8 Family Events in Orange County to Enjoy This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

8 Family Events in Orange County to Enjoy This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

You moved to Southern California for a reason.

Yes, we’ve got phenomenal weather year-round, but summer shines down here in Orange County with all that there is to do.

But when going out with the family, things add up fast. Restaurants aren’t making things easier on families, and we all know Disneyland isn’t lowering admission prices any time soon. 

So where can we go with the family to experience Orange County without forcing us to take out a second mortgage on our home?

We’ve got you covered with 8 family events in Orange County that everyone can enjoy this summer without breaking the bank.

So skip the trip to the ATM and see what new memories you can create for your children next.

Orange County Fair

The flagship event in Southern California, the Orange County Fair grows bigger every year. But while the event draws more people with each passing summer, there are plenty of opportunities for families to save some dough and enjoy a few corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Kids 5 and under get in for free, with tickets for older children listed at only $9 every day. Once inside, there’s plenty of petting zoos, kids’ rides, and fried food galore to keep everyone satisfied. Invest in an unlimited ride bracelet and that way you won’t have to worry about providing the kids enough of a thrill.

The Orange County Fair runs from July 14th until August 13th on Wednesday through Sunday, located at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

From Dinosaurs to People in Santa Ana

Looking for an educational day in between all of the trips to the beach? 

The Heritage Museum of Orange County, located in Santa Ana, features multiple days of themed showcases, highlighting different eras of our world’s history. One of their most notable programs transports people to the Jurassic era, in From Dinosaurs to People.

Catch the thrill on July 9th, and you can even bring the dog with you. Plus, everyone receives free admission!

Even on days without special events, the Heritage Museum of Orange County is open on select dates each month, and admission starts at just $10. Never hurts to stimulate their minds during the summer, too.

Marina Youth Theatre

You don’t have to drive to Anaheim for a Disney experience in Orange County this summer. And, it’ll cost you a fraction of the price to get in.

The Marina Youth Theatre in Huntington Beach will host a performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid across multiple days in August, with tickets starting at just $25.

And after the success of the most recent movie, we’re sure you’ve got plenty of Ariel fans in the family that you could take this summer.

Wiener Dog Races in Huntington Beach

On select Sundays in Old Town Village, you can witness one of the greatest racing spectacles in California. Heck, you can even register your own wiener dog to race to glory if you’ve got one.

The Wiener Dog Races are a local favorite, and they even accept local submissions. So you can either experience the races for as little as $5 a ticket, or make a champion out of your own furry friend. 

And think of what a unique memory that would create for your kids. Our favorite from the races? Watching these good boys and girls running their hearts out last year.

Festival of Butterflies in San Juan Capistrano

On August 5th at Los Rios Park in San Juan Capistrano, enjoy the blend of learning more about butterflies and plenty of local culture, all in one day.

A fairly new event to Orange County, the Festival of Butterflies features a plethora of environmental speakers, local cuisine, and truck loads of plants for sale for the moms with a green thumb. 

Best of all, Los Rios Park is known for the Montanez Adobe, the natural native landscape and certified butterfly garden of the area, home to hundreds of families of monarch butterflies. A wonderful event for the children to fawn over this summer.

City of Laguna Niguel Sea Country Festival

Music, rides, games, fun, and much more. All free of charge. Sounds good?

That’s the claim to fame for the Sea Country Festival in Laguna Niguel, taking place over 3 days from August 25th-27th. Think of it as a mini-OC Fair, but at an even lighter cost to your wallet. Especially after a long summer.

We understand, parents.

Summer Concerts on the Green in Cypress

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the locally famous Summer Concerts on the Green in the place we call home of Cypress.

You can pack your own picnic basket and lawn chairs, sprawl out in the lawn, and enjoy free concerts on Fridays at the Civic Center Green. Artists included this summer cover a wide range of genres, all family friendly. So don’t hesitate to bring blankets for the kids.

Our personal favorite? Classic Rock and Blues from Voodoo Sindicate on August 11th.

Los Alamitos Aquatics Program

It’s that time of your kid’s life. You can’t avoid it any longer.

They need to learn how to swim.

Just last year, the City of Los Alamitos built a spectacular aquatics facility at Los Alamitos High School, and now you have the opportunity to take advantage of a phenomenal aquatics program for the family.

The program covers multiple age ranges for kids first learning to swim, or further developing their skills, so you can find the right class for your child. Residents of Los Alamitos enjoy a discounted rate for classes at the aquatics center, but it’s open to non-residents as well for only $5 extra.


The opportunities for your family this summer aren’t just limited to this list or ones you’ll find on a city’s calendar of events. Take advantage of events that pop up in parks near you, with plenty of clean-up days, concert nights, and learning exhibitions at your disposal on any given weekend.

Just because prices continue to rise, especially in Orange County, doesn’t mean you have to stress about where to take your family for a weekend excursion this summer.

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