Thankful for you
Free holiday things to do + a tiny hike with ALL the views!
I am grateful for you every week of the year. I hope you hear that and feel it — not just today!
I am especially thankful to you for being a subscriber. I can’t really describe how different it feels when I am talking to you here — which is a relatively small number of you — as compared to traffic on the blog or social media reach. But that’s what makes this space so special.
I feel like we’ve come off the busy playground and climbed up into a cozy treehouse away from it all. We’re still playing, but we can whisper and hear each other here.
I hope you get a chance to play — or a chance for reflection or action or to practice kindness or find connection.
Special thanks to those of you who go play and then take the time to be SO KIND and email me or message me about your experiences! I love, love, love, hearing each and every story you tell me and it keeps me so motivated to keep sharing in this newsletter.
In case you missed it, I shared Los Rios Park and paired it with Breezy for a to-go breakfast picnic for my Breakfast + Park Weekend Play Trips series. And, just to be clear, I pay my own way for these meals! If I get something complimentary or at a discount it’s ALWAYS disclosed.
FREE Holiday Things to Do in Orange County
I will be sharing more on holidays after we get through Thanksgiving, but I did want to include some free things to do that you might want to sprinkle throughout the next month. Jill (at @popsicleblog on Instagram and SandyToesandPopsicles.com) are longtime blogger friends and we wanted to put together a list of completely free - where you don’t even have to pay for parking. We may have to do a Part 2! Here is what we came up with and shared over on Instagram, but I know not all of you are on there and it’s easy for you to save in this email format:
🎄FREE Holiday Things to Do in Orange County🎄
Here are just a few options if you want a more playful and less time-constrained list which will make you feel like your kids aren’t missing out on anything.
Of course, a lot of our footage is from last year or past years so there may be some slight changes to what you’ll see when you go. This can at least be a starting place for research! Always check official sources.
❄️ The District in Tustin’s Holiday Light Show takes place nightly now through January 1st! FREE: The show takes place every 30 minutes from 5pm to 11pm in the AMC Courtyard.
🌊 Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort is introducing its first Fire & Ice Festival with an outdoor ice rink. Runs Nov 24th-Jan 1st. FREE: Go see the lighted trees floating on the bay. Least busy nights will be Mondays & Tuesdays - because the festival isn’t happening then, but the bay will be lit up. Park for under 30 minutes and it’s free. (30 minutes to 2 hours is $10).
🐶 Snoopy House at Costa Mesa City Hall has a themed light display, but also free nightly events. Only runs Dec 15th-22nd.
💋Dana Point Harbor Lights is a festive light display all around the businesses. FREE: See the lights any night now through mid-January. (If you can, support some of the businesses by getting a cocoa or ice cream — or dine at Happy Hour).
✈️ Holidayz at the Park at the Great Park Palm Court Arts Complex is a lightscape display in Irvine. FREE: Wander around the festive lights at night. Opening event is Dec 2nd running through Jan 7th.
🎁 Hope you enjoy our little list and find some free fun around Orange County.
Tiny Hike Teaser: This tiny hike not only has a view of the ocean, but also views of the mountains and a canyon. And it’s still mostly FLAT! Perfect to bring out-of-town guests with a potential for picnic spots.
To get Trail Guide #8 just beyond the paywall below, you must become a paying subscriber. It’s $5/month or $39/year — basically a 35% discount when you invest in the annual subscription. I’ll be holding that rate until the end of 2023. With all the Black Friday frenzy, I hope you can gift yourself or someone else some where-to-explore-outdoors trail guides for spending time together in OC each week.
Trail Guides You’ll Find in the Archive Once You Sign-Up
Trail Guide #7 - Oceanfront paved path for watching the waves
Trail Guide #6 - Feel like you’re getting lost around the ponds
Trail Guide #5 - Weekend views of Saddleback Valley at sunset
Trail Guide #4 - Wetland wonders in the water, on the land, and in the sky
Trail Guide #3 - Hear the waves, the bells of the buoys, and maybe see the ocean if the fog clears
Trail Guide #2 - Hiking along a small oak woodland
Trail Guide #1 - Hiking in the shade of Eucalyptus trees
And, as I always say, I’m just happy you are here as a free subscriber! So don’t feel any pressure to become a paying subscriber, I just wanted to be able to provide OC Tiny Hikes trail guides as an “extra” if you are homeschooling, or looking for outings beyond the playground, or especially if you are new to OC and want the highlights of places to explore outdoors guided by my family-friendly trail guides. You can always try for a month at $5 and cancel if it’s not for you.