Venturing Out

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n Southern California, even during winter months, the weather outside is never, ever frightful. So why stay in when there’s so much to do out there? We’ve short-listed some special treat adventures that are easily accessible, will invigorate the senses (and sometimes the heart rate) and, we promise, are certain to make it onto your best-winter holiday-ever list.

Whale Watching

Gray whales glide through Orange County’s coastal waters from December through April on their annual 10,000-mile migration from the Arctic to Mexico. Their grace, strength and beauty are not to be missed. Climb aboard a Newport Beach cruiser for two hours of breathtaking ocean vistas; you’ll be in whale watcher heaven. Visit daveyslocker.com

Tidepool Exploration at Crystal Cove

The mission of the California state parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Tide pools are only visible at low tide. Visit crystalcovestatepark.org

Learn to Sail Newport Beach

Is there a skipper in you yearning to be free? The Newport Beach Sailing School gets you out on the water, stat! Choose from individual, couples and family class formats and work with a U.S. Coast Guard captain at this certified American Sailing Association facility. Prefer to sit back and enjoy? Captained yacht charters are also an option. Visit newportbeachsail.com (for classes) or sailnewportbeach.com (charters)

Gondola Rides

Photo credit: D. Park Photography

It turns out that Italy no longer has the market cornered on love boats. Settle into a classic American or Italian-built gondola and relax with a loved one as you glide along silky-smooth canals in the capable hands of your own personal gondolier. Romance never felt so good. Visit newportbeach.gondola.com

Kayak Tours Back Bay

For do-it-yourselfers, a kayak tour of Dana Point or Newport Harbor is just the ticket. Following a brief orientation, guests grab a paddle and a kayak and join the group for a two-hour informative and invigorating self-propelled guided tour. Visit expertactive.com/kayak

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