Top 5 Summer Activities to Enjoy in LA, OC

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California is a highly sought after summer destination for many families and couples. But when you arrive, what is there to do? As a California-born resident in Huntington Beach, aka “Surf City,” here are my top 5 physical activities for summer time in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas. (Warning: I’m talking heart pumping, sweat making activities, no theme parks are on this list!)

1. Surfing: It’s pretty self-explanatory. We have the Pacific Ocean all along the coast, so what else would you think to do besides surf. There are numerous academies you can sign your kids up for, or just do some “Googling” and private lessons can be found right away if you’re simply looking for a 1-day kind of thing. Board rentals can be found all over. Many places are ideal for surfing; it all just depends at what level you happen to be. The Wedge, Salt Creek, Trestles, San Onofre (better known as “San O”), and, of course Huntington Beach, are solid choices. Do something a little daring and get yourself on a board this summer.

2. Hiking: El Moro, The Hollywood Sign, Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon, Dana Pointe, and Red Rock are a few trails that immediately come to mind. Orange County is sprinkled with tons of hiking spots. We are spoiled beyond belief with stunning ocean views, and ideal temperatures for hikes that are exhilarating and most importantly, bearable. Hiking not only serves as a work out, but it gives you a chance to see all the beauty and nature Southern California has to offer. Remember, all these trails are different distances, so be sure to research them to find out which one best fits you best. One of my favorite hikes is Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach. You can spend a couple hours working out, then kick back on the beach and grab a smoothie at Ruby’s Shake Shack. Also, if you want a sit down, you can eat at the Beach Comber. But be warned, it’s a hot spot so you’ll probably have to wait!

3. Paddle Boarding: This is one thing that is popping up all over right now. Long Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Marina Del Rey, and Malibu, among others, are spots for paddle boarding. Really, any city along the coast will offer paddle boarding. Not only is it cheap, it’s also easy but you’re definitely still getting a workout in. I have yet to encounter someone who didn’t thoroughly enjoy himself/herself while paddle boarding. It’s just an excuse to be in the sun while splashing around and getting some color. You’ll be working out your arms, and also standing the whole time, so your legs may be tired too if you’re not used to that.

4. Cycling: One word, booty work out. Cycling absolutely fatigues your legs, but in a good way! You can choose to gear up and make a long day out of a road ride, or you can make things a little more laid back and rent a cruiser to ride to the beach. I would assume if you made the flight, or drive, to come visit, you probably would prefer a bike trail with some scenery. Here are a few places that will take care of this: Santa Ana River Trail, Aliso Creek, PCH Cycle Route in Dana Pointe, and San Juan Creek, among others. But any boardwalk would do. Be warned, if you choose one of the first four trails mentioned, you may encounter snakes so keep an eye out and do not touch.

5. Kayaking: Last but absolutely not least, more water fun. Just like paddle boarding, you can find kayak rentals throughout. Some rental shops have both kayaks and paddleboards offered, but not all. Newport Beach offers a few kayaking locations, as well as Laguna Beach, Sunset Beach, and all those beaches west of L.A.

There you have it, my top five! Don’t limit yourselves to these activities alone, this list was a tough one for me to make. California offers so much more, so make your summer vacation a memorable one and do something you never thought you would.

Megan Duehring is a Contributing Writer for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle, entertainment and sports. Follow her on Twitter: @meganjune9
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