Places to Visit in Fullerton while Traveling in a Van

Are there any good places to visit in Fullerton, California?

Answer

There are many amazing places to visit while in Fullerton. Fullerton is home to Cal State Fullerton, one of the largest colleges in Southern California. Besides Cal State Fullerton, there is also Fullerton College and Hope International University. So that means the city has over 50K college students, which gives it a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and over 200 restaurants. The city also boasts 53 parks that are perfect places to park your van and enjoy the outdoors.  I highly recommend visiting Fullerton. 

Best Places to Visit in Fullerton

The main attraction to Fullerton is its downtown area. The downtown area consists of wonderful restaurants, an Amtrak station, vintage clothing shops, and an old theater. There are also several hair salons and a comic bookstore. My favorite restaurant in downtown Fullerton is Heroes Bar and Grill. It is wonderful to get a burger, sandwich and watch the game. The portions are large so remember to bring your appetite. Along with Heros, there’s Roscoes, known for its world-famous sandwiches.  There is also a brewery, scotch and wine bar, and other great restaurants within walking distance of each other. If you are hungry, you will not be disappointed in the choice of restaurants within downtown Fullerton.

Another great attraction in downtown Fullerton is the Fox Theater. The Fox theater normally shows classic movies on the weekend. It is a fun experience to watch a classic movie in a historic theater dating back to 1925. The theater hosts events throughout the year, so if you are lucky enough to be in town during one of these events, I highly recommend going. (512 North Harbor Blvd)

One of the most popular outdoor places to visit in Fullerton is Hiltscher Park.  Hiltscher Park consists of the 2.5-mile Juanita Cooke Greenbelt chip trail named for the woman who once served as a liaison for the Fullerton Recreation Riders, a local equestrian group that helped get the trail built. The trail is used for running, walking, and mountain biking. There are a few park entrances, but the main one is across from the courthouse and is also the starting point for the Fullerton loop. The Fullerton Loop is an 11-mile trail composed of dirt paths and occasional city streets. The trail will take you through Fullerton’s scenic areas and is popular with mountain bikers and hikers. Just make sure you download a map beforehand not to get lost. Hiltscher Parks is a good place to spend the day in your van while exploring its trails and scenery. (360 W Valley View Dr)

For a park with a spectacular view, Vista Park is the place to go. The park offers panoramic views of Fullerton and the surrounding cities. On a clear day, you can see Catalina Island. Located next to the park is the Summit House Restaurant. The Summit House Restaurant is one of the best dining experiences in Fullerton. You can have lunch or dinner on their patio overlooking Fullerton. Vista Park has ample parking and is a beautiful place to visit. (2002 E Bastanchury Rd)

One of the hidden jewels of Fullerton is Laguna Lake. Laguna Lake is a small lake tucked away within a residential district. It offers a nice walking trail around the Lake, along with an equestrian center at its entrance. You will find plenty of people lazing around or even running around the lake during the day. The lake is occasionally stocked with fish, so do not leave your fishing license at home. Lake Laguna is a wonderful place to beat the heat of the day and watch the birds and turtles. (3120 Lakeview Drive)

Fullerton Train Museum

The Fullerton Train Museum is a fun historical museum found at the Amtrak Station in downtown Fullerton. The museum has a railcar collection consisting of three historically significant cabooses representing the three railroads that served Orange County in its early days and two 1940s Union Pacific lounge cars. The museum offers guided tours, or you can wander around the railcars on your own. I highly recommend taking the tour to learn about the fascinating history of railroads in Orange County. The museum is open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month and is free. (200 East Santa Fe Avenue)

Fullerton Museum Center: Home of the Leo Fender Gallery

Although it is currently close due to funding issues with the city, the Fullerton Museum Center is a paradise for anyone who has ever played a Fender electric guitar. Leo Fender lived and founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company in Fullerton. The museum has a large collection of Fender memorabilia and history on display. The museum also offers exhibits ranging from public art, book readings to countless other topics. It is a wonderful museum with over 100-year history. Hopefully, it reopens soon.  (301 N Pomona Ave)

Best Park to Workout

Another one of my favorite places to visit in Fullerton is Independence Park.  Independence Park has an awesome skate park, handball court, workout apparatus, basketball gym, and home to the Janet Evans Swim Complex. The park also has a restroom, drinking fountain, and plenty of parking available, making it a great place to work out or grab lunch. There is a farmers market there every Wednesday morning between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM that sells various fruits, vegetables, and flowers along with my favorite tamales. There is also a Kettle Corn stand, but I do not know why anyone would buy Kettle Corn, Yuk! (801 W Valencia Dr)

My Favorite Place

It might not be the most popular coffee shop in Fullerton, but it is the most unique and relaxing. Located off Commonwealth Ave across from the Fullerton Community Center, there’s Veronese Café and Gallery. This coffee shop is owned by a nice local couple who run it out of a converted home. They offer a small dinner and lunch menu to complement the usual coffee beverages you will find at any coffee shop. What I like the most about Veronese Café is the backyard area. The backyard area has a fire pit, palm trees, antique gas pumps, lounge chairs, and board games. This creates a very relaxing environment that is perfect for anyone taking a break from the road. I highly recommend stopping by and enjoying a good cup of coffee. You will not be disappointed. (419 W Commonwealth Ave)

Is Overnight Camping Allowed?

Unfortunately, it is illegal to sleep overnight in your van in the city of Fullerton, except in the designated safe parking spots. But these safe parking spots are only available to Fullerton citizens with the proper ID. However, I have seen several stealth campers staying overnight on Valencia Ave by Independence Park. It seems the police officers do not mind them any attention if they are quiet.

Is there Free Wireless Internet in Fullerton?

Yes, Fullerton Wireless is a free wireless service that supplies Internet connectivity to downtown Fullerton visitors. You can also get free wireless at the Fullerton Community Center and Library.

Where to find a shower and restroom

The best place to find a shower and a restroom in Fullerton is at the Fullerton Community Center. The center has a Boys and Girls Club, gym, swimming pool, and locker room. There is a small fee to use the gym and shower, but it is around $5.

There is also a local YMCA in Fullerton. The YMCA has a great gym, pool, and outdoor soccer facility. This is my favorite gym in Fullerton due to how much it offers and the lack of crowds. The gym is hard to locate since it is tucked behind St. Jude Medical Center, so make sure to download the address to your phone and follow the directions. (2000 Youth Way)

Conclusion

Fullerton is a wonderful place to visit while traveling in your van. While it might not be as exciting as the beach cities, Fullerton still has vibrant nightlife and plenty of good places to explore. There are lots of parks, restaurants, and museums to entertain you. Although this post only touches on just a few of the wonderful places around Fullerton, you will have no problem finding something to do. I highly recommend visiting Fullerton while traveling throughout Southern California.

Post Links

Fullerton Community Center

Fox Theater

Fullerton YMCA

Fullerton Train Museum

Fullerton Museum Center

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