Costa mesa wall

Our family LOVES to travel to California, we have visited the state every year for as long as I can remember! One of our favourite areas to stay is Costa Mesa which is centrally located to beaches, Disneyland, world class shopping, and more. We were excited to partner with Travel Costa Mesa to share our travel experience this year including all of our favourite places to go!

Travel to the region is easy with direct flights to John Wayne Airport from both Calgary and Vancouver. This airport is less than 10 minutes away from The Westin South Coast Plaza where our family stayed this trip. We love the ease of flying into a smaller airport and being so close to our destination.

Where to Stay

Westin South Coast Plaza

The Westin South Coast Plaza has the BEST location in Costa Mesa with so many things to see and do within walking distance of the hotel. Right across the street you will find world class shopping at South Coast Plaza as well as restaurants, art and more surrounding the hotel. It was also a short 10 minute drive from the airport!

When we vacation we like to get out and explore which was so easy to do from The Westin South Coast Plaza. We loved how quick and easy it was to get to all of our destinations, everything was between 5-25 minutes away from the hotel! It was great to get up and go in the morning, do some exploring, then come back to the hotel to relax by the pool and soak up the sun. We really lucked out with the weather, it was in the high 20’s everyday during our stay!

Westin South Coast Plaza pool

The Westin South Coast Plaza has the most amazing 10 foot swimming pool to jump in while you soak up the California sun. There’s nothing I love more than sitting by the pool with a good book while the kids splash around and swim making this a great hotel for families. We spent everyday by the pool!

Other amenities include a large fitness facility equipped with treadmills, weights and everything you need for your workout. I LOVED that they had a Peloton bike so I could keep up with my workouts on vacation. It was quick and easy to sign into my account and get started with a spin class while overlooking the beautiful pool.

Enjoy your favourite Starbucks drink right in the lobby of The Westin South Coast Plaza. The Market Place offers coffee as well as grab-and-go items to keep you energized throughout the day. The Lobby Lounge is also open for breakfast and light bites with cocktails in the evening. Take in the beautiful waterfall views from the restaurant or their patio on a warm sunny day. It’s so convenient to have dining options available right at the hotel.

Westin South Coast Plaza

Photo Opps

Costa Mesa is FILLED with fun photo opps scattered throughout the city. Of course we had to visit the most instagrammable locations since we love to snap photos! We spent the time to research fun places for photos before heading out to take our pictures. All of the locations were nice and close to The Westin South Coast plaza where we stayed during our trip.

The Lab Anti Mall is a MUST VISIT when travelling to Costa Mesa. LAB stands for Little American Business, and supporting local is what we love to do! There are so many fun places to snap photos as well as explore the trendy stores, restaurants and more at this hip shopping district. It was a quick 5 minute drive from The Westin South Coast Plaza.

  • Find Lab Anti Mall at 2930 Bristol Street in Costa Mesa.

You’ll find lots of great photo opportunities scattered throughout Costa Mesa. The Travel Costa Mesa website is a great resource for finding them all! We loved driving around the city and exploring new neighbourhoods while we captured our pics. Some of our favourite locations are pictured above and all of them were within walking distance to a 10 minute drive from The Westin South Coast Plaza.

  1. Costa Mesa Wall – 512 W 19th St on the side of Social
  2. The Ram – Costa Mesa Art Walk (in front of The Westin South Coast Plaza)
  3. Canvas Coloured Wall – 3090 Bristol St (walking distance from The Westin South Coast Plaza)
  4. Costa Mesa Bloom – Triangle Square (across the street from the Costa Mesa wall)
  5. Noguchi Garden – 611 Anton Blvd (across the street from The Westin South Coast Plaza behind Mastros)

Must Try Eats

With so many restaurants to choose from, a week simply wasn’t long enough to try them all! We love visiting Costa Mesa and the food scene did not disappoint. I spent the time to research some must try restaurants with the help of Travel Costa Mesa. From sweet treats to Mexican eats, some of our favourites close to The Westin South Coast Plaza included:

  1. In-N-Out Burger – Did you even visit California if you didn’t eat here? You’ll find several located scattered around Costa Mesa including one walking distance from the hotel.
  2. Veg’d – For all things plant based, this cute fast casual concept is a must visit! I had the most delicious Cold Brew Float that hit the spot on a hot sunny day.
  3. Dough & Arrow – This Kitchen Sink cookie is what dreams are made of with toffee | oats | chocolate | espresso | cornflake crunch.
  4. Playa Mesa – Known for their award winning margaritas, with a delicious mix of Mexican cuisine. The fajitas were perfect for sharing and the fresh guac was so good!


Costa Mesa is centrally located to some of the best beaches in California. We love spending time soaking up the sun with sand between our toes. Take in the sights and sounds of Huntington Beach by planning a day trip. Just a quick 15 minute drive from The Westin South Coast Plaza, Huntington Beach has amazing restaurants, shopping and views for days.

We loved walking the pier, dipping our toes in the ocean, shopping at Pacific City (Stitch + Feather and West of Camden were personal faves) and sampling some homemade ice cream at Handel’s.

Laguna Beach has always been on my radar to visit, ever since the kids on that famous MTV show put it on the map! We spent the morning shopping at Irvine Spectrum, then headed to explore Laguna Beach for the afternoon. We loved everything about this quaint little beach city, from the sights and sounds to the shopping. My only regret was not staying for dinner with all the amazing local restaurants to choose from! It was a quick 25 minute drive to The Westin South Coast Plaza.

Laguna Beach with kids


When I travel, I plan my vacation around places I want to shop. I am an expert shopper and spend hours researching the best malls and stores to visit when I’m planning my trips! California is my favourite place to shop, they have every single store I love and I always come home with a suitcase stuffed to the brim! Some of my favourite shopping spots in and around a 20 minute drive from The Westin South Coast Plaza include:

  1. South Coast Plaza – Conveniently located across the street from The Westin South Coast Plaza, you’ll find world class shopping under one roof. Take the walking bridge across directly from the hotel to find every designer store you can think of. The kids will love the carousel which is only $2 to ride.
  2. Metro Pointe – Located within walking distance to The Westin South Coast Plaza, you’ll find some of my favourite outlets including Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Sak’s off 5th, Bloomingdale’s and more.
  3. Irvine Spectrum – This beautiful outdoor shopping mall has a great mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment for the whole family. Our kids love to ride the giant ferris wheel when we visit!
  4. Outlets at Orange – Find your favourite outlet stores, restaurants and entertainment in this outdoor shopping complex.
  5. Fashion Island – Newport Beach has a great outdoor shopping mall with a mix of some of my favourite stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Athleta, Barnes & Noble. You’ll also find a mix of restaurants to choose from like our favourites Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s.
South Coast Plaza Carousel

It wouldn’t be a trip to Southern California without shopping at Target! Us Canadians love Target and we always plan to hit as many as we can in one trip. With the central location of The Westin South Coast Plaza, we managed to find 12 different Target stores to shop at all within a 20 minute drive or less from the hotel. Why so many? We always find something different at every location we visit! I even brought home a king size quilt in my suitcase from Target, I loved it so much!

Target Costa Mesa

There’s something about palm trees + sunsets that I absolutely love, and Costa Mesa offers some of the best. Be sure to take a moment to take one in when visiting the city, they are spectacular!

Thank you to Travel Costa Mesa and The Westin South Coast Plaza for hosting our family for our Spring Break vacation. We had the chance to relax at the hotel after exploring the region every day. California offers so much to see and do, we can’t wait to book our next trip back to the region!

Costa Mesa Sunset
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This blog post was written in partnership with Travel Costa Mesa and The Westin South Coast Plaza. Views expressed are my own based on our personal experience staying at the hotel, using the amenities and exploring Costa Mesa.