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Huntington, Laguna or Newport Beach with a child?

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Jun 10th, 2012, 10:01 PM
  #1
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Huntington, Laguna or Newport Beach with a child?

We are headed to Disneyland to celebrate our son's 5th birthday and would like to spend a day out at one of the local beaches. He loves the sand and water, but has never seen the ocean. We don't really care about shopping or dining, other than being able to get a quick bite to eat in beach cover-ups (preferably at a vender or concession stand). We would probably look into taking a taxi from Disneyland and plan to stay put for a day of sandcastle making and splashing in the shallow water. Any suggestions on which beach would be the best?
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Jun 11th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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I would ask around - as I am not sure which is the closest beach to Disneyland - but would think any of them would be fine if you are taking a taxi and don't have to worry about parking at the beach. Would also make sure how to get back to Disneyland after your day at the beach.

Take plenty of sunscreen and water, a shade umbrella if you have it - etc, and have a blast.

I remember when I was only a few years older than your son (waaaay back in the mid 50's) - and my family came down from Oregon to stay at a motel - beachfront in Long Beach (we knew the owners) and while I had been swimming in mountain lakes, I thought the Ocean and the waves were the best thing ever.
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Jun 11th, 2012, 06:05 AM
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Here are a couple of webpages you may have already visited?

I think Laguna Beach is great - as the town is nearby and is fun for strolling - has good Mexican food, etc.

Balboa Island is also a great visit, and the "Wedge" at Newport Beach is a classic for watching body surfers defy injury. Just amazing how big the surf can be sometimes coming through that slot and breaking right down onto the beach.

When I was younger I would have given it a go - but you have to time it just right to come off the wave or you could literally break your neck on the beach sand. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNH4lK6FArA

http://www.orangecounty.net/html/beaches.html

http://gocalifornia.about.com/od/cao.../a/beaches.htm
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Jun 11th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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Im guessing you are Australian? and dont want to drive? A taxi RT Disney to the beach wont be cheap. If you can, rent a car for the day.

To clarify what tomsd said, the 'wedge' is on Balboa Peninsula not the Island. There really arent any good beaches on the Island but plenty on the Peninsula and the Peninsula will probably be the easiest on your taxi meter. If you have a car or are willing to pay the extra, go to Laguna. Main Beach if you need facilities, or one of the many coves there
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Jun 11th, 2012, 08:28 AM
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This would be my pick:

http://www.crystalcovestatepark.com/beaches.htm

The backdrop of the historic cottages is picturesque, there are tidepools to explore and a couple of eating options, one down by the water and the other up by Pacific Coast Highway.
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Jun 11th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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If traveling to/from by cab, you will want a beach with nearby shops and restaurants. I don't think Huntington beach offers anything but a nice beach and restrooms.

Newport Beach is one of our favorites. The Crab Cooker there is awesome, and Balboa is a very fun place to stroll, grab a snack, look at the lovely little homes. I think a child would like it.
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Jun 11th, 2012, 09:20 PM
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Tomsd: Thanks for the websites! I hadn't seen these. The second one was especially great to look at.

bon_voyage: I also really love the looks of Crystal Cove State Park.

At this point we just aren't sure never having been there, it's so hard to know what's in store. We've heard such horror stories about driving around LA that we didn't want to rent a car if we didn't have to and then we would also have to deal with a booster seat for our son. We may just end up doing a OC Beaches tour that Disneyland runs. They stop by all three beaches, giving you the opportunity to either just take pictures or get out and stay for a while.
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Jun 11th, 2012, 10:58 PM
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I live in Laguna Beach and love it but not a great place for a 5 year old. The undertow can be harsh sometimes. Newport is ok , but I would highly recommend you to go to Huntington Beach. The beach is a long and wide with plenty of sand and the waves are small and so is the undertow and since its his first experience it won't scare him. Also the atmosphere is more typical California. They cleaned it up a few years back and its very nice now and has some nice shopping and some smaller restaurants and fast food places. Dukes is on the beach and a little fancier. Its about 30 minutes from Disney land. Let me know if you need any other info
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Jun 11th, 2012, 11:04 PM
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I just noticed that you said you like crystal cove state park. Great place but harder to get to, unless you want to rent a car. If you do you can go there and then eat at the beachcomber cafe. The waves are still bigger than Huntington Beach though.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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If Disneyland offers an easy tour - and does the driving - that might be your best bet.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Metrolink has a train that will take you from Anaheim to San Clemente. It is about an hour ride, but much cheaper than cab fare. www.metrolinktrains.com
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Jun 12th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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Well you are not in LA, Disneyland is in Anaheim in Orange County, not even the same county as LA but you have to do what you feel most comfortable doing. Huntington is a nice safe beach with plenty of restaurants and lifeguards.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Good suggestion about taking the metrolink to San Clements. It's a nice ride and a nice beach - and it lets you off close to the beach. Suggest you take along a care package - some drinks/snacks/ etc.
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Jun 12th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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The Metrolink idea is smart.It is not a long journey and far less expensive than a cab. Disney may even have a shuttle to Anaheim station.
ALL of the beaches in Southern California are subject to high surf and undertows depending on the weather.Speak to the lifeguard first.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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We looked more into the Disney lead tour and decided against it since it has so many stops at places we aren't interested in. We have decided to rent a car so we're still debating the locations. I love all the great advice though! Does anyone have any thoughts on Venice Beach or other places that aren't too far away? I'm starting to wonder if Huntington might be our best bet as long as there are food options.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 05:17 PM
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For your daytrip, I suggest you go to a beach that is a relatively easy drive. Venice Beach would be a more strenuous drive from Anaheim, and it is realy not the best for a 5-year old. Lots of quirky head shops, shops, 'muscle beach' exercise theater (so many buff young men), street people, etc. It is a scene for young adults +.

I have stayed at the Inn at Venice Beach, and I don't mind the 'scene' myself, but I don't think it would be best for your son or your drive time.
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Jun 13th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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PS. Go to Huntington beach, then have dinner at the nearby Crab Cooker at Newport Beach, then walk out on the Newport pier.

We have been going to The Crab Cooker since the 70s. It is a fun, fresh-fish place which grills skewers of shrimp/scallops/fish chunks, served on paper plates, and has a very LONG line, if you don't get there early. But, you can get cups of chowder and crackers to eat outside while you wait. It's a tradition.

Great clam chowder, housemade huge soup crackerballs, amazing twice-baked grilled potatoes, cole slaw, fish/shellfish skewers.

mmmmm hmmmm good. I splurge on lobster tail there, because it is so affordable.

Your child would enjoy the bustling, informal interior, even with hanging sharks, and other stuff on the wall.

And you can write postcards provided near the front, and the restaurant will mail them for you. Your child could mail one home.

Can you tell I love this place?
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Jun 13th, 2012, 09:04 PM
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PeaceOut: Thanks for the info about Venice Beach. We just recognize it as being a popular one from movie scenes. It sounds like one we will avoid. We'll stick to our plan of staying closer. I love the sounds of the Crab Cooker! Thanks for the details!
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Jun 14th, 2012, 05:15 AM
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Consider a GPS rental with your rental car. I rented one with my last car rental and it was a huge help getting around LA. It was worth the extra money. For a one day rental it shouldn't be too much.
Have fun in Disneyland!
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Jun 14th, 2012, 05:20 AM
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I always have a paper map - just in case the GPS goes wacky.

Pick one up at the Rental Car place - and if you can get a copy of the LA Freeway map by the Auto Club of So Cal - it's the best.

Also listen to the AM Radio station - 1070 - which gives traffic updates every six minutes during the day. You can hear if there has been an accident/major clog on one of the many freeways, and you can try to work around it if necessary.

And go after morning commute hours (unless you are up at Oh Dark Thirty) - which is say 6:30 to 8:30 or 9 am - and then plan to head back to your room by say 3:30 PM, or wait until after the evening rush hour clears - say 7 PM or so.
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