224 - 382 USD
Santa Ana in Orange County (The OC) is one of those iconic Southern California locations that has picture-perfect weather year-round. The beaches are always open, the waters welcoming, and the activities blossoming like spring flowers. The Pacific Ocean provides a natural breeze for Santa Ana, which means even when the temperatures rise, the breeze will keep you nice and cool. Ideally, the best time to head over to Santa Ana is when school is in session for the locals, but also when the ocean waters are favorable. Try to visit at the end of August and into November. On average, Santa Ana stays at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, so it really does not get uncomfortably hot at any time of the year.
Domestic non-stop flights are operated by American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and WestJet. For cheap flights to Santa Ana, consider booking with Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and WestJet, but be prepared for a layover or two, depending on which route you fly.
As the largest airport in Orange County, John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana provides you with plenty of transportation options into the city center, local attractions, hotels, and other locations in Orange County.
Buses from Santa Ana are run privately and also offered by the city. The Disneyland Resort Express for those coming to Disneyland, costs $20 USD per adult and $15 USD per child for a one-way express trip to Disneyland’s surrounding hotels. Orange County Transport Authority (OCTA) buses run from the airport to city center. Use Routes 76 and 212 from the airport. The OCTA single fare is $2 USD per person, but you can buy a day pass for just $5 USD per person. Children 3 and under ride free with a parent.
More than 500 limousine companies privately operate in Santa Ana and service the airport, so you have plenty of options to bargain-hunt. The company must have a license to perform pick-ups at the airport, so request that they show proof of their permissions.
Multiple shuttle companies operate in the area, including ABC Shuttle, Advance Shuttle, New Express Transportation, and Shuttle 2000. All of them offer door-to-door drops from the airport to your hotel. You might also have a free airport shuttle offered by your hotel, so check at booking. Fares vary for shuttles depending on the type of service and distance to be traveled.
Taxis in Santa Ana are expensive, but offer faster travel times than public transportation. The Yellow Cab company operates solely for the airport commuters and you can find them on the Arrival Level between Terminal A and Terminal B. Fares as of July 2017 are $3.50 USD for the flag drop and first 1/5 mile. Then, you pay $0.55 USD per 1/5 mile and $2.75 USD per mile. There is also a $32.00 USD per hour wait fee and $0.53 USD per minute wait fee.
Uber, Lyft, and Wingz are some of the services that operate within Santa Ana. Their fares depend on the number of people, type of vehicle you select, and the time of day you are traveling. Expect a higher fee if traveling during peak rush hour traffic times.
Rather than spend more on taxis, consider driving yourself. Look for deals on car rentals in Santa Ana with momondo. Other rental companies in the area include Advantage Rent A Car, National Car Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz Rent A Car, and other providers.
Orange County Transportation Authority
The best way to get around is by utilizing the OCTA. Fares are expensive if you pay by cash; therefore, purchase a Local Day Pass at $5 USD per person or an Express One-Day Pass at $14 USD per person for express routes.
The Metrolink is part of the OCTA and if you use the day passes, you get free transfers. Also, you can purchase an EZ transit pass, which gives you free all-day travel in Los Angeles and Orange County areas. A $10 USD Weekend Day Pass is good for unlimited travel on the Metrolink system through either Saturday or Sunday. Similar to the OCTA passes, a 7-Day Pass is priced for 7 one-way trips.
Once you use public transportation to get to the city in Orange County that you want to visit, you will find that most of it can be covered on foot. You will find that most cities in Orange County have designated walking paths and many of them take you through scenic areas you would otherwise not know existed.
Santa Ana is a very bike-friendly community. In fact, you will find the local police force out on two wheels patrolling the cities. With over 1,000 miles of bike paths, you can easily rent a bike for the day in the city you are visiting, and get around with ease. Plus, you can avoid the traffic, travel along the coast, and stop whenever you like. You can rent bikes from companies like Wheel Fun Rentals (Irvine), ARB Cyclery, The Path Bike Shop, and more. The fare depends on how long you want to ride, where you are, and the number of bikes you rent.
If you’re not only visiting Santa Ana, Orange County consists of several cities, and each one has its own varied list of attractions. From Anaheim and the famous Disneyland, to Irvine and the amazing Asian-American heritage sites, almost every nook and cranny of Orange County has something interesting to offer tourists.
Southern California is known for the sand and surf, and while it is relatively tourist-friendly, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.
The climate in Santa Ana stays in the 70 degrees Fahrenheit range, but peak summer months can rise into the 90’s. Coastal areas are always cooler than inland, so bring a light jacket if you plan to stay along the coast at night. It is best if you dress in light layers, especially because temperatures fluctuate during the day.
Be ready for the fog
If you are not used to being on the coast, you might notice that some mornings are blanketed in thick fog. Be careful driving in this weather, and remember to still put on your sunscreen. The fog does not shield you, and you might find you burn easier in the fog than on a bright, sunny day.
Staying safe in Santa Ana
As a major metropolitan area of Southern California, you do have some areas that are more prone to crime in Orange County. Never leave valuables in your car, and when you return to your hotel, always use the main entrance. Avoid non-tourist areas at night, because you may find yourself exposed to activities such as prostitution and pick-pocketing. Beaches are generally safe during the day and into the evenings, but they also have time restrictions. Therefore, you must leave the beach areas once closed.