The dog days of summer are here. It’s a period marked by laziness and scorching temperatures. Contrary to popular myth, however, the dog days of summer have nothing to do with dogs lounging on the porch. The origins of the popular expression come from heavenly bodies in the sky. The dog days of summer occur when Sirius, which is also known as the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun. This celestial phenomenon occurs in July and August.
For those of us who are more grounded, the dog days of summer mean that the kids will be back in school soon. Most Orange County kids will start to hit the books later this month. Now is the time to enjoy what’s left of the summer of 2016 before it’s too late. There’s still time to take advantage of Orange County’s hidden gems.
Crystal Cove State Park
If you ever drive along the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, you may pass Crystal Cove in your travels. It’s sandwiched between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. Unfortunately, most of you drive by without giving it a second thought. That’s a big mistake because Crystal Cove is one of Orange County’s biggest open-space reserves. Crystal Cove boasts more than three miles of shoreline and more than 2,000 acres of rugged wilderness. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Orange County.
San Clemente is Orange County’s final frontier before crossing the San Diego County Line. Located just miles away from our brave Marines at Camp Pendleton, Casa Romantica is one of Orange County’s most celebrated architectural, cultural, ecological, educational and historical centers. Casa Romantica was built in 1927 by Ole Hanson. The spacious, seven-bedroom home was designed by Carl Lindbom to serve as Hanson’s California dream. Today Casa Romantica offers visitors the chance to learn about the Southern California lifestyle through the ages.
San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano is known for the annual appearance of the captivating cliff swallows, whose return to the venerable site marks the beginning of spring. What most people don’t understand, however, is that the mission represents the birth of Orange County. Officially founded in 1775 and founded again the following year, San Juan Capistrano was the seventh mission built by the Spaniards in what was then known as Alta California. Today it’s a reminder of California’s majestic past. Visit the ruins of the Great Stone Church, which was considered an architectural feat in its time before it was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1812.
No matter what part of Orange County you reside in, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover. If you’re feeling adventurous, take your kids on a journey of a lifetime. Let your family experience California’s rich history without getting stuck in traffic.
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