Remains of the Day


Wake up! See the roses, even after work! Spring hath sprung, and so hath the clock--forward, by an hour.

Perhaps during the winter months you went straight from the office to the gym. Or home to veg out in front of the TV. Or to happy hour. If you’re a nine-to-fiver, wherever you went was probably indoors or involved artificial light--it was dark outside.

Now, thanks to daylight saving time, the sun doesn’t set until around 7:30 p.m. Locally, that’s cause for some to celebrate.


“I was talking to a friend in Indiana, where they don’t experience daylight saving,” said Tara Prieto, 27, of San Juan Capistrano. “He said, ‘Why are you so excited? You lose an hour of sleep!’ I said, ‘We sacrifice an hour of sleep for an hour of sunshine. It’s a great deal!’ ”

Daylight saving once had to do with factories saving energy during wartime; in today’s Orange County, it’s largely about fun. You don’t have to wait for the weekend, or play hooky, to enjoy weekend activities.

Here are just a few ways to make the most of the season:

Golf at Twilight Rates

Pelican Hill Golf Club at Newport Coast offers great views of the Pacific coastline. It’s expensive--about $200 per round on the weekends--but less expensive after 4 p.m. during daylight savings: $80 Mon. and Tue., $90 Wed. and Thur., $105 Fri.-Sun. and holidays for all the holes you can finish before dark. San Juan Hills Country Club, at the other end of the spectrum, tops out at $33. But there, too, twilight play (after 5:30) reduces rates by almost half: $12 Mon.-Thur., $14 Fri., $17 Sat., Sun. and holidays. Pelican Hill Golf Club, 22651 Pelican Hill Road South, Newport Beach, (714) 760-0707. San Juan Hills Country Club, 32120 San Juan Creek Road, San Juan Capistrano, (714) 493-1167.

Fishing and Ballgames

Craig Regional Park in Fullerton opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until 9 p.m. but has no lights except along the road. Available for evening use are baseball diamonds, volleyball nets, and racquetball, handball and basketball courts. The lake is stocked with catfish (fishing license required), and bird-watching is terrific: The mallards are nesting and, for the first time in recent memory, there’s a great horned owl nest with two chicks--30 yards from State College Boulevard. 3300 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton. Parking $2 Mon.-Fri., $4 Sat. and Sun., $5 holidays. (714) 990-0271.

Outdoor Exercise

It’s seven miles round trip from 32nd Street to the jetty end of the Board Walk beach path along Balboa Peninsula--a breeze for in-line skaters and bicyclists. The Huntington State Beach multi-use trail is more than twice that distance, and for some exercise devotees that makes the route twice as nice. Both paths feature virtually uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. Huntington State Beach, Pacific Coast Highway near Brookhurst Street, (714) 536-1454; parking $6. Balboa Beach, west of Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, (714) 644-3047; parking $7, or metered street parking. Both beaches open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Wilderness Hikes

The county’s wilderness parks are open for day use from 7 a.m. until sunset. South of the El Toro “Y,” head east 7.8 miles on Ortega Highway to Caspers Wilderness Park, where a nature trail (seven-tenths of a mile) passes open sycamore woodlands, an oak canopy and lots of wildflowers. Bell Canyon offers more trails still. Hikers under age 18 are not allowed on the trail without a docent or a ranger, even with parents; call ahead for arrangements. 33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano. (714) 728-0235.


Walking the Dog

How would you feel if you only socialized on weekends? OK, maybe you do. Nonetheless, dogs seem to crave the company of other dogs. So-called bark parks in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach are open dawn till dusk, and they’re free. Many owners find watching their pets play as therapeutic for them as it is for the dogs. Costa Mesa: corner of Arlington Drive and Newport Boulevard, (714) 754-5041. Laguna Beach: Laguna Canyon Road, half a mile south of El Toro Road, (714) 458-9663. Huntington Central Park: Edwards Street between Ellis Avenue and Inlet Drive, (714) 536-5486.

Blazing Saddles

Country Trails and Riding School offers guided horseback tours through Irvine Regional Park ($20 per hour) and riding lessons ($30 for half-hour private or one-hour group lesson) by appointment until dark. Private one-hour lessons at Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center run $35-$40, and can also be scheduled until sundown (or later, in some cases); one-hour guided rides ($25) start in June. Rides at both facilities Wed.-Sun., ages 8 and up. Country Trails, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, (714) 538-5860. Equestrian Center, 18381 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-6565.


Most afternoons at Fairview Park, wind currents blow up the cliffs from the Santa Ana River bed. Kite flyers congregate until dusk on the lawn adjacent to Placentia Avenue. Radio-controlled sailplane pilots hang out atop the cliffs near Pacific Avenue. As for where you’ll spot the occasional paraglider testing out a chute, well, that’s up in the air. Fairview Park, Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa, (714) 754-5300. Parking is free.


Sure, these happen every day, but not all of us have weekday opportunities to see them in winter. And there’s no better way to appreciate the extra daylight than to watch as it surrenders to the night. Head over to Bolsa Chica State Beach, grab a bench atop the cliffs of Corona del Mar, or take a tram to tiny Top of the World Park in Laguna Beach. If you’re alone, it’ll clear your mind; if you’re not, it’s a sure-fire idea for a date. Bolsa Chica State Beach, Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach. Cliffs of Corona del Mar, Ocean Boulevard near Marguerite Avenue. Top of the World Park, corner Top of the World Drive and Tree Top Lane, Laguna Beach.