So, we thought we would share a list of our favorite spots in our home base of Southern California. For anyone who may be visiting or even lives here, we thought we’d make a little list of our hand-picked outdoors & hot spots!
If you follow our instagram (@spiritofthewild_) which if you’re not, then you most definitely need to be. Hop on that insta & hit that follow button! Get with it!
Anyway, we posted about one of our absolute fave local spots called The Los Rios District in San Juan Capistrano. So here’s a more detailed description of what exactly is down in this charming little village.
The Los Rios District – San Juan Capistrano
One word; AMAZEBALLS! Their menu offers a variety of eclectic plates and drinks! Their weekend brunch’s are to die for. Try the Basil cured salmon lox with toast points and baby herbs. The vibe is relaxing and the service is on point! But get there early, or prepared to have a little bit of a wait as its first come, first serve but reservations are available for parties of 10 or more.
Be sure to check out The Tea House on Los Rios as well where they host bridal showers, baby showers and many other types of events!
The Lab & The Camp – Costa Mesa
Another local prime venue for good eats and diverse shopping is The Camp which is across from its sister “anti-mall” The Lab. These eco-conscious establishments offer a variety of restaurants as well as stores like Urban Outfitters, Patagonia & Active Ride shop.
The Lab is best known for its Milk & Honey airstream filled with several goodies for kids and adults.
Definitely a locale worth checking out especially for their ecological practices and businesses! In particular, we thoroughly enjoyed our brunch at The Old Vine Café!
Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course/O’Neill’s Bar & Grill – Mission Viejo
This is a recent experience for us (literally today!) At the absolute gorge golf course, Arroyo Trabuco, they also offer a Sunday brunch (preferably by reservation) for non-members. It is an ALL YOU CAN EAT buffet with ridiculous amounts and varieties of food for $37! And if you need to decompress before your work week starts, $5 bottomless mimosas! (The guest’s to my husband’s surprise birthday brunch definitely appreciated this option)
And the view ain’t half bad while you stuff your belly and enjoy some good conversation with friends or family! If you’re in the area, definitely make sure to eat there at some point! You won’t regret it, and we’ll definitely be back to O’Neill’s Bar & Grill!
Carlsbad Flower Fields – Carlsbad
This year, after multiple years of planning to visit but always forgetting, we finally made it down to The Carlsbad Flower Fields. We decided to take our mom down for Mother’s Day since she’s been before and loves not only the flowers but the nearby little Carlsbad Village! The flower fields are open to the public every year but for a very short period of time! If you plan to go, try to go at the beginning of the season (March 1-May 14 of every year) as the later you go, unfortunately most the ranunculus blooms are nearing the end of their life cycle. We ended up going on the day before the last day of the season, but still was quite a vision for blossom lovers like ourselves!
Be sure to leave early if you’re heading south on a weekend, traffic southbound can be quite a pain! But well worth it as there are not only the fields of ranunculus’ there are also gardens of succulents, floral designed arches and food! And being so close to the beach makes for perfect breezy sunny weather. Which leads us into our next recommendation!
Carlsbad Village – Carlsbad
After we perused the many beautiful blooms at the fields, we decided to take a little adventure and find a place to stop and grab some lunch and stumbled upon the adorable and endearing Carlsbad Village. My mom has been an avid visitor of the neighboring city of La Jolla for as long as I can remember, she had never actually seen this sweet little locale and we found the cutest little breakfast spot! Pancakes are a must, always!
We were immediately drawn to the Daily News Cafe for obvious reasons! (See below) The relaxed vibe and the sweet staff, and the fact that on Saturday morning we got a seat right away was perfect for our growling tummy’s.
We got to cruise around and visited the little center The Village Faire that had a cute somewhat bar/relaxing sunday hang out for the somewhat younger crowds, art galleries, gift shops and an entire shop about MERMAIDS!
Lest we forget, the entire community is full of PUPPIES!!!
And for clear reasons, any and all living creatures with 4 legs and a tail, are getting pet by us….even if its weird. We don’t care, let me kiss your puppy!! We will definitely have to make a visit back down and explore more of the shops, and pet more puppies again.
Silverado Canyon & Cleveland National Forest – Trabuco Canyon
A real hidden gem deep in the canyons of Silverado & Trabuco in Orange County lies a world of its own. It’s like stepping into a ranching slash mining village. The area was mined for silver during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Remnants of mining operations such as the Blue Light Mine are still scattered in the area. Unfortunately in October 2007, there was an emergency evacuation of the canyon’s due to the Santiago Fire which lasted all the way until November 9 2007 and burned approximately 28,445 acres. At night, the fire’s looked like hell breaking through while the skies rained ash for weeks. (Ever seen the movie Silent Hill? That is was South County resembled) It was eery, scary and devastating. Thankfully there were no fatalities but 16 brave firefighters were injured while battling the blaze. (Our utmost gratitude to our Orange County Fire Department for not only containing this massive wildfire but the multitude southern CA have suffered throughout the drought).
Thankfully, the canyon’s are resilient and after long years praying for rain, this past winter blessed us with enough rain to actually fill up our reservoirs, lakes and bring the green back to our mountains and trees.
Silverado/Trabuco Canyon offer SO many delightful little tucked away treasures such as the Silverado Café right outside the Cleveland National Forest. And the adorable general store with cream soda’s and that old timey feel, we in particular love to experience given we are born and raised OC suburb natives.
Loren and I may have been raised in track homes, and that may be our draw to the more rustic and country lifestyle, but the horse properties and craftsmen’s give us SERIOUS home envy.
And the Cleveland National Forest is a must see, especially after a good rain shower. Beautiful creeks, wildflowers in spring and all the lush greenery fed by nature’s happy tears make for a wonderful day of exploring, hiking and enjoying the feeling of being an entirely different state despite still be in south OC!
Hope if you didn’t know about these scenic little treasures, that you find value in this post and visit one of them if you can! If you did know about them prior, comment and let us know if they are on your preferred list as well!
Happy sunday night my wild spirits,