage service.

If land based activities are more your style, Pelican Hill’s Ocean North and Ocean South courses offer 36 holes of world class golf designed by Tom Fazio. Ocean North’s panoramic ocean views from every hole are a hazard in and of themselves.

No visit to Pelican Hill would be complete without a walk (or trolley ride) down the beach to the stunning Crystal Cove State Park. Enjoy over 3 miles of beach, spot the sea life in the many tide pools or hike any of the wilderness trails and then follow up your adventures with a hearty snack at the California classic, Shake Shack.

Where to Stay – Laguna Beach

Wander down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) a little further and you’ll find yourself in charming Laguna Beach. Home to a thriving arts scene, you can spend an entire day visiting the many museums, galleries and shops that abound.

Offering the perfect base from which to explore all that So Cal has to offer, is the Montage Laguna Beach.

On a smaller scale (30 acres) than Pelican Hill but exceedingly opulent, every room at the Montage offers ocean views, spacious accommodations and a relaxing ‘beach house’ vibe. Wellness and California go hand in hand so the 20,000 square foot spa at the Montage is the perfect place to indulge all your relaxation fantasies.

Dining at the Montage features California Coastal Cuisine at its finest with much of the produce served having been raised in the resort’s own gardens.

We have access to special amenities at both The Resort at Pelican Hill and the Montage Laguna Beach through our Virtuoso affiliation.

You've landed in So Cal and you've settled in to your accommodation. What to do next? Check out 5 Things to do in Southern California that aren't Disneyland!

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