Southern California December 01, 2016
11 Legitimately Fun Things You Can Do In Southern California Without Spending A Dime
There’s nothing better than having a memorable adventure in Southern California without spending a dime. If you’re looking for some new experiences to add to your SoCal bucket list, these 11 places are not only thrilling, but they’re also FREE. Now that sounds like a perfect day if you ask me.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park -- Carlsbad
This former ranch nestled inside a stunning 27-acre canyon is now a historic park that's been open to the public since 2003. You'll enjoy walking trails, free self-guided tours of the grounds and buildings, and plenty of sightings of some pretty spectacular wildlife including the colorful peacock.
2. Chinatown -- Los Angeles
It's easy to get stuck in a rut and forget to explore new pockets of Southern Calfornia. Chinatown in Los Angeles is a great destination where you can experience a new culture without leaving the comfort of home. Make sure to dine at one of the local restaurants and try out some authentic Chinese cuisine.
3. Take a Sunday Drive
How about hopping in your car and heading out for a Sunday drive?! There are many spots to take in the SoCal scenery, but one of the most breathtaking places for a leisurely drive is Palomar Divide Road in Palomar State Park.
4. Orange County Model Engineers -- Costa Mesa
If you have kids in your life, or you just happen to be a kid at heart, Orange County Model Engineers is a great spot to take the kiddos out for a train ride. The best part? The 12-minute scenic train ride that takes you over bridges and through the park is free on the third Saturday and Sunday of every month.
5. Balboa Park -- San Diego
You'll never run out of things to see and do at this epic 1.200 acre urban park in San Diego. Nature walks, garden paths, and all sorts of art in every direction make this one of the best bargains in the city.
6. Pioneer Town -- Inland Empire
If abandoned ghost towns are your thing, you'll get a kick out of this old film set where the Wild West comes to life. Stroll along Main Street and you'll catch a glimpse of an old-time saloon, bathhouse, hotel, and bank. A trip to Pioneer Town will truly take you back in time.
7. California Citrus State Historic Park -- Riverside
A trip to California Citrus State Historic Park is a treat for the senses. Take a tour of the aromatic grounds and nosh on free samples of a variety of citrus without spending a dime.
8. Griffith Park Observatory -- Los Angeles
Whether you go day or night, Griffith Park Observatory offers a sweeping view of the Los Angeles skyline and surrounding areas. During a day trip to the park you can also enjoy the many trails to be hiked throughout the grounds. After dark, you'll be treated to a brilliant view of the night sky and city lights.
9. Orange Empire Railway Museum -- Perris
Explore one of the largest locomotive collections on the west coast at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Although admission to the grounds and building is free, there is a charge to ride the trains if you choose to add that to your itinerary. The museum is located at 2201 South A Street in Perris, CA.
10. Take a Neighborhood Stroll
If the idea of strolling through a charming neighborhood and doing some window shopping makes you happy, then you'll love this fabulous freebie. There are a number of historic districts that are worth exploring, but a favorite of mine is Bonita Avenue in San Dimas. Pop into some local shops for a little browsing and be prepared to be charmed by the small-town flavor that this quaint destination has to offer.
11. Deep Creek Hot Springs -- Apple Valley
Now that the temperature in SoCal has dropped, it's the perfect time to take a nice long soak in a natural hot spring to warm yourself up. Deep Creek Hot Springs in Apple Valley is a great little hideaway where you can relax and unwind while being surrounded by nature.
Aren’t we lucky to have so many spots to visit in Southern California without ever spending a dime?! You might also consider this
outdoor bucket list for more SoCal adventures that will remind you why you love living in this part of the world.