Blog Coast to Coast Grand Getaways  
David Abolafia

An Elemental Adventure Around Anaheim

Since 1955, the city of Anaheim, California, has been virtually synonymous with Disneyland. And by virtue of being home to “the Happiest Place on Earth,” it’s not surprising that Anaheim remains a top destination for travelers from all across the country and around the world.

Yet for those who like to venture off the beaten path and seek out lesser-known attractions, Anaheim and the surrounding Orange County communities offer a myriad of possibilities that will surprise and delight. It starts by getting down to the classical elements: earth, water, air and fire.


    Photo courtesy of Centennial Farms

The Anaheim area offers an abundance of earthy points of interest, from the plants that grow from the soil to the animals who feed upon them. For example:

  • Centennial Farms – A three-acre working farm located at the Ocean County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Families can view livestock and the Millennium Barn while strolling through gardens of lush vegetation.
  • Zoomars – An innocent, old-fashioned and amazingly affordable petting zoo in San Juan Capistrano. Feed a variety of animals, hop aboard a mini-train, saddle up for a pony ride, pan for treasures at Miner’s Gulch, swirl and slide in the playground or lose yourself in the giant corn box.
  • San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary – One of southern California’s most notable nature respites. Visitors can walk along 12 miles of trails, glimpse more than 200 bird species or simply relax and listen to the sounds of nature.



    Photo courtesy of Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Orange County can really put you in the swim with its many coastline communities and activities, including:

  • Pacific Marine Mammal Center – A haven for seals and sea lions in Laguna Beach. The Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals, and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education and collaboration.
  • Laguna Koi Ponds – A touch of Asian aquatics in Laguna Beach. More than 35,000 gallons of display ponds and a 500 sq. ft. water garden area are the highlights of this center for the creation of beautiful, tranquil koi ponds.



    Photo courtesy of Lyon Air Museum

Let your imagination soar as you take to the skies… and beyond.

  • Lyon Air Museum – Stories of aviation’s past, on display in Santa Ana. The museum is comprised of authentic aircraft, rare vehicles and related memorabilia, with an emphasis on the defining event of the 20th century: World War II.
  • John Wayne Airport Tour – Located right next door to the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana. Tour groups receive explanations of how planes fly and the Wright Brothers’ flight, and see terminal architecture, historic photo displays, flight display monitors, skycap activity and more. Participants also spend time viewing the airfield, as planes take off and land.
  • Great Park Balloon – A public observation deck that soars 400 feet above Irvine. With the ability to hold 25 to 30 passengers, the balloon provides visitors with an unmatched 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape, with visibility that can span as far as 40 miles.
  • Tessmann Planetarium – Sparking the flame of understanding and inspiration in Santa Ana. The planetarium’s brand-new shows are fueled by cutting-edge scientific data, resulting in stunning visualizations of the latest findings, discoveries and theories about our universe.



    Photo courtesy of Marconi Automotive Museum

The passionate fire that stirs humanity to accomplish the incredible is on full display in Orange County.

  • Marconi Automotive Museum – A $30 million collection of historical, exotic and class cars to be seen in Tustin. The impressive assemblage of automobiles from around the world includes some very rare Ferraris, American muscle cars, one of the oldest existing Foxfire firetrucks and many more.
  • Angel Stadium – Baseball’s fourth-oldest active Major League stadium has been home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 1965. The stadium tour, which includes highlights of the Angels’ World Series-winning 2002 season, is an enjoyable and educational experience, with insight into areas that are normally restricted to the public. Highlights include a trip down to the field, a visit to the Angels dugout and the visitors’ clubhouse, the post-game interview room, the broadcast booth and various stadium suites.

No matter how you add it up, Anaheim and the surrounding cities of Orange County provide a variety of element-ary experiences that can supplement a trip to Disneyland and the area’s world-class beaches and restaurants – or form the heart of your own adventure through earth, water, air and fire.

If you have any questions, or are interested in booking a vacation to Anaheim or any of our other dynamic destinations, please call (888) 269-0182.

Janette Wider

Top 10 Reasons to Take a Cruise for Your Next Vacation

Have you ever wondered why so many people take a cruise for their vacation or come back raving about what a nice time they had the last time they went on one? More often than not, they were already planning their next cruise before they even got off the ship! Read these ten reasons to cruise to see what all the fuss is about.

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Kaitlyn Fusco

A Guide to Having Fun on a Weekend Getaway

Every now and then, we all need to take some time to relax and recharge. Sometimes, that means taking a long weekend getaway. With just a couple days to enjoy yourself, it is easy to go from feeling ecstatic to feeling overwhelmed. Here are a couple tips to help make sure your getaway is everything it should be…and more.

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Grand Getaways

On The Beautiful Gulf Coast

Ten years ago Biloxi had built the reputation of being one of the best vacation locations in the United States. The warm beaches, beautiful resorts, fine restaurants, wonderful casinos, family oriented attractions and events built a great resort town.

However, that was the year of Hurricane Katrina and Biloxi had the opportunity to build the resort into an even better location for the hundreds of thousands of visitors it attracts every year. In the ten years to follow that is exactly what happened.

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Grand Getaways

65th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

This has been a spectacular winter.  Snows came early and often this year and the landscape has never been so beautiful.  As winter fades and the colors of spring begin to sparkle throughout the Smokies, Gatlinburg blossoms into the center of all things botanical during Great Smoky Mountain Association’s 65th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage.

From April 21-25, everyone from the serious botanist to the weekend gardener can experience unprecedented access to some of the nation’s leading botanical experts as well as Appalachian wildlife authorities.

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Grand Getaways

St. Patrick’s Day across the United States

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States

Regarded as a celebration of the Irish immigrants in the United States, St. Patrick’s day is filled with parades, events, concerts and parties. The United States has several noted celebrations and listed below are a few of the most noteworthy celebrations. With the assistance of Wikipedia and other web based resources, we have assembled just a few highlights for that day.

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Grand Getaways

St. Patrick’s Day in California?

San Diego – The Largest Celebration West of the Mississippi

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States, you can’t help of thinking about the grand celebrations of Boston, New York and Chicago. These among other east coast cities are known for the grand gestures they convey in being Irish for at least one day a year.

California also has a great history of Irish settlers that migrated west during the gold rush and as seaports became a major part of the California economy. Today the largest St. Patrick’s day parade and celebration west of the Mississippi River, now takes place in San Diego California.

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Grand Getaways

Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

brer_groundhog_at_workGroundhogs Day for 2015 is approaching and it is one of the biggest winter events in the state of Pennsylvania.  Although it is a cultural event based on Candlemas that take place on various days worldwide, it is best know today as an annual event of top hat fashion and celebration in Punxsutawney to see if Phil (that’s Punxsutawney Phil) see’s his shadow every year. As the legend states, if he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.  If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

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Grand Getaways

Join Florida’s Biggest Winter Festival

Plan now to be a part of the biggest winter festival in the state of Florida.  You think of Florida as being the state for Citrus crops, sunshine and beaches, however, Florida has one other big surprise.  Plant City, Florida (just east of Tampa, Florida) is the Strawberry Capital of the World.  Yes – Strawberries!  And if you ever drove down any highway in or around Plant City you will see Strawberry Fields Forever.

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Grand Getaways

The Skiing World Focuses on Colorado in 2015

For the first time since 1999, the World Alpine Ski Championships will return to the United States at Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado. This brings the world focus of skiing to all of Colorado. Facilities at all ski resorts throughout the state will be at their best for visitors wanting to be a part of the ski world this year.

Learn and Ski with the best skiers from around the world as they flock to the Rocky Mountain Ski resorts preparing for the championships and experience the glory yourself as you ski down these spectacular slopes.

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