Summer is coming to an end, but there’s still plenty of fun in the sun to be found at the OC – Orange County Register

Beach crowds make their way near the pier at Huntington Beach. Now that summer is coming to an end, the crowds at the beach are much smaller. (Photo by Paul Persibach, Orange County Recording/SCNG)

The kids are back in school, and summer is coming to an end – but that doesn’t mean the good times have to come to an end.

September is usually the month for locals to bask in the sun, with still nice weather and activities planned across the county to get out and enjoy before the autumn cools off.

Here are some ideas to inspire you to get out and have fun:

Hike and learn

There are plenty of ways not only to explore nature, but to learn about the landscapes that native species call home.

A range of excursions and programs aimed at exploring the biodiversity of creatures and their habitats are planned, starting with the “Biodiversity Bioblitz” excursion at Crystal Cove State Park on September 7 to celebrate California Biodiversity Day.

The easy one-mile hike through Moro Canyon explores the backwaters of Crystal Cove State Park, while identifying and documenting animal and plant species using the Inaturalist app.

Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring water, and wear layers of clothing. They met at Burns Coliseum in the Lower Morrow parking lot. The program is for ages 8 and up. Parking is $15 per day, registration required via email:

On September 20, a guided walking tour of Peters Canyon Regional Park in Orange will be offered to learn how to listen to their songs while searching high and low for different species. The program is for all levels, but it targets beginner and intermediate birds. Bring your binoculars, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes.

Pre-registration required at:

Two Canadian geese come to land at Aliso Creek where there are other geese already in the water. The area is a great place for bird watching. (Archive photo courtesy of Chas Metivier/for the record)

There is also a Birding by the Creek show from 8-10:30 a.m. on September 16 at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. It is a program for ages 12 and up.

Aliso Creek is one of the best riverside birding sites in Orange County, according to OC Parks. Staff and volunteers will lead an easy 3-mile trek along the creek on a dirt and paved road.

No experience is required, but prior registration is required at Wear walking or walking shoes and bring binoculars. The program is free and parking is $3 per vehicle.

A coastal picnic in Newport Beach’s Crystal Cove is a great way to take in the scenery. (archive photo by Chas Metivier, SCNG)

Do you prefer an ocean view? At 9 a.m. on Sept. 16, a State Parks naturalist will lead a group through Crystal Cove on a “Whale and Wildlife Walk,” teaching fun facts about coastal creatures while walking along a bluff path. If you’re lucky, you might see a whale from above.

Bring binoculars and meet at Pelican Point #4. Parking is $15 for a day pass.

Outdoor entertainment

Most summer movies shown outdoors in local parks are coming to an end, but it’s never too late to grab some chairs and blankets and watch a fun movie after the sun goes down.

Movies in the park are a great way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather all the time. (Photo by Jeff Antenor, contributing photographer)

In La Habra, be there at 6 p.m. on September 8 in Oeste Park for “Minions: The Rise of Gru” — it’s the final night of the city’s summer movie series.

In Newport Beach, the city’s latest movie in the park, “The Bad Guys,” will premiere on September 8 at Irvine Terrace Park, located at 721 Evita Drive in Corona del Mar. The town gives away free popcorn and candy and kids’ activities get going. 6 o’clock

OC Parks’ last outdoor movie screening for the county will be at Bluff Park on Salt Creek Beach with “Mamma Mia!” On September 8th. The event is free and there will be food and drinks available for purchase.

There will also be pre-show entertainment starting at 6pm, and the movie will start just after sunset. An ocean sunset at the famous Dana Point Beach is an added bonus.

In Mission Viejo, fun and games will take back space during the Park(ing) Day Children’s Fair from 3-6 p.m. on September 15th. The second annual North Paseo event will feature music, arts and crafts, games and learning. The global movement is repurposing day-to-day street parking spaces into mini parks.

stay calm

September can be very warm, but there are plenty of ways to stay cool when those heat waves hit.

The beach is a straightforward stroll and with the big tourist crowds gone, it’s the perfect time to enjoy an afternoon relaxing on the sand and taking a dip in the ocean.

You can stay up until sunset and grab s’mores and hot dogs by the campfire, as Huntington Beach and Newport Beach have hundreds of rings ready to be enjoyed.

If you have young children, try one of the beaches overlooking the bay, as it is more like a lagoon and you don’t have to worry about scary waves. Newport Beach’s Marina Park has the advantage of having a play structure right on the sand, while you can relax and enjoy the view of the passing boats.

Marina Park in Newport Beach is a great place to relax on the bay, with a children’s playground and a scenic view of the boats passing by on the water. (File photo: Matt Massen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Wild Rivers Waterpark has renewed its status as a favorite cooling spot with its incarnation at Irvine Great Park, and though it’s closed weekdays for the rest of the season, weekends are still an option.

New this year is an attraction aimed at younger guests, Kontiki Cove, which offers five slides and a shallow pool for toddlers and young children.

This time of year is great for picking up deals either through the Wild Rivers website or on Groupon for the end-of-season thrill.

In Anaheim, Ponderosa Park has been a popular place to beat the heat — it opened five years ago as part of a $16 million project.

The $500,000 starting pad is part of the 9-acre park, which also includes a skate park. It will be open until October 1.

Children play in the newly opened playground at Ponderosa Park after it opened in 2018. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Tired of the heat and can’t wait until winter? Pack your bags and head to one of the many ice rinks in the area for a public skating session, where you’ll be able to stay cool from the incessant summer heat.

In Irvine, the Great Park Ice Complex is a newer complex that offers ski time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Aliso Ice Palace offers public skating on weekday mornings and Friday nights and in the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday. There are also rinks in Westminster, Yorba Linda, and Anaheim that offer ice time.

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