Just returned from 10 days in wonderful SoCal...we rented a cottage on the Grand canal on Balboa..what a unique experience. I highly recommend this, so much nicer than a hotel. It was nice just watching people walk the boardwalk with their dogs and kayak the canal. The town is so adorable and people so nice. Only complaint is that everything closed so early. It was fun taking the ferry to the peninsula where we rented bikes from Balboa pier to Newport pier. We daytripped to Corona Del Mar went to the sandcastle contest on the beach and walked by the jetty. This is a must for visitors go to Lookout Point and look out on Newport Harbor. We then went to the Wedge.We also went to Laguna Beach, again a must for anyone visiting this area and also Huntington Beach which has that great surf vibe. We also "hiked" to Crystal Cove Beach. Every town has their own character. Thanks to all the locals for their restaurant suggestions. And to answer my own question, I found the most awesome coffee at the Cinnamon Faire on Marine Avenue. Any questions, please ask, i would be happy to give advice.