The first stop we went to was Strawberry picking in Carlsbad. We have passed this place so many times and never taken the time to stop so we decided to make it happen. We bought a small bucket and paid $10 to fill it all the way to the top with freshly picked strawberries. The kids really enjoyed this experience and specifically in finding the reddest, juiciest, and biggest one.
Next on the list as we headed north was San Clemente. Since it was later in the day we just decided to walk down San Clemente pier and eat at a pizza restaurant right on the beach. The kids enjoyed all of it especially the train that came by several times.
We then drove to Dana Point and stayed there for the night. The next morning we woke up and headed to Laguna Beach. We had found online a park that you could walk through and overlook the ocean that we started at. This ended up being such an awesome park that we could enjoy all different monuments, plants, and views of the ocean as we walked along. The park is Heisler Park. We also heard that the tide pools in Laguna beach were amazing so after lunch we spent a few hours checking out all of the sea life in the tide pools. It was by far the best tide pools we have ever seen. We saw dozens of star fish, sea urchins, and cool reef plants. The kids loved this!!
After Newport we headed over to the Pretend City museum and spent several hours where the kids were fully entertained. This was such a fun museum. They set it up just like a city with a library, police station, grocery store, restaurant, beach, lake, farm, construction area, car building factory, a live performing stage, etc. The kids had so much fun pretending to do all of the various things they had. One fun thing for them was to earn money. After the kids would go and work at the restaurant or work on the farm they would get a stamp and then they could take that to the bank and get Pretend City cash. It was awesome!!
The last stop was in San Juan Capistrano. This was a spot where my family would go when I was younger and so I showed the kids exactly where the beach house was that we had stayed. I also told them about how we would put coins on the train track and get them after the train had smashed them. They thought this was so cool that we had to try it out. Unfortunately what I had forgotten is that we usually taped them down to the track. After the train came we could not find the coins because they had shot off and landed somewhere hidden under the thousands of rocks. But the kids still enjoyed the experience.
It was so nice to be able to spend a family vacation close to home. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing place and wanted to take advantage of some of the beauty around us.