Last month the hubs and I packed our bags and headed to OC for the long Memorial Day weekend! This trip was planned on a whim, we had absolutely no agenda, only a plane ticket, hotel reservations and two carry ons! This style of traveling is unheard of for us…We ALWAYS have a plan! We ARE planners! And yet, this trip was different. Lately life has been pretty hectic and all we really wanted was a getaway from our norm and recharge for a few days. Not only was OC beautiful (can I seriously move there!?), but the locals were great, the weather was perfect, and I couldn’t think of a better setting for some R&R!
I would highly recommend the Island Hotel situated right in heart of Fashion Island! Let’s be honest, what part of that doesn’t sound fabulous!? The property is beautiful, clean, and upon arrival and throughout the duration of your stay the staff is incredible. We were extremely pleased and actually even got upgraded to an Oceanview room and surprised with complimentary champs! Arguably the best shopping in all of OC is within walking distance of your room, and whether you’re there to buy or simply browse this is the place you’ll want to be.
We stayed in Newport Beach, but were easily able to explore Balboa Island, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and Crystal Cove by Uber making each day a new adventure. Below I’ve recapped some of our favorites eats and attractions.
Where to Stay
As mentioned above we highly recommend Island Hotel at Newport Beach! Located in Fashion Island, it is centrally located near some of the best food and beaches in OC! It’s also only a quick 10 minute drive from John Wayne International Airport.
Where to Eat
Beachcomber Cafe – Located on a private strip of Crystal Cove, literally on the beach! Be prepared for a long wait, but it’s totally worth it! While you wait for a table, take a short walk along the beach to take it all in! The location, service and food + drinks make this spot a must try! While we ordered entirely too much food, everything we tried was amazing. Get started with one of their off menu speciality mimosas and be sure you try the best Bloody Mary in all of OC!
Javiers Cantina – The place in OC for fine Mexican food and a great atmosphere! When the locals rave about a restaurant, you know it’s good! Be sure to make reservations at least two weeks in advance or be comfortable sitting at the bar, this one books up fast! The food options were numerous and everything tasted so fresh. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a Marg while you’re there!
Las Brisas – Serves up romance and lasting memories along with luscious simplicity inspired by Mexico’s West Coast cuisine and prepared with California freshness! Located right along Laguna Beach offering views for days! We love Mexican food, so of course we had to try California’s twist on it and it did not disappoint! From the freshest margarita’s and guacamole to filet mignon tacos and tuna burgers we loved every minute of it! If you’re looking to go lite and casual try their patio menu, or if you’re wanting to dial it up get a table with a view and take your pick from their formal dinner options.
Oak Grill – Located in Island Hotel, this place is the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner spot! It’s a great blend of convenience and quality, offering a diverse menu of options that you can enjoy poolside, on the patio, or in the formal dining room. Oak Grill is a true California original serving classic influences and contemporary cuisine, and when the locals line up for dinner you know this place is for real! Our favorite part? The cozy fireside patio area watching the sunset in Newport Beach with crisp ocean breeze all while sipping some Napa wine and enjoying acoustic music! Be sure to check out their weekly happy hour, it doesn’t disappoint.
Splashes – Here you enjoy seaside dining at it’s BEST, serving up the best seaside cuisine for breakfast, lunch or dinner! With the sea just 25 feet below, you can dine watching the waves roll in or choose to sit inside by an open window. The ocean views are not the only thing to savor, as each dish the culinary teams prepares is driven by fresh, local and simply delicious ingredients. Definitely a must see place for any special occasion and the coziness of this little gem make it the perfect spot for a date night!
Balboa Island – Here you can eat, shop and play! Balboa Island is a great place for families or date night as well. Ride the ferry across the harbor and while you are there don’t forget to try the original frozen banana! It’s the perfect summer treat!
Fashion Island – Your one stop to shop in all of SoCal! Seriously, if they don’t have it you probably don’t need it!
Balboa Pier – Take a walk out onto the pier and view the beaches of Orange County from a different perspective. And when you make it to the end, you can enjoy a refreshing shake or even indulge in a burger from the Ruby’s Diner.
I can’t say enough about this trip, it instantly made our REPEAT list! If you’re planning a trip to southern Cal, or even thinking about it please feel free to reach out for suggestions and tips!
Find out what I packed HERE!