California Pro Sports Teams: A California Challenge

A couple of years ago I decided that while I wanted to continue to explore the US and countries around the world, I needed to spend a bit more time exploring right at home. So the California Challenge was born. In 2018 I set out to visit all 21 of the California Missions. For 2018 I decided to attend a home game of all 18 California pro sports teams. Let’s take a virtual tour of the 18 California pro sports teams from the San Diego Padres to the Golden State Warriors.

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

Here are a few fun facts from attending a home game of all 18 California pro sports teams…

•The home team won nine out of 18 times, lost eight times, and tied once.

•The Los Angeles Rams played in the oldest stadium – the LA Memorial Coliseum, built in 1923. However, they’ll be moving to their new permanent home in Summer 2020 so then the Dodgers will lay claim to the oldest stadium in California, built in 1962.

•The San Jose Sharks play in the SAP Center at San Jose, the smallest capacity in California with 17,496 seats. The Los Angeles Rams played in the largest stadium, with a capacity of 78,467 in the Coliseum. Their new permanent home, SoFi Stadium, will also be the largest pro sport stadium in California when it opens, with a capacity of 70,240.

•Attending a home game for all 18 teams meant visiting 15 stadiums. The Los Angeles Kings, LA Lakers and LA Clippers all play at the Staples Center. The LA Galaxy and LA Chargers both play at Dignity Health Sports Park.

California Pro Sports Teams Awards

Biggest Fan Award goes to my dad. Eighteen different people attended games with me during the challenge, but my dad went to the most games at five.

Favorite Stadium Experience Award goes to the LAFC at Banc of California Stadium.

Frequently Seen Player Award goes to Erik Gudbranson. He played for the Vancouver Canucks when they played against the LA Kings and then was traded to the Anaheim Ducks.

Favorite Player Award goes to Alex Caruso of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

San Diego Padres

A gorgeous baseball stadium in downtown San Diego. And since the team is in San Diego you’re almost guaranteed gorgeous baseball weather! (Transportation Notes: Public transportation is easy to use for this stadium)

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This game was an adventure! We don’t get a lot of rain in the spring, summer or autumn in Southern California so this was just the 12th rain-delayed game in Angel Stadium history. Fortunately I was able to attend the make-up game the next day to check the Angels off the list.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Not my favorite team or stadium, but I will admit it’s gotten a lot safer in the last few years. Dodger Stadium is the largest MLB stadium at a capacity of 56,000 so it should be included on any MLB Stadium Bucket List.

Oakland Athletics

Constructed deep in the ground so fans enter at the upper decks, this stadium has a lot of concrete. Visiting RingCentral Coliseum feels like a throw back to stadiums of the past and I don’t recommend attending solo at night. (Transportation Notes: Public transportation is easy to use for this stadium)

San Francisco Giants

Located in the South Beach area of San Francisco you can be treated to a waterfront view from some seats. (Transportation Notes: Public transportation is easy to use for this stadium)

National Football League (NFL)

Los Angeles Rams

What an experience to see the Rams play at LA Memorial Coliseum. For the 2020 season they’ll move into their new permanent home at SoFi Stadium, but for now this was a memorable experience. The Rams and Chargers recently moved to LA and I am amazed at how quickly they’ve developed very different fan bases. In my experiences this year, the Rams seemed to attract more of an LA crowd.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers on the other hand seem to have attracted more of an Orange County crowd, which makes sense since Orange County is so close to San Diego. It’s not easy to judge this stadium because the Rams are only playing in a temporary home after their move from St. Louis. For the 2020 season they’ll move into their new permanent home at SoFi Stadium.

San Francisco 49ers

This was my very first NFL game so it will always be a bit special but the stadium itself felt fairly impersonal. Essentially, it is just a really large stadium designed to fit in as many people as possible. Definitely doesn’t have the character or personality of older, or smaller, stadiums. (Transportation Notes: This is in the suburbs so public transportation is a bit limited but there are some great places to park and ride to the stadium)

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Major League Soccer (MLS)

Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC)

Wow! This is the hands-down the best soccer game I’ve attended in the US (I imagine going to a game in Europe would be even better!). The energy was absolutely electric and the new stadium is worth a visit. (Transportation Notes: Parking is not cheap at this stadium so if you’re able to use public transportation I’d highly recommend going that route.)

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Los Angeles Galaxy

A fun soccer game with really passionate fans. The game was filled with chanting, scarf waving and excitement. I thought this was a really good experience until I went to an LAFC game, so I’d rank this second in terms of MLB experiences in California.

San Jose Earthquakes

This was probably my least favorite team/stadium of the challenge. The energy wasn’t very good and my favorite part of the game was getting to watch the planes take off and land from the San Jose Airport next door. (Transportation Notes: They have an easy park and ride option from downtown San Jose to help you save money on parking)

National Basketball Association (NBA)

I feel like I need a disclaimer for this whole section of my whole challenge…I don’t particularly care for the NBA. Basketball is enjoyable, but I prefer college basketball. So shelling out money to attend four NBA games was a bit painful!

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers and the Lakers both play in the Staples Center and it was amazing to see how different the atmosphere was for each of the games. (Transportation Notes: Depending on where you’re coming from in LA, public transportation can be easy to use.)

Los Angeles Lakers

Admittedly this is one of my least favorite professional sports teams so I took a friend who is a big Lakers fan to help make the game more exciting. And then Lizzo made the game really exciting. And I discovered one of the Lakers newer players, Alex Caruso, and he became my favorite player of the challenge. (Transportation Notes: Depending on where you’re coming from in LA, public transportation can be easy to use.)

Sacramento Kings

The Kings play at one of the newer stadiums I visited and it was quite impressive. The court is underground so you enter the stadium at the 200 level and then go down if you have seats closer to the court…I did not! It is also located in downtown Sacramento so there is a lot to do around the stadium.

Golden State Warriors

Chase Center is the newest of all the stadiums I visited, having just opened in 2019. It is located in downtown San Francisco not too far from where the San Francisco Giants play. (Transportation Notes: Depending on where you’re coming from in San Francisco, public transportation can be easy to use.)

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National Hockey League (NHL)

Next up is the NHL and I will admit that before this challenge I had never been to an ice hockey game, at any level. My biggest surprise of the challenge was how much I loved hockey! I hope to more regularly attend games moving forward.

Anaheim Ducks

A fun, family friendly atmosphere. If you live in Southern California, this is just a great family outing!

Los Angeles Kings

Another team who plays at the Staples Center, along with the Clippers and Lakers. I can’t imagine being the keeper of the calendar at the Staples Center…so many moving parts! Just like with the Clippers and Lakers, this was a completely different atmosphere at the stadium which makes me glad I committed to going to a home game of each team instead of just visiting each stadium. (Transportation Notes: Depending on where you’re coming from in LA, public transportation can be easy to use.)

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San Jose Sharks

Another really fun, family friendly atmosphere. If you live in Northern California, this is just a great family outing.

You can find more suggestions of things to do in California HERE. Or head here to see more of my California Challenges.

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Literary Adventures: Phoenix Books

One of the things I love most about reading is getting lost in the story and being transported into the setting of the book. So anytime I find a bookstore where I can get lost in the books, I am one happy girl. Phoenix Books likely won’t be winning any “Most Instagrammable Bookstore” awards anytime soon, but this is a San Luis Obispo gem!

Phoenix Books is an independent, used bookstore located in downtown historic San Luis Obispo. When you visit, be prepared to sift through a lot of books. Like literally piles and piles of books! Every shelf is packed from top to bottom and then there are stacks of additional books throughout the store…including all the way up the staircase.

A trip to San Luis Obispo, California should include a stop at Phoenix Books where you can explore shelf after shelf of used books.

Planning Your Trip

A few things I learned on my trip to Phoenix Books to help you plan your trip…

•The store is located at 990 Monterey St, in downtown historic San Luis Obispo, and so parking can be tricky. Rather than look around for a parking spot I found it helpful to use one of the nearby public parking structures. I thought the parking structures were reasonably priced at $1-2 for 2 hours.

•Don’t go into the store with your heart set on finding a particular book! This is a used bookstore, so they won’t have every book you want on hand. When you visit, go into the store prepared to spend time getting lost in the rows of books and you will walk away with a treasure.

•Be sure to stop by the loft upstairs to find stacks and stacks of history books. I also thought it was a fun birds-eye vantage point of the rest of the store.

•Budget more time in your schedule than a quick pop-in to the store! Remember, there are LOTS of books to peruse so you want to leave enough time to truly browse the store

p.s. check out my favorite books from 2018 and see more of my travel and book pics on Instagram!

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Orange County Christmas Bucket List

After publishing a much loved Orange County Bucket List (seriously y’all…I love seeing your posts checking things off the list!) I decided it only made sense to create an Orange County CHRISTMAS Bucket List!! I am obsessed with the holidays and I love everything about the entire months of November and December. And Orange County has a lot to offer during the Christmas season…surfing Santas, tree lightings, ice skating, sledding, boat parades and the list goes on! So without further ado, the Orange County Christmas Bucket List…


Explore the Winter Wonderland of the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy (Laguna Beach, tickets required, five weekends beginning in November)

Santa watching at the Surfing Santa Competition (Laguna Niguel, FREE, mid-November)

Attend Fashion Island’s Holiday Tree Lighting (Newport Beach, FREE, mid-November)


Attend the Seal Beach Christmas Parade (Seal Beach, FREE, early-December)

Go sledding at the Christmas at the Mission (San Juan Capistrano, tickets required, early-December)

Take a candlelight walk at Heritage Hill Historical Park (Lake Forest, tickets required, mid-December)

Head out on the water for the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights (Huntington Beach, tickets required, mid-December)

Holidays Around the World (Costa Mesa, mid-December)

Watch the Huntington Harbour Boat Parade (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Attend the Golden West College Nutcracker Performance (Huntington Beach, tickets required, mid-December)

Snoopy House (Costa Mesa, FREE, mid-December)

Travel the world at the International Celebration of Christmas (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Watch the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights (Newport Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Drive through the Living Nativity Drive-thru at First Christian Church (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

All Season Long

Drive through Christmas lights displays (Throughout Orange County, FREE)

Go ice skating at the Downtown Disney Winter Village (Anaheim, village is FREE, ice skating requires tickets)

Enjoy the falling snow at Knott’s Merry Farm (Buena Park, tickets required)

Visit the Joyeux Noël Christmas Boutique at Roger’s Garden (Corona del Mar, FREE)

Sledding at Winterfest OC (Costa Mesa, tickets required)

Visit The North Pole at South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, combination of FREE and tickets required)

Watch A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, tickets required)

Experience the Magical Flurries snow shows at Bella Terra (Huntington Beach, FREE)

Visit the Gingerbread Extravaganza at the Ritz Carlton (Laguna Niguel, FREE)

Have a cup of tea at Yuletide Tea at The Resort at Pelican Hill (Newport Beach, tickets required)

Ride the train at Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train (Orange, tickets required)

Explore the Science of Gingerbread exhibit at the Discovery Cube (Santa Ana, tickets required)

An Orange County Christmas Bucket List for the season! Boat parades, tree lightings, festivals and more ways to celebrate Christmas in Orange County
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Mission San Juan Capistrano

When I published my Orange County Bucket List and began making plans for how I could start crossing things off my bucket list, I knew one thing with certainty.  I had to begin at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  This mission is considered the birthplace of Orange County so it seemed fitting.  The Mission was the 7th of 21 missions and was founded on November 1, 1776 and is considered the Jewel of the Missions.

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

I have vague recollections of visiting a couple of missions in 4th grade as we studied California’s history but don’t recall visiting many missions since then.  Now I regret this and I realized I should be planning a road trip to visit all of the missions.  One of the biggest things I walked away with after my time at the mission is the importance of studying history.  And not just from a textbook where I’m absorbing facts I can find in any number of books.  But actually exploring history and studying the people and places of our past.

The stories of the passion and conviction of the priests in their missionary work.

The stories of the way of life for the Acjachemen people.

The stories of how the priests and Acjachemen people co-existed.

These stories helped me understand a piece of California’s history and I think when we take the time to truly study history we’re able to build connections between what was, what is, and what can be.  And those connections are what help us learn from past mistakes, repeat past successes and gain a better understanding of people and culture.

Whether you're a 4th grader studying California's history or if you're planning a trip to California, here's planning tips for Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Whether you are a 4th grader (or the family of a 4th grader) working on a project about the California missions or just planning a trip to Southern California, I would highly recommend a trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Tips for planning a trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano

*Go early.  I was there right when Mission San Juan Capistrano opened and it allowed me to enjoy the first hour or so in peace.  I could spend as long as I wanted at each exhibit and never felt crowded.  And I could capture pictures without other people in them.  This is especially valuable if you’re working on a mission project for school!

*Take advantage of the resources.  There is a complimentary audio tour available and there were docents throughout the mission.  Both were an excellent source of information and provided stories I would not have heard had I only explored the mission on my own.

*Plan your trip.  Head online before you go to the Mission San Juan Capistrano website and browse the schedule of tours, exhibits and hands-on opportunities.  There are days when you can pan for gold, try your hand at basket weaving, hear from descendants of the Acjachemen people and more.  So if you’re able to plan your trip around things that are interesting to you, I’d highly recommend it!

*See the swallows.  If you’re able to time your visit to go in March during the Swallows Day Parade you’ll be in for a treat as you learn about the legend of the swallows.

Have you ever been to any of the missions in California?  What is your favorite? GOTM post signature

Orange County Bucket List

I recently came across this Los Angeles Bucket List as I was browsing Pinterest and decided it was time to put together an Orange County Bucket List.  While I love traveling and have a pretty extensive travel bucket list, it got me thinking about all of the things to do right here in my own backyard!  So I started doing some research (which included asking my friends and family for suggestions on Facebook and over Christmas dinner) and put together my Orange County Bucket List.  The list includes 150 things to do in Orange County that go beyond just the beach and Disneyland (although those are on the list!).  There’s also a bonus Cupcakes in Orange County section because it really wouldn’t be a Girl on the Move list if it didn’t include cupcakes!

As with most of my posts, some links may be affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I may make a small commission on anything you buy through the links.

Did you know Orange County has more people than 21 of the states in the US?  It is a county rich in history, filled with gorgeous views, and full of lots of opportunity for adventure.  So grab your Orange County map (Because I think adventures are more fun with actual maps!) and start checking things off the list!  And if you want to follow along with my Orange County Bucket List adventures you can find them on Instagram.

I’d love to hear in the comments section…What would you add to this Orange County Bucket List?  Is there anything on the list you’ve done that you’d recommend I’d do as soon as possible?

Cruise down PCH in a convertible

Eat a colorful bagel from Bagels & Brew

Have a bonfire at the beach

Have a popGelato from popbar

Visit all five of Orange County piers

Go biking at the beach…any beach!

Eat a sandwich at Mendocino Farm (multiple locations)

Build a sand castle at the beach

Eat a Signature 50/50 burger from Slater’s 50/50 (multiple locations)

Enjoy a lobster roll from Slapfish (multiple locations)

Eat a waffle sandwich from Bruxie (multiple locations)

Hike Holy Jim Falls

Aliso Viejo

Picnic at Soka University


Go to an Anaheim Ducks hockey game

Stroll through Downtown Disney

Go to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game

See the Disneyland fireworks

Progressive Dinner at Anaheim Packing District

Attempt to eat “The Beast” at Blake’s Place

Ice skating at The Rinks (the official training facility of the Anaheim Ducks)

Take flight at Flightdeck

Watch the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland

Movie at Oak Canyon Nature Center

Enjoy a Dole Whip at Disneyland

See a concert at Pearson Park Amphitheatre

Have authentic beignets in New Orleans Square at Disneyland

See a show at the Royal Theatre in Disneyland’s Fantasyland


Take a trip to the Redwoods at The Redwood Grove at Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Buena Park

Cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times

Eat a boysenberry funnel cake at Knott’s Berry Farm

Eat a chicken dinner at Knott’s Chicken Dinner

Mine for gold at Knott’s Berry Farm

Corona del Mar

Have tea at the Sherman Library and Gardens

See Disneyland’s original bandstand at Roger’s Gardens

Orange County Bucket List: Costa Mesa

Shopping at South Coast Plaza (3rd largest mall in America)

Shopping at the OC SwapMeet (Costa Mesa)

Spend a day at the Orange County Fair

See a show and eat a themed brunch/dinner at The Segerstrom Center

Eat a waffle at The Iron Press

Eat a donut from Sidecar Doughnuts

See a show at the Costa Mesa Playhouse

Stop by The CAMP in Costa Mesa

Orange County Bucket List: Dana Point

Go whale watching out of Dana Point

Visit the Ocean Institute in Dana Point

Explore the tide pools at Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area

Eat dinner with a view at Cannons Seafood Grill

Dinner at Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point

Orange County Bucket List: Fountain Valley

Spend an afternoon at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley

Orange County Bucket List: Fullerton

Spend a day at the Fullerton Arboretum

Enjoy a picnic at Laguna Lake Park in Fullerton

Orange County Bucket List: Garden Grove

Enjoy the architecture of Christ’s Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) (fun fact: this was the venue of my high school graduation!)

Afternoon at Atlantis Park in Garden Grove (note: neither adults nor kids may go without the other!)

Enjoy strawberries at the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival

See a show with Shakespeare Orange County

Orange County Bucket List: Huntington Beach

Dinner during sunset at Pacific City in Huntington Beach

See the sunset at the Huntington Beach Pier

Go surfing in Huntington Beach

Visit the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach

Stroll through the Tuesday Farmers Market in Huntington Beach

Attend the US Open of Surfing

Attend the Huntington Beach 4th of July parade

Kayak in Huntington Harbor

Watch a movie on the beach in Huntington Beach with Beachfront Cinema

Progressive Dinner at Food Truck Thursdays in Huntington Beach (Beach Blvd & Stark)

Eat a donut from The Donuttery

Bird watching at Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Stay overnight at Paséa Hotel & Spa

Take a trip to Europe at Old World in Huntington Beach

Orange County Bucket List: Irvine

Take a tour at the ChocXO Chocolate Factory and Tasting Lab

Ride the big orange balloon at Orange County’s Great Park

Ride the Giant Wheel at the Spectrum

Take a produce tour at Tanaka Farms

Explore the University of California, Irvine Arboretum

Eat tacos from The Lime Truck

Take a walk along the Walkable Historical Timeline in Orange County’s Great Park

Have a milkshake at Strickland’s Frozen Custard

Orange County Bucket List: Laguna Beach

Stay overnight at The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Drinks at Splashes Bar at the Surf and Sand Hotel

Enjoy First Thursdays Art Walk in Laguna Beach

Take a selfie at Heisler Park

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach

Hike to the Top of the World in Laguna Beach

Take an art class at the Sawdust Art Festival

Have a cocktail at the Lobby Lounge at Montage Laguna Beach

An afternoon at 1000 Steps Beach

Drinks at The Rooftop Lounge

Spend an afternoon reading a book at Treasure (Goff) Island Beach

Hike Laguna Coast Wilderness park

Explore Orange County’s only lighthouse – Pirate Castle

Walk the streets of Laguna Beach on a Historic Bungalow Tour

Visit St. Francis by the Sea (once the smallest church in the world)

See a film on a third Thursday at California’s oldest museum, Laguna Art Museum

Eat a short rib grilled cheese from Three Seventy Common

Take a food tour with Flavors of Laguna

Pool day at Montage Laguna Beach

Listen to music at Reggae Night at Sandpiper “Dirty Bird”

Enjoy fresh gelato from Dolce Gelato

See a play at The Laguna Playhouse

Eat Brulee French toast from Break of Dawn

Orange County Bucket List: La Habra

Explore history at the La Habra Historical Museum

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Orange County Bucket List: Mission Viejo

Enjoy a wine tasting at A Hidden Vine On The Lake

Explore the Butterfly Garden while hiking Oso Creek Trail

Orange County Bucket List: Newport Beach

Brunch at The Beachcomber Café

Fruity Pebbles French Toast from Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

Spend a night at the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

Go stand-up paddle boarding in Newport Harbor

Spend an afternoon at Newport Dunes Waterpark

Enjoy a milkshake at Ruby’s Crystal Cove shake shack

Take a ferry to Balboa Island

Take a boat ride in Newport Harbor

Enjoy a frozen banana from Dad’s on Balboa Island

Spend an afternoon at Balboa Island Fun Zone

Watch a movie Newport Dunes’ Movies on the Beach

Enjoy the pink sauce at Mama D’s Italian Kitchen

Orange County Museum of Art

Explore Balboa Village

Relax for a day at The Spa at Pelican Hill

Take a gondola ride with Gondola Adventures in Newport Beach

Have a glass of wine at Orange Coast Winery

Watch surfers at The Wedge in Newport Beach

Enjoy a picnic at Inspiration Point in Newport Beach

Shopping at Fashion Island

Eat a ham and cheese croissant from Seaside Bakery in Newport Beach

Orange County Bucket List: Orange

Aquacycle ride in Irvine Park

Hike Peters Canyon

Ride the wine trolley in Old Town Orange

Antique shopping in Orange Circle

Eat dinner at Orange Hill restaurant (note: this is where my parents got engaged!)

Step back into history with dinner at the Filling Station Cafe

Have a soda at California’s Original Soda Fountain – Watson’s Soda Fountain Café

Eat pancakes from Flappy Jack’s Pancake House

Orange County Bucket List: Rancho Santa Margarita

Take a walk around the lake and enjoy sunset drinks with lake views at the Blind Pig

San Clemente

Go running on the San Clemente Beach Trail

Build a burger at Riders Club Café in San Clemente

Eat crepes at the beach at La Galette Creperie

Attend an event at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens

Watch surfers at Trestles – the “Yosemite of Surfing”

Take a trip to the South with dinner at Iva Lee’s

Enjoy a cheese plate or board from The Cellar

San Juan Capistrano

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano

Santa Ana

See the monkeys at the Santa Ana Zoo

Progressive dinner at 4th Street Market in Santa Ana

Explore Discovery Cube: Orange County

Attend a performance at Orange County School of the Arts

Learn about the history of Orange County at the Heritage Museum of Orange County

Visit the Lyon Air Museum

Explore the Bowers Museum

“First Saturday” Artwalk in Santa Ana


Dinner at Little Saigon in Westminster

Yorba Linda

Visit the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

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Bonus!!! Orange County Bucket List: Cupcake Edition

Susie Cakes

Casey’s Cupcakes

Patty’s Cakes and Desserts

The Perfect Circle Cupcakery

Bubba Sweets

Simply the Cupcake Store

Rockwell’s Bakery

Sprinkles Cupcakes

French’s Cupcake Bakery

Sweet N Saucy

B Candy

Beverly’s Best Bakery

Hapa Cupcakes

Frostings Cupcakes

Wonderland Bakery

Sugar Blossom Bake Shop

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5 Things to Do in the San Jacinto Valley

For many people, November to March means having to bundle up every time you leave the house.  It means shoveling your sidewalk, scraping ice off your car, and  having to change out your summer wardrobe for bulky sweaters.  Enter Southern California.  Particularly the San Jacinto Valley.  Where average winter temps hover around 70 degrees making the San Jacinto Valley your ideal winter escape!

I was recently invited to visit the San Jacinto Valley courtesty of their tourism board and I can’t wait to share five things to do that make this your perfect winter escape.

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Diamond Valley Lake – On our trip we spent an incredibly relaxing morning out on this man made lake that was dedicated in March of 2000.  Diamond Valley is a drinking water reservoir that suppies water to much of Southern California.  But it’s more than just an hour glass shaped drinking water reservoir!  It’s a great spot for fishing and boating.  Water sports are not permitted (no human contact is allowed with the water) but there are 50 boats available for rental and if you’re escaping winter weather a gorgeous afternoon out on the lake is the perfect way to soak up the sun!

La Michoacana 100% Natural – Y’all know how much I love cupcakes!  But if this trip is your winter escape, what better way to celebrate winter in the sun, than with ice cream?!?  Enter La Michoacana.  Where the Mexican ice cream is made on-site…with real fruit! I enjoyed a Mango Mangonada and…WOW!!  Such a yummy treat that is perfect after an afternoon on the lake!

Escape the winter blues with a trip to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California where you can hit the lake, trails and delicious restaurants.
Golden Village Palms RV Resort – If you’re going to take a winter escape, you need a place to stay!  And I would highly recommend this five-star resort.  Whether you’re bringing your own RV or staying in a cottage it won’t take long to call Golden Village home.  When you’re not out exploring all the San Jacinto Valley has to offer, you can relax by the pool, take in a game of shuffleboard, hit the gym, and so much more.

Western Science Center – Confession time y’all!  I’m a closet nerd.  I LOVE learning.  As much as I love healthy, active travel, I also secretly love visiting new museums where I get to learn.  And the Western Science Center does not disappoint!  When Diamond Valley Lake was built they uncovered a treasure trove of fossils so they decided to build a museum by the lake to house the findings.  Including Max the Mastodon!  Not only are there a variety of rotating exhibits in addition to the permanent exhibits but there are also 3 digs on site.  There are 2 archeological and 1 paleontological digs students use to help them with the study of everything left behind by past cultures and of extinct animals.  Y’all…I nerded out big time in the Western Science Center and can’t wait to return!

 Escape the winter blues with a trip to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California where you can hit the lake, trails and delicious restaurants.
Simpson Park – Simpson Park offer gorgeous views of the sun setting over the lake and 15 miles of well-groomed trails.  You’ll find hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers out on these trails which have been built and maintained largely by volunteers.  The trails are set up so that it is difficult to get lost which is great news for travelers!

Bottom line y’all…if you’re looking for a winter esacpe head to the San Jacinto Valley in Southern California.  And as an added bonus, once you’re there you’re only a quick drive from LA, Orange County (beaches, Disneyland!), San Diego and so much more!

What is your favorite winter escape?

Other Travel posts you might like:

The Ramona Bowl

San Diego Urban Adventure Quest

One Day in San Francisco

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