My mom, sister, and I decided to take a little girls trip to Southern California. More specifically we went to Orange County. The weather was amazing, the people were nice, and the scenery was BEAUTIFUL. This trip was really fun and a perfect way to end summer.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point. Funny story about this hotel. I found it last year when I went down to Southern California because I really wanted to go use the gym. I snuck into the gym… I’m so sneaky! One year later, I got to stay at the hotel! This hotel is INCREDIBLE, as you can tell from the pictures. Everything is so clean and just amazing. The people here are so HIGH CLASS; it makes me feel very out of place. I am very thankful that I got to stay here…I never want to go to another hotel.
What We Ate
The food in Dana Point/Laguna Beach area is good, but not GREAT. However, there is a decent amount of variety ranging from American to Mexican to Japanese to everything.
- Tommy Bahama Restaurant: My family LOVES this restaurant so much. We go to the one in Maui every year. It’s so time they open one in the Bay Area! What to order: coconut shrimp, prime rib sandwich, flatbread, Pina colada
- Sombra: This is the poolside restaurant at the Monarch Beach Resort. They have classic pool food…nothing too special. I ordered avocado hummus with pita. I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend it. Their salads look pretty good too.
- Urth Caffe: Everyone knows about this little place. It’s all over Pinterest and Instagram and is mainly known for their boba. I’ve actually never eaten the food because the line is always so freaking long and I am super impatient, but I do really like the boba. Their patio area is really nice though and one day I WILL eat there. What to order: green tea boba blended
- Aveo Table + Bar: This is another restaurant located in the Monarch Beach Resort. We didn’t actually have a meal here, just dessert. We ordered the root beer float with cookies. The cookies were to DIE for. Pretty sure they freshly baked them right before giving them to us. Honestly, potentially the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.
- El Cholo: El Cholo is my dad’s holy grail. He grew up going here and will defend it to anyone. I think it’s okay Mexican food…I’ve had better. My mom and I both got one carne asada taco…it gave me a stomach ache. What to order: number 1
- Beach Club: Located right on the beach, the Beach Club is a really nice restaurant connected to the Monarch Beach Resort. You can only eat here if you’re staying at the hotel or a member of the club (bougie af). What to order: tomato bisque, prime sirloin steak, chicken wings
What We Did
There is so much to do in Orange County. You can stay in the area and go to the beach, drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, visit Los Angeles…literally so much! We didn’t venture out too much because we were staying at a really nice resort, so why leave?
- Swim: My favorite thing to do on vacation is go swimming! I love pools so much probably because I basically grew up in a pool. I could honestly spend all day just swimming around and bouncing back and forth between the pool and the hot tub!
- Go to the beach: Along with swimming in the pool, I also really like the beach. Southern California has the BEST beaches…honestly way better than Northern California. The weather was amazing, so it made laying out really nice. I also went into the ocean a bit…it was cold, but not too bad. There were a lot of people boogie boarding and surfing.
- Watch a wedding: If you’re staying at the Monarch Beach Resort, it is very likely that there will be at least one wedding going on. I witnessed the most BEAUTIFUL wedding to ever exist. The decor was so organic and elegant and just magical. I am so happy I got to see this because it gave me some inspiration for my future wedding…haha!
- Walk: There are so many boardwalks along the beach that you can walk or run on. Walking near the ocean is so relaxing, especially in the morning. Everyone walks and exercises on the paths…it’s really refreshing and inspiring to see. Also, there are so many amazing houses right along the beach. I love just looking at the houses and imaging what the insides look like. Goals!
- Shop: I love shopping. There are a lot of cute boutiques in downtown Laguna Beach. There are also a lot of beach shops carrying brands like Billabong, Roxy, Quicksilver, etc. If you head to Newport Beach, you can visit Fashion Island. This place is HUGE. There’s not really anything special about this mall, but it does have every shop you would want to go to.
This trip was a dream. Staying at the Monarch Beach Resort was amazing and I really hope I am able to go back in the future. I honestly love visiting Orange County because it’s so different from Northern California. It’s not as great as Northern California, but I do think it is a nice place for a little vacation. I cannot wait for my next Southern California trip!