Family Fun: The Great Pacific Air Show

I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts – a suburb of Boston, close to the Hanscom Air Force Base.  My dad is a retired mechanical engineer who use to work on aircraft engines (including some military jets), so as a family, we would always get excited when the air show travelled through.

When I heard about the air show coming to Orange County (there is a North American tour schedule which you can find here for 2018 and 2019), I decided to plan a family air show day since I knew that my father and my boys would really love it. 

Headliners: The Thunderbirds

Most Air Shows seem to be free public events. However, as you can imagine – traffic, parking and finding a good spot to view the show, can be a challenge.

Luckily for us in Orange County, you can watch the show from the beach. However, I have heard that it is advisable to get there early in the morning around 8am in order to secure parking nearby, and a good viewing spot.  If you come later, you may have to walk quite a distance from your parking spot to the beach, or pay hefty price for beach parking (I saw some hotel signs post $100 for parking).  While researching our Air Show viewing strategy, I found some wise suggestions of people who would drop their friends/family off by the beach then park a few miles away and bike over.

Ultimately, we purchased valet parking and viewing tickets from the Pasea hotel in Huntington Beach.  The main reason why I decided on this was that our kids had soccer Saturday morning, and we wouldn’t be able to arrive in Huntington Beach until close to 12:30pm and I knew that finding street parking or public parking would be impossible at that time.  (The Air Show started at 11:30 and ran until about 4pm).  For $40, we were able to have hassle free valet parking and viewing from their lawn, and we purchased additional adults tickets for lawn viewing for $25 each. Kids 5 and under were free. We brought our own chairs, but they had ice water and some food for purchase. Everyone in our group appreciated the option to seek shade, and the access to clean bathrooms.   It was a super fun family excursion (our ages range from 3 to 70 years old), and nice to continue a family tradition.  I asked my kids what they thought and Alex replied “It was awesome!!!”

The Pasea Hotel passed out these complimentary Aviator Sunglasses!

Air Show Tips and Links:

  • Air Show Calendar for North America, Europe or International, click here
  • Great Pacific Air Show
  • Get there early if you can for best parking and viewing spots
  • Consider purchasing a viewing package if you are unable to get there early, or if certain comforts (ie shade, access to air conditioning and clean bathrooms) are important to your group.
  • Wear sunscreen, hat, sun protection

This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.


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I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister, doctor, adventure enthusiast, food lover, and photographer. I spend a lot of time researching fun things for my family to do, explore and eat - so I created this space to share some information that might be helpful to others.

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