O.C.’S BEST 2019! | SEE & DO

Here’s our annual list celebrating the best O.C. has to offer, including food, drink, fun things to see and do, places to shop and ways to indulge. Join us to sample many of the items in this collection on July 25 at Rancho Las Lomas. Get your tickets now.

Photograph by Michelle Adams

Pop-Up Picnics

With Orange County’s picturesque parks and beaches as the backdrop, The Picnic Collective creates custom luxury picnics for every occasion. Founder Lauren Rivard makes the most of her background in event planning and design, whether you’re seeking a romantic outdoor dinner for two or a grand picnic party for 30. Each picnic includes a photo-worthy setup and a customized menu. $79 to $129 per guest. thepicniccollective

Goat-Spotting Hike

The hills are alive with greenery, which means the fire goats in Laguna Beach are back to work keeping the overgrowth at bay as a fire prevention technique, just as they have for decades. Hike the Laguna Coast Wilderness Trail starting at the Dartmoor/Dunagan Gate 14 entrance at the end of Dartmoor Street. Head to the lookout point and you might spot some grazing goats along your journey. Laguna Beach

Garden and Honey House Tour

Get a group together and head to Orange Park Acres for a family-friendly tour of Backyard Bees’ charming headquarters. Longtime beekeeper Janet Andrews invites you into her backyard for an hour-long behind-the-scenes look at how honey is processed from the hive to the jar. You’ll learn about some of the unique plants growing in her garden, feed chickens, and taste fresh honey. Check out the line of honey and beeswax products to take home. Orange, 714-501-5944

Photograph courtesy of Emily Kaszton

Drone Photography Lesson

In partnership with Captain Dave’s, the Droning with Whales and Dolphins Workshop is an exhilarating excursion aboard a private charter observing majestic wildlife from a drone’s point of view. Whether you’ve logged hours of flight time or have never flown in your life, expert drone pilot and Newport Beach resident Emily Kaszton will reveal tricks of the trade in an intimate, hands-on setting. The workshop ($549) also includes lunch or dinner and a bonus flying session. Dana Point, kaszphotocreative.com

Belly Dancing Class

Longtime O.C. instructor Tina Enheduanna enriches global dialogue by not only demonstrating how to do a great shimmy but also teaching her students about the cultures where the dance originated. What really sets her apart are her drumming skills—she’ll show you how to identify layers of rhythms found in Middle Eastern music with a sense of fun and encouragement. Dana Point, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, 949-842-5989

Photograph by Kimberly Valencia

Booty Workout

Newport Peach fitness studio offers unique classes. Try PeachStep, a modern take on step aerobics; Peachphysique, a full-body kettle-bell workout; or BUTI Yoga, combining tribal dance with power yoga. Neon peach signs hang around the studio to keep you motivated. Newport Beach, 949-706-4823

Theater Deals For Kids

Keep an eye out for special discounts for certain performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Casa Romantica. With the Kids Night on Broadway specials at Segerstrom Center, parents can buy one ticket at full price and get a second ticket free. Casa Romantica offers $1 children’s tickets for some of its concerts. Additionally, Casa Romantica offers a two-week music festival and academy in the summer for children ages 8 through 13, where lunch, instruction, and instruments are provided. Costa Mesa, 714-556-2787;  San Clemente, 949-498-2139

Summer Day Camp

With activities from archery to zip-lining, Camp James provides so many things for kids ages 4 through 13 to do, it seems impossible to try them all. The counselors here are enthusiastic and warm, so you’ll never feel like your children are just waiting for pickup. If anything, you might find your little ones having so much fun that they’re never ready to leave. Bonus: They’ll sleep well those nights. Newport Beach, 949-729-1098

Photograph by Geoffrey Ragatz

Games for Summertime

SideDoor’s Game Night in the Backyard happens Monday through Wednesday until Sept. 25, from 4:30 to 9 p.m., but only when the Union Jack flag is waving above the Corona del Mar restaurant. You can relax around the fire pits, play games such as cornhole, giant Jenga, and Connect Four, and sip on your favorite drinks. The full menu is also available in the yard, so you can dive into the SideDoor Sampler cheese and charcuterie platter ($27). Corona del Mar, 949-717-4322

Footgolf Course

With holes large enough to accommodate a soccer ball, footgolf at Dad Miller Golf Course combines the precision of golf with the skills of soccer. Designed around the course’s front nine, this is the only footgolf course in Orange County with 18 unique holes. A round takes two to three hours to play. Anaheim, 714-765-3481

Swim Club for Dogs

Head to the Bristol Street location of  The Bone Adventure to try the saline pool designed for pups. The 60-foot-long, 4-foot-deep heated pool has a shallow end to splash in and a regulation platform for dock diving. Doggy life jackets are provided, and you can watch the staff-supervised fun from shaded bleachers. $60 for a 30-minute private session (up to three dogs); $20 for a 30-minute group session. Costa Mesa, 714-604-1414

Plant-based Cooking Class

Held at The Hood Kitchen Space, each three-hour class ($59) by Hesspea is cultivated to celebrate the cuisines of cultures around the world and focuses on using plant-based ingredients. A premade themed appetizer will get your palate ready before you start cooking. This month, learn to prepare Afro-Cuban-inspired dishes such as carrot rice, plantains, and black beans. Costa Mesa, 949-357-6880

Photograph by John Gilhooley

Surprise Wish Wall

A visit to the ladies room at Cucina Enoteca in Newport Beach will yield more than fresh lipstick and clean hands. You’ll also find secret wishes from previous patrons who wrote their desires on tags and placed them into one of the dozens of wire hearts on the wall. From unicorns to health to pets to friendships, dreams of all sorts will inspire you. Newport Beach, 949-706-1416

Read the rest of O.C.’s Best 2019 here. Don’t forget to vote for your O.C. favorites for Readers’ Choice!

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