Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Trip Report Index:
An Orange County Weekend – Introduction
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Our Room & Lounge
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, California – Hotel Grounds and Spa
Day 1 in SoCal
Day 2 in SoCal
Back to Kansas
Orange County Trip Report – Day 1
Emily Jablon: After breakfast, we went strolling through the hotel. It was a cool morning, and I wore a sweater since I was cold (and here I thought California was going to be warmer than Kansas!) After strolling through the lush green landscaping in the the hotel, Daraius took me to a Vietnamese neighborhood to have bahn mi sandwiches and bubble tea.
Daraius: The food experts on Chowhound suggested visiting the Little Saigon in Westminister, which has the largest concentration of Vietnamese-Americans in the US and is a 15 minute drive from the hotel.
It took us 10 minutes to walk to the car which I had parked for free on the street to save the $29 valet fee at the hotel. It was a nice walk because it had warmed up by then and the sun was out.
Emily Jablon: We went to Banh Mi Cho Cu for a BBQ pork sandwich and for a Thai bubble tea. Both were delicious and the sandwich was a steal for only $2.50! Subway can learn a thing or two from them!
Daraius: I love trying new types of food and drinks, so I picked out a drink from the cooler. It was semi-solid and fruit pieces at the bottom. I had no idea what it was! I didn’t like it at first, but the taste slowly grew on me. It was very light and refreshing, which complimented the spicy jalapenos in our sandwich. I think it was a chrysanthemum drink with jelly.
The sandwich was delicious – the bread was crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. And I loved the explosion of flavors and various textures with the jalapenos, carrots, BBQ pork and other veggies in the sandwich.
Emily Jablon: After our sandwich, we went to an Asian supermarket where we stocked up on lychees, Aloe Vera drink, mango mochi, and coconut water. We were traveling on Southwest so we could check 2 bags each for free!
Spicy Baby Crab
Daraius: I love lychees, but there are very few places where you can get them in the US. So I was very happy when we saw a stack of lychees!
Emily Jablon: After shopping, we went for another bahn mi sandwich in the strip mall by the grocery store (banh mi che cali) and had frozen yogurt with Asian fruit toppings!
We picked up a fruit tart to have later in the day and also visited Banh Mi Che Cali for another Banh Mi sandwich for our picnic later in the day.
I had an ice-cream with not the usual fruit toppings!
It was yummy!
After lunch, we went back to our hotel to get our swim suits and went for a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway alongside the beach. It was a beautiful sunny day, and Daraius wanted to take me to see the tide pools at Laguna Beach. First, we stopped at a small park and had a picnic with the Banh mi and fruit tart we had bought earlier in the day. We even peeled some lychees!
Daraius: I came across the Laguna Beach Tide Pools while researching activities near Huntington Beach. It seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon with Emily because she loves exploring!
When we first arrived at Crescent Bay Beach, the rocks were closed because of the high tide. Fortunately, a lifeguard came up and took down the sign and told us that the tide was receding and it was safer to explore.
Emily Jablon: We walked around the boulder and rocks….
…and saw large and small crabs scampering about and eating their dinners, thousands of barnacles covering the sea floor, and even red and orange starfish and purple and green sea urchins! I enjoyed myself looking at the sea life.
Daraius: We had most of the beach to ourselves as we were exploring the tide pools and I loved watching Emily as she saw a crab crawl out of the rocks or a starfish in the tide pool.
Emily Jablon: After exploring the coves, we went for dinner at Thai Nakrom.
Daraius: Thai Nakorm is in Stanton, about ~20 minutes drive from the hotel, but was listed as one of the best restaurants for authentic Thai food in the area.
There were lots of Thai families in the restaurant, so I was pretty sure that the food would be great!
Emily Jablon: We had chicken satay, Thai chicken salad, and green curry. To drink, we had a Thai iced tea and ice-cold coconut water. My favorite was the chicken satay—it was the best I ever had!!
Daraius enjoyed the chicken salad, but couldn’t each much since we had snacked through most of the day.
After dinner, we went back to relax at the hotel. We decided to take a dip in the Jacuzzis downstairs, and are glad we did!
It was cold outside, but we quickly warmed up in the Jacuzzi. After relaxing a while, we went back upstairs to our room and enjoyed some of the lychees we bought earlier that day. We thoroughly enjoyed our first full day in the sunny OC!