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Old 06-11-2012, 08:11 AM
 
23 posts, read 41,063 times
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Thanks again to everyone for all the great suggestions you've given for our upcoming trip. We are really looking forward to exploring the places we missed on our last trip. We've even added a little weekend to visit the sequoias in northern CA. Anyway, I just have a few specific questions I thought you may be able to answer:

1. Beach - we've travelled extensively along the coastal southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. Never experienced a west coast beach in the summer. This may seem silly, but, are there any major differences we need to know about in terms of sea life, beach safety, theft etc.? Our 6 year old swims, but is accustomed to gentle surf. We plan to stick to the places you've recommended, Corona Del Mar, Zuma, Manhattan etc., if this helps.

2. Grocery stores - Are there any Publix or Wegmans in the Irvine area? If not, what grocery stores would you recommend?

3. July 4 - Any suggestions as to where to go? Family- friendly, of course. Fireworks not necessary, but would be fun. Not seeking a major crowd scene.

Any responses will be greatly appreciated! Thanks again.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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I know that there is a Whole Foods store in Irvine: Whole Foods in Irvine, CA - PE.com as well as Costco (if you are a member): Costco.

A big chain supermarket in California is Ralphs (Ralphs - get real {low prices} @ Ralphs) which has 3 locations in the Irvine.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
26,415 posts, read 62,641,511 times
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We've even added a little weekend to visit the sequoias in northern CA.

I recommend you go to Kings Canyon/Sequoia National forest. It is often not very crowded. There are some fabulous camp grounds (Hume Lake State Park is my favorite) and a beautiful mable cave you can tour.



1. Beach - are there any major differences we need to know about in terms of sea life, beach safety, theft etc.?

THe only sea live you are likely to encounter are weeds. You may see some dolphins, but they stay out further than most swimmrers go. Be careful of rip tides and rogue waves. Year ago two teenage girls were walking
on the beach at the wewdge (Newport Beach). A sudden giant (rogue) wave took them both out into a rip tide and one of them was never found. I have only heard of this happening once, but occaisional big waves do occur. Theft happens. Depends on where you are. Do not leave your wallet or camera or phones laying around or in your car. Lock your car leave nothing of value in plain sight. Normal precautions. It is not particularly risky, but things can disappear. Towels, becah chairs and the like can usually be left without concern. If you leave toys at your towel spot, it is not terribly uncommon for some kid to pick them up and start playing with them.

Want to have some fun? bury your kid(s) laying down in the sand with only their heads and one arm stickin up. Bunch a towel over their head so it looks like just a dropped towel. Cover the spot with dry sand. Now you have a random arm/hand sticking out of the sand it is very funny to see people's reactions and the kids really get a kick out of it.
2. Grocery stores - Are there any Publix or Wegmans in the Irvine area? If not, what grocery stores would you recommend?

3. July 4 - Any suggestions as to where to go? Family- friendly, of course. Fireworks not necessary, but would be fun. Not seeking a major crowd scene.

Not the 4th but on July 3 Orange has a choral presentation and fireworks show at a high school auditorium. It is really neat with a choir of over 100 people and video screens. They sing patriotic songs mostly. It is difficult to describe, but it is a really neat thing to see. Arrive early and set up a blanket on the football field. There is a kind of fair beforehand. The fair is basically lame, but they usually have some fire trucks there that kids can climb on. There is no really spectacular fireworks display. Some decent fireworks, but nothing really big. Every place i have been is about the same as the disney fireworks that are every night at 9:30 or so.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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Publix is only in the southeast, I am going to miss these when I move to Orange County... Didn't see a Wegman's anywhere, you might like Trader Joe's or Von's Pavillion, although I don't know if there are any in the Irvine area.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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1. Beaches: The first difference you will notice about the beaches here and the ones in the Southeast and Carribean is the water tempurature. It's much cooler. Even in the height of the summer here, the water is relatively cool (upper 60's, low 70's) and might be considered downright cold for someone used to the bathtub waters of southest in the summer.

The second difference you may notice (depending on the swell and the beach you go to) is the waves. They might be much bigger than anything you are used to (if there is a swell), and they might be both closer to shore and much more powerful then what you are used to. But, then again, they might not. Large swells only come in 1-2 times a month (give or take...) and there can be periods of relative calm, with little swell. Also, if you choose the right beach, you could still have calm waters even during a swell. I mentioned some of them in my previous post to you.

There is not much visible see life close to shore in most Orange County locations, except, as mentioned above, dophins and (rarely) whales. In Laguna Beach and Corona Del Mar, there are tidepools and some rock reefs that harbor other see critters. If you do end up at the beach at CDM, you should walk over to Little Corona Beach and do a tidepool walk. There is less sea life there than in the past, but you can still see anemones and urchins. The stretch of beach just south of the Beachcomber restraurant at Crystal Cove also has some tidepools, and there are often dolphins off shore there too.

The good news is that, relative to the South East, there are far fewer things here that can hurt you. We don't have any dangerous jellyfish (and harmless jellyfish are very few and far between), we don't have sharks close to shore (there has never been a recorded shark attach in Orange County history), and we don't have sting rays (with the exception of Seal Beach, and to a lessor extend, Hungtington Beach).

As far as theft is concerned, I would not be worried, if you follow basic common sense rules. I have literally spent 1000+ days on the beach in OC in my life, and have never had a single item stolen from me. I never bring a wallet to the beach, and I usually wrap my cell phone (and keys, if I have them) in my shirt and a leave it next to my towel. During the summer, the beaches are crowded enough, that I think would-be thieves think better then to try and lift something from someone's towel or bag on the sand. But, that being said, I'm sure an Iphone sitting exposed on a towel or purse left unattended for a long stretch might tempt the more thick-skulled ones.

But, there is one thing that will be stolen near the beach if left unattended: a bike. If you rent them, make sure to lock them up.

2. Grocery Stores: Good suggestions above. The mainstream brands in the area are Vons/Albertsons and Ralphs. Trader Joes is also extremely popular. It has less selection but the prices a great. Also, Fresh and Easy is another emerging brand that is kind of like Trader Joes. They both have a lot of specialty stuff. Also, the Target at the District Shopping Center in Irvine (on Alton and Jamberee) has a huge grocery section with great prices. There is a Costco and Whole Foods in the same shopping area.

3. 4th of July: Mariner's Park in Newport Beach has a big 4th of July Festival that is great for kids. They have a small parade, and lots of circus and amusement park style games. 4th of July at Mariners Park Mariners Foundation
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
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I would check the OC Weekly to see what is happening on July 4th. This is a free publication in the doorways of most businesses.

The Hollywood Bowl usually has a cheap concert with fireworks. I went last year, tickets were $5 if I remember right. The Hollywood Bowl even has a bus service for $5 round trips from different locations to avoid parking at the Bowl.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:38 PM
 
Location: The Vine
46 posts, read 68,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline108 View Post

2. Grocery stores - Are there any Publix or Wegmans in the Irvine area? If not, what grocery stores would you recommend?
I live in Irvine. Never heard of either of those. Albertsons on Quail Hill Pkwy and Gelsons on Jeffrey/Alton are my go-to grocery stores. There are dozens of overpriced "healthy" grocery stores if that's your thing, the best being Whole Foods @ the District or Mothers Market on Jamboree/Michelson.

Stay away from Disneyland for fireworks. It's not worth it.

All the "secret" "local" spots for fireworks are crowded. I've hit em all. My family stays home and enjoys each others' company, these days. It's simply not worth walking a mile on a dirt path in the pitch-black to view 15 minutes worth of mediocre fireworks. "Was that the finale?" "No way" "I guess so..." Maybe someone else will have a good suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLSkater View Post
Publix is only in the southeast, I am going to miss these when I move to Orange County... Didn't see a Wegman's anywhere, you might like Trader Joe's or Von's Pavillion, although I don't know if there are any in the Irvine area.
Trader Joe's are everywhere. Nice stores, but high prices. I've had 2-3 bags come to $200 (no alcohol).

Last edited by winniethepwn; 06-16-2012 at 09:54 PM..
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Eldorado at Santa Fe, NM
556 posts, read 1,477,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline108 View Post

1. Beach - we've travelled extensively along the coastal southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. Never experienced a west coast beach in the summer. This may seem silly, but, are there any major differences we need to know about in terms of sea life, beach safety, theft etc.? Our 6 year old swims, but is accustomed to gentle surf. We plan to stick to the places you've recommended, Corona Del Mar, Zuma, Manhattan etc., if this helps.

Of the places you named, definitely Corona Del mar in my opinion. I can't speak for the entire east coast, but waves are much bigger and the current is much stronger in CA than what I've experiences in the Gulf. I would not let a 6 year old swim in the Pacific and would keep them close by.

2. Grocery stores - Are there any Publix or Wegmans in the Irvine area? If not, what grocery stores would you recommend?

Ralphs or Stater Brothers. Publix is awesome, but there is nothing like it in CA. A smaller store that people LOVE and would probably meet your needs is Trader Joe's.

Any responses will be greatly appreciated! Thanks again.
Hope that helps! Have a good time.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
5,847 posts, read 10,984,952 times
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Huntington Beach is a good place for the 4th. Parking will be a hassle, but if you don't mind walking, You can park on Seapoint (but you need to get there early). This is also a good area to stay away from a lot of the craziness that goes on down town. The Parade also starts on PCH.

As long as you can see the pier, you will be able to view the fireworks (along with other coastal firework shows)

Dana Point is my second favorite place, especially if you have (or have access to a boat) Still need to get there very early. Nice picnic areas near mothers beach. Fireworks at night.

Our water tends to be cold. When it does get warmer, Stingrays tend to hang near the shore. Wear sneakers and shuffle your feet when entering. When the ocean is rough, watch for rogue waves and rip currents.

And as mentioned, Trader Joes is a good place for cheap groceries, beer and wine,
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