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Titan Spotlight

10 Low-Cost Spring Break Trip Ideas From Orange County

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If you haven’t already made plans for spring break 2024, here are some low-cost ideas for quick day trips from Orange County.

For the first time in Southern California’s modern history, we’ve had back-to-back wet seasons. That translates to a superbloom of wildflowers and lovely landscapes for exploring the natural beauty of our region.

1. Arboretum and Botanical Garden at Cal State Fullerton

Class might not be in session, but the arboretum will be open during break. It’s a great spot for some selfies or pictures with friends and family. It’s also a great spot for a picnic and short hike.

2. Old Towne Orange

A recognized National Historic District, this turn-of-the-20th century downtown has awesome dining and shopping, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a museum dedicated to PBS California day trips host Huell Howser, the gravesite of Corrie ten Boom who saved 800+ lives in the Holocaust, and one of the best used bookstores in Southern California (The Bookman).

3. San Juan Capistrano

Jump on Metrolink (it’s free for students with ID) and head down to San Juan Capistrano to explore one of the best-preserved Spanish-era historic sites in the U.S. Spring wildflowers, the world-famous swallow birds, shopping and dining, and a bike path leading to Dana Point Harbor make this a great spot for a day or longer.

4. The Santa Ana Mountains

You see them every day from campus. Enjoy Orange County’s backcountry this spring break. Fishing at Irvine Lake. Brunch in the Old West town of Silverado. A hike on the two-mile San Juan Loop trail. Aerial views of the brim-full Lake Elsinore. These are just some of the highlights you can experience.

5. California Citrus State Historic Park

Did you know that citrus farming is alive and well just 30 miles east of campus in a part of Riverside known as Arlington Heights? On April 6, an annual Citrus Festival will be held. Bring your camera – and bring home some nutritious and tasty fresh citrus.

6. Lake Perris

The wildflower bloom around this inland lake is National Park-caliber spectacular. Bring your boat, go swimming or hike the 9-mile trail around the lake.

7. Old Greenspot Bridge

The Santa Ana is brimful of water these days. Ever wonder where the river starts? Find out by taking a trip to the Old Greenspot Bridge in Highland. It’s a great spot for nature photography and better appreciating the region we live in.

8. Cesar Chavez National Monument

Campus is closed on Monday in honor of Cesar Chavez Day. Learn more about this Hispanic civil rights icon by visiting the headquarters of the United Farm Workers, which Chavez led, in Kern County.

9. Antelope Valley Preserve

The California poppy, our state flower, is nowhere more spectacular and visible than in this nature park near Lancaster. Bring your camera. Nearby Lebec also features a rare Amish community in the western U.S.

10. SoCal Ethnic Enclaves

Chinatown. Little Tokyo. Little Italy. Little Arabia. Little India. The Armenian district in Glendale. These are just some of the options for traveling the world without leaving SoCal.

Daniel Coats