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cruise the coast

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Cruise the Coast One of the most scenic drives in the country, California's Pacific Coast Highway hugs the ocean, riding atop rocky cliffs leading to sandy beaches, through canyons and amid seaside foothills, offering plenty of things to do and see along the route. Rent a convertible if you can, and spend a day exploring the jagged coast along this celebrated, winding route from Laguna Beach to Seal Beach.

The Journey Begins

Beginning in Laguna Beach and heading north toward Seal Beach, the 25-mile trip will take you about 45 minutes if you can resist stopping at every turn-out to take in the scenery and inhale the salty air. The pace is slow, so don't rush it. Instead, pack a picnic to be enjoyed seaside or choose a sandy shore for a stroll alongside the brisk waves. Also, save some time for the excellent local restaurants and fun places to go along the way.

The highway bisects sleepy beach towns and passes spectacular scenery as it meanders over sloping hills dotted with colorful wildflowers, around hairpin turns and past steep cliffs. Around every corner are breathtaking, panoramic views of the sea as it rolls onto sandy beaches or crashes against rugged outcrops.

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Fun Things to Do in Crystal Cove

An artists' enclave, Laguna Beach is marked by towering headlands and coastal bluffs. After perusing the town's collection of galleries and boutiques, you'll want to hit the highway. Departing Laguna Beach, you'll pass the town of Crystal Cove, home to a coastal state park where you can scuba dive, surf and swim, or hike, mountain bike or ride on horseback through its woodlands. A quick visit is enough time to explore the beach's tide pools and coves, home to all sorts of waterlogged residents. Farther along the route, stop for a game of beach volleyball, some sunbathing or swimming at Corona del Mar's Big Corona State Beach, bordered by cliffs and a rock jetty.

Experience the Finer Things in Newport Beach

You'll know you're approaching Newport Beach when you spot the town's swanky yacht harbor crammed with thousands of high-end craft, its chic shopping district and expansive beach packed with surfers and sunbathers. If you're looking for things for couples to do, consider having lunch here at one of the nearby restaurants, or opt for a gondola tour or harbor cruise.

flickr/young shanahan

Surfs Up at Huntington Beach

Upon your arrival in Huntington Beach , you can stroll the extra-long pier and watch surfers ride what are said to be the best swells in the state, making it a favorite surf destination among locals. After passing tranquil Sunset Beach and Surfside, you'll arrive in Seal Beach. Home to a naval weapons station and a retirement community and devoid of the barking sea critters that gave the town its name, Seal Beach is a quiet seaside town that operates at a slow pace.

While the drive isn't long, it is stunning. Your memory will retain its picture-perfect views: Breaking waves against high cliffs, the sun shimmering off the blue sea, frothy water meeting caramel-colored sands and grassy foothills leading inland.

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Anaheim, CA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

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Lido House, Autograph Collection

3300 Newport Blvd. Newport Beach, CA 92663

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Hilton Anaheim

777 W Convention Way. Anaheim, CA 92802

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Hyatt Place Anaheim Resort/Convention Center

2035 S Harbor Blvd. Anaheim, CA 92802

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Travel Information

City Population

336,265

Elevation

158 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 7.75 to 8 percent in Anaheim. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 17 percent also is levied along with an 8 percent rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(714) 765-1900

Hospitals

Anaheim Global Medical Center, (714) 533-6220; Anaheim Regional Medical Center, (714) 774-1450; Kaiser Permanente Orange County - Anaheim Medical Center, (714) 644-2000; St. Joseph Hospital, (714) 633-9111; West Anaheim Medical Center, (714) 827-3000.

Visitor Information

2099 S. State College Blvd. Suite 600 Anaheim, CA 92806. Phone:(714)765-2800

Air Travel

John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, nearly 13 miles south of Anaheim, is served by major domestic and commuter carriers. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), approximately 33 miles northwest of Anaheim, is served by international and major domestic carriers. Long Beach Airport (LGB), about 19 miles west of Anaheim, is served by three major domestic airlines. Ontario International Airport (ONT), approximately 33 miles northeast of Anaheim, is served by international and major domestic carriers.

Rental Cars

Most major car rental agencies serve Anaheim. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, provides discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, departs from Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). Amtrak provides daily service north to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and south to San Diego. Metrolink is a commuter rail service in Southern California with two stations in Anaheim, Anaheim Canyon Station and ARTIC, (800) 371-5465.

Buses

Anaheim Resort Transit (ART), (888) 364-2787, is an 18-route bus network to nearly every local point of interest and hotel. Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), (714) 636-7433, provides regional service. Greyhound, (800) 231-2222, provides national service. Tres Estrellas de Oro, (323) 588-9188, provides service to Tijuana. Greyhound and Tres Estrellas de Oro buses have a terminal at Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), 2626 E. Katella Ave.

Taxis

The base rate is $3.50 at flag drop and $2.75 per mile. Two large companies are California Yellow Cab, (714) 444-4444 and Yellow Cab Co, (714) 999-9999 OR (800) 649-1222.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus and commuter rail service is available in Anaheim.

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