Orange County USA


Debbie Givens

Mom of 2

Age : 3 year old boy and #2 on its way!

Resident for : 8 years

Profession: Full-time mom

#1 Travel Tip: In Orange County there is no reliable mass transportation, so you’ll need a car to get almost anywhere. Check SigAlert for traffic reports daily and plan your outings accordingly.

About Orange County, USA :


Tell us about life in Orange County.

I think of Orange County as a “suburban paradise.” It has all of the things that you would typically find in a suburb, like great schools, shopping malls, chain restaurants (hey, they’re family friendly!), but all of it is in such a gorgeous setting. You’ve got breathtaking mountains and beautiful hills (which means lots of hiking and biking trails), great beaches, and plenty of parks you can visit pretty much year-round. Oh yeah, and we’ve got Disneyland. They say it’s the happiest place on Earth!

Why is traveling important for a family?

For me, I find it reawakens a sense of wonder. I love the look on my son’s face when he sees or experiences something new. It could be something big, like looking out the window of an airplane for the first time and seeing only sky, or something small, like picking up his first pine cone and trying to figure out what on Earth it could be. I like to remember through these experiences what it was like when the whole world was new. Even if we’re visiting a place I’ve been before, it makes the trip exciting. Also, I want my son to feel confident even when he’s out of his comfort zone. It helps him, and really it helps the whole family, to learn to be more flexible.

What’s the hardest thing about traveling with kids?

Figuring out where/when everyone will sleep. But, to be honest, half the time this is a struggle for us at home, too, so we might as well go somewhere fun!

What’s your favorite family travel destination in the world?

Yellowstone National Park. My husband and I were there before we had kids, and we can’t wait to go back with our son. It’s just so incredibly beautiful, and there are so many natural wonders that you don’t see anywhere else. You can also enjoy it on lots of different levels. It’s easy to get around by car, but you can rough it and go camping if you’d like. The unspoiled wilderness really gives you a true appreciation for nature, and an understanding of why national parks are so important.

What’s on your travel wish list?

We have friends in Australia, and we’d love to go there for a visit. Talk about natural beauty! I must admit, the plane ride is daunting, though.

What’s one thing you do on every trip that makes traveling with kids easier?

We try not to over-plan. If we start each day with maybe one “goal” in mind, then there’s less of a chance of getting frustrated or disappointed if things go a different way. A lot of the time, it’s the unexpected moments that end up being the most memorable.

What do you love most about living in OC?

The weather. Being able to get out of the house and explore the great outdoors regardless of the season is pretty great.

Why should people visit LA/OC with kids?

Orange County is a place where people come to raise their children, so it’s very family-oriented. Of course, we have the Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks, but almost any place you’ll visit here is welcoming to children, so it won’t be difficult to accommodate your family’s needs, whatever they might be.

What’s one LA-ism/Cultural quirk? 

Never call it “The OC.” It’s just “OC” or “Orange County.”

Give us one song from your road trip playlist!

These days my son is watching the Cars movie constantly, so it has to be “Route 66.”