No holiday travel plans for us this year. We’ll be spending the holiday at home in Southern California. I guess I will just have to plan a holiday staycation – complete with the typical Instagram travel style photos I usually take when my holiday travels take me farther afield.
I live in a place where you can see the sea and the snow, on the same day. We’ve done this many times – waking to a walk on the beach before heading out to go sledding in the nearby hills.
You can take a nature walk in November. In shorts! In fact we enjoy hiking in the nearby canyons and arroyos all year round, year after year. Some people say that the seasons don’t change in Southern California, but if you live here you know better. There are very definite changes throughout the year. It is fun to watch the hills change color, and to see the spring wildflowers blooming.
We do have seasons in Southern California. They are just a little more subtle here.
Why should tourists have all the fun?
I love the opportunity to see my home town like a tourist during the holidays. We just have to decide what we will do and where we will go. And bring our cameras. No TSA issues, no long lines, tarmac delays or worries about forgetting to pack anything. This sounds like a dream trip to me!
Taking Instagram pictures is an excuse for me to get out there and look at my local environment through fresh eyes. Looking at my life through an Instagram filter, it turns out our local travels are often as exotic as our broader forays.
So Cal Instagram Photo Ops for tourist, and locals too:
In a place so scenic as Orange County, there’s no shortage of local photo ops for tourists and staycationers to take advantage of.
Treasure Island (Montage) Beach
Grab a photo of the beautiful flowers and public gardens that line the cliff top walk here. The sunsets are glorious and during the winter and spring months it is possible to spy migrating whales as they pass by en route to the warmer waters of Baja Mexico. Park in the public lot next to the Montage Resort. Related: Whale Watching in Baja Mexico.
Arroyo Trabuco Canyon Salt Creek Beach
View wildlife, babbling streams, verdant foliage and winding trails on these paths. Be sure to take a photo of the signs warning against Mountain Lions. And do look out for them as well. They are very rarely sighted, but if you are lucky, you might spy some tracks in the mud.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
There’s a lot to see, and snap at the Mission in San Juan Capistrano and nearby environs. From the quaint train station to the shops, boutiques and cafes. Stop by the Zoomars petting zoo for your feed’s daily dose of cute.
No So Cal Staycation would be complete without a trip to Disney. Holidaytime is arguably the best time of the year to visit the parks. Photo ops abound!
The Irvine Spectrum
Get your holiday shopping AND photos done, in front of gorgeous and elaborate mosaics and fountains that will have your followers wondering if you made a quick trip to Morocco.
Dana Wharf Whale Watching Trips
Find yourself surrounded by the world’s largest common dolphin population, as you search the horizon for whale spouts on a whale watching trip with Dana Wharf. It’s not unusual to see several types of whales on outings this time of year. Dolphins are practically guaranteed year round. Nothing perks up your posts like an adorable dolphin. Related: Everything you need to know before you go whale watching in So Cal
Crystal Cove State Park
The beachy cottages in Crystal cove state park look straight out of a movie set. They provide a perfect backdrop for holiday photo shoots. If you are lucky enough to reserve one of them for your Staycation, lucky you! Reservations for Crystal Cove Cottages book six months out.
Salt Creek Beach
This is a great place to watch the sunset, and the surfers. If you have a drone, fly it here. The giant hillside is perfect for picnics. Locals byoh (bring your own hammock) for lounging in the trees at the top of the park. Sunsets here are spectacular. Living in So Cal never gets old! Treat yourself to high tea or sunset cocktails at the nearby Ritz Carlton hotel and you and your feed will feel like perfectly pampered world travelers.