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25 Fun Things to do in Southern California

Beautiful Laguna Beach, California

Southern California is one of my favorite year-round vacation destinations. Beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and plenty of waterfront attractions place it high on my list for summer fun and recreation. Both Los Angeles and Orange County offer a plethora of fun, scenic, and more often than not, completely free things to do.

With so many interesting things to do, you will never be bored no matter how many times you visit. Gorgeous sandy beaches, endless exercise opportunities, tourist attractions, waterfront activities, and cultural attractions are just some of the items that should comprise your summer to do list. Listed below are  25 Fun things to do in Southern California. Feel free to share some of your personal favorites in the comments below.

in no particular order…

25 Fun Things to do in LA & Orange County!

1. Take a ride along “The Strand” bicycle path – 22 miles of easy riding along Southern California’s gorgeous coastline awaits you on one of the best paved bicycle routes in the country. Along the route, you will pass by numerous beautiful beach towns, each with their own unique look and attractions.

Never ending views of the coast, plenty of fun stops along the way, and an awesome workout all rolled into one – who could ask for more?! Highlights along the route include: the Manhattan Beach Pier, Venice Beach, and the Santa Monica Pier.  To date the most fun bike path I have ever experienced! A must do on any visit to Southern California!

Address: Torrance Beach to Will Rogers State Beach
More info on the Marvin Braude Bike Path

The Strand bike path

Manhattan Beach Pier - California

The start of the Strand bike path in Southern California

2. Hike Runyon Canyon – This is my favorite place to hike in Southern California. The views of Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the surrounding mountains are nothing short of amazing. If you visit on a weekday, it really is a quiet and enjoyable place (weekends are another story!).  Take a break from the beaches and spend a perfect summer afternoon enjoying the incredible views, and an energizing workout. Free yoga is offered daily – check the schedule for session times!

Address: 2001 N Fuller Ave Los Angeles, CA 90046
More info on Runyon Canyon

Hiking Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, Calfornia

Runyon Canyon - view of the Hollywood sign

3. Ride the iconic Santa Monica Pier roller coaster – The historic 100 year old pier is complete with carnival games, rides, restaurants, and a small aquarium. The fun roller-coaster is not your ordinary amusement park ride, rather one filled with stunning 360 degree ocean vistas. This is one of my favorite stops along The Strand bicycle path – a welcome treat after biking 20 miles! On an interesting side note, did you know that the pier marks the end of the famous Route 66 highway?

Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier  Santa Monica, CA 90401
Santa Monica Pier Website

Santa Monica Beach in California

Rollercoaster at Santa Monica Pier

Route 66 sign at the Santa Monica Pier

4. Bike, surf & enjoy the views in Huntington Beach – Huntington Beach is one of my favorite beach towns in Orange County. In addition to an 8 mile long bike/walking path, you will also find plenty of unique restaurants and shops and exciting events all year long. Known as the “Surfing Capital of the World,” the Huntington Beach pier is a great place to take in all the surfing action. The US Open of Surfing is held annually each summer. Those without a shark phobia, can sign up for a lesson!

Address: Main & PCH Huntington Beach, CA 92646 (Pier)
Huntington Beach Website

Surfers in Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach, California

Bird on the Huntington Beach, California pier

5. Play a game of beach volleyball – It is hard to envision Southern California and not think of volleyball. Dozens of beach volleyball nets are set up everywhere along the beaches in California, especially Hermosa, Redondo, and Huntington. Whether you want to play a game or just be a spectator, the choice is up to you!

Volleyball at Hermosa Beach, California

4 comments

  1. Thanks! There are so many beautiful places in Southern California – it is hard to narrow down the list. I only included the coastal OC cities because I prefer the beach atmosphere. I hope to be taking a trip to San Diego sometime in the next year :)

    • Lee
    • July 22, 2014  at  11:19 PM

    Good list of beach things.. And I good list for LA. I was confused because I read it for “Southern California” not “Los Angeles County and a glimpse of Huntington Beach” what about Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County? Just confused by the title that’s all.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I tried to include a bit of everything that I personally enjoyed in the area. I would love to explore some more trails in the mountains, especially Santa Monica.

    • Paul Warburg
    • March 3, 2014  at  10:17 PM

    This was a fairly decent list with a few interesting things, however, what about things to do that don’t necessarily involve the beach? I am disappointed that I didn’t see places like Medieval Times, or even Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland. Also there is much to do in the mountains of Southern California.

    However, if you are the kind of person who loves the beach and that kind of lifestyle, this would be a good list.

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