The Pacific Surfliner train passes a rocky beach in San Clemente, California.

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner provides safe and efficient transportation along the California coast, making it easy to get to destinations ranging from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. The Metrolink system provides similar service for local trips within the Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire areas. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Want to get out and explore the Southland this spring break, yet don’t want to be caught in hours of traffic? A number of the region’s most accessible and exciting destinations can be reached quickly by train from the Fullerton area. Check out this list of seven destinations within three hours.

The Fullerton area is a great place to begin your journey around California by rail. The area is served by several Metrolink routes and is also a stop for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, which provides daily service to cities along a route stretching from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

Trips on Metrolink range from $4.25 one-way to Angel Stadium to nearly $30 for a round-trip to Oceanside. An adult ticket on the Pacific Surfliner to visit Old Town San Diego ranges from $29 for a value seat to $44 for a premium business seat. Add a bicycle for an additional charge to facilitate getting around when you arrive.

Here are seven destinations that are easy to get to and fun to explore. Just hop off the train station and you are on scene for sightseeing, dining, shopping, entertainment and relaxation.

  1. Angel Stadium

Enjoy a baseball game at Angel Stadium, a hockey game or concert at the Honda Center, and dining at nearby restaurants by heading south on Metrolink’s Orange County Line from Downtown Fullerton. In less than 10 minutes, you arrive at the station, right off the 57 Freeway.

  1. Downtown Los Angeles

Southern California’s Mexican heritage is on display at Olvera Street. The Asian contributions can be experienced firsthand at Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Culinary delights await at the Grand Central Market. The halls of governmental and corporate power provide an interesting place for an architecture buff to explore. These are some of the highlights of the downtown of California’s largest and most influential city. Take the Orange County Line from Fullerton and arrive at L.A.’s historic Union Station in a little less than one hour.

  1. Downtown Riverside

The heart of my hometown features the Mission Inn, a destination turn of the 20th century hotel and restaurant complex, historic shopping and dining districts, the Fox Theatre performing arts and concert venue, and museums dedicated to local history and art. Take the Inland Empire/Orange County Line from the Anaheim Canyon Station (in the Placentia area) and arrive in Riverside in a little less than an hour.

A gorgeous sunset on the Pacific Ocean along the Southern California coast.

Enjoy awe-inspiring scenery along the California coast by taking the Pacific Surfliner or Metrolink’s Orange County line. Photo from Pixabay

  1. Oceanside

One of Southern California’s most accessible beaches is only 90 minutes away by train from Downtown Fullerton on the Orange County Line. Stroll on what is reputed to be the longest wooden pier on the West Coast, enjoy miles of sandy beaches, partake in delicious seafood and beat the heat, as temperatures here are often considerably cooler than other beaches on hot summer days.

  1. Old Town San Diego

Enjoy a free day of exploring Southern California history, Mexican culture, dining and shopping at San Diego’s Old Town. It is more than two hours away from Downtown Fullerton by train via the Pacific Surfliner, but the trip is more than worthwhile. Consider spending the night at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant, a Victorian era lodge without the modern amenities, and don’t miss some of the best Mexican food in California at Bazaar del Mundo.

A fountain in the middle of the roundabout that forms the center of Old Towne Orange, California.

The Orange Circle on Chapman Avenue is the hub of activity in Old Towne Orange, which is on the National Register of Historic Places as a century-old downtown district. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

  1. Old Towne Orange

The historic downtown adjacent to Chapman University is a great place to people watch, enjoy a relaxing lunch or romantic dinner, shop at small mom-and-pop boutiques and partake of a lively bar scene. It is all 12 minutes away on the Orange County Line from Downtown Fullerton.

  1. San Clemente

One of Southern California’s less-traveled beach towns is one hour from Fullerton on the Orange County Line. Get off the train and you are steps from the pier, which is popular with fishermen. The nearby bluffs make for an excellent photo opportunity, while the adjacent downtown is a great place for dining and shopping.

For an interactive trip builder, including arrival and departure times and fares, visit the Metrolink website. Information on the Pacific Surfliner is available from Amtrak.

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