With summer in full swing now, there are so many activities and events for families happening all over Orange County! From fun ways to celebrate Independence Day this 4th of July, to ways your kids can beat the heat, here are our top picks of Orange County events in July 2018!
Did you know that the largest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi happens right here in Orange County’s own Huntington Beach?? And that HB was named one of the best US beaches to celebrate the 4th of July by Travel + Leisure? This annual parade tradition has been going strong for 114 years now! And it’s kind of a big deal for HB residents. In the days leading up to the 4th, there’s free live entertainment, plus food and other vendors in the Plaza outside Duke’s where Main Street meets PCH. Make it a full beach day and watch the fireworks off the pier that night from a spot on the sand!
Admission to the festival is free. Hours are 10am-9pm. It’s free to watch the parade too, but you may want to get there early to stake out a good spot along the route, or buy tickets in advance for the bleacher seats lining Lake Park. Parade goes from 10am-12pm. Fireworks start at 9pm and last until 9:30pm.
If you’re looking for an Independence Day celebration in South County, here’s a fun option. From their website: “The fun kicks off at noon with live entertainment on the Main Stage and youth bands jamming on the Freedom Stage. Hosted by the Mission Viejo Activities Committee, this patriotic event features food and game booths by local service groups along with more than 40 vendors offering cool craft and gift ideas.”
Admission is free with tickets available for games and rides for purchase. There’s a free shuttle with 12 stops around Lake Mission Viejo that runs from 1-8pm. Fireworks begin at 9pm.
July 6 and every Friday until August 3
Your SoCal Resident Annual Passport may be blocked out from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure now that it’s summer (oh the humanity!). But here’s a fun and free way to get in some Disney magic with your family, courtesy of the actual Mouse House. From their website: “…bring lawn chairs and blankets, grab some free popcorn (while supplies last), and join Disney VoluntEARS for an evening of trivia, prizes and an animated feature film! The fun begins at 7:45 p.m. each movie night.”
Admission is free. July 6th screening is INSIDE OUT at Willow Park. Location changes every week so check website for the full schedule.
July and August
It’s not too late to sign your kiddos up for summer camps! Some highlights of GWC’s offerings include the brand new Junior Police Academy, which includes mentoring from active duty police officers and learning to search for suspects in their state-of-the-art scenario village. Other camps of note are Basic Make Up Concepts, Kids & Money, Balloon Twisting, Hawaiian Hula Into Self Defense (yes you read that right: Hula as self defense, how cool!), and more. These camps are especially good if you’ve got an older elementary, middle school, or high schooler. There are also reading workshops for younger ones getting ready to enter Kindergarten in the fall. (For even more Summer Camp options, be sure to check out our very own Orange County’s Ultimate Summer Camp Guide!)
Fees vary depending on the length of the camp and materials involved, which vary from 1 day to a full 5 weekdays long.
July 9 and every Monday until August 6
Segerstrom hosts free Movie Mondays on their Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. This is a good one for families with slightly older children since the movies are all rated PG or PG-13. Series starts with BACK TO THE FUTURE, and includes MOONRISE KINGDOM, STAR TREK, and my personal all-time favorite, THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
July 12 and every Thursday until August 2
Sponsored by the Anaheim Community Foundation, this weekly free concert series offers free family fun to music lovers in the Orange County area. The 2018 series kicks off with 80z All Stars playing a fun mix of 80s classics. Subsequent concerts feature Trinity (tributes to Styx, Journey, and Foreigner), Petty Breakers (The Tom Petty Experience), and Under Cover (billed as The Ultimate Music Experience).
Admission is free, plus free games and activities for all. Food available for purchase from gourmet food trucks. Bring lawn chairs and blankets.
From their website: “I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for ICE CREAM! Get the inside scoop on National Ice Cream Day right here—we’re celebrating it at the museum today with FREE ice cream from 12pm-1pm! Whether you like it in a cup or a cone, with sprinkles or with fudge, come celebrate with us for a day filled with ice cream activities—including crafts and songs!”
Included with museum admission, which is $12.50 for adults and children over 12 months, $9.50 for Military and their Families. Free for Pretend City Members.
From their website: “Are you ready for a fun summer night out with your family? We’ve got you covered with our Family Game Night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 on the Village Green at Oso Viejo Park. You and your family members will have a blast playing bocce, connect 4, Frisbee golf, XL checkers, chess and much more!”
$5 per person including dinner and refreshments. Advance registration is required.
Also, don’t forget about these ongoing FREE summer concert and movie events hosted by OC Parks!
July 5 and Thursday during the summer until August 23
From their website: “The County of Orange and OC Parks welcome back the annual outdoor summer concert series with 10 free concerts at Craig Regional Park, Mason Regional Park, Mile Square Regional Park, Irvine Regional Park and Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach. Each event will offer free live music and food trucks under the summer sky on Thursday evenings….” Upcoming performances include Stone Soul featuring Adam Lasher (July 5), Flashback Heart Attack featuring Matt Baxter (July 12) and The English Beat (July 19). Should be a fun time!
Admission and parking are free. Open to the public of all ages. Concertgoers 21 and over can purchase beer and wine at the beer tent. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for guests to enjoy the beer garden, food trucks, and to save their spot on the grass for the concert. All concerts are from 6 to 8 p.m.
July 7 – HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS (PG) at Craig Park
July 13 – TROLLS (G) at Mason Park
July 20 – GHOSTBUSTERS (PG) at Mason Park
July 27 – ZOOTOPIA (PG) at Irvine Park
Free admission. 6-10pm.