The town that surrounds beautiful Lake Elsinore and shares its name never lacks for things to do or see. For one thing, they are inordinately proud of their baseball team, the Elsinore Storm, which is the farm team for the San Diego Padres. Take the kids to watch a game at The Diamond stadium. For shopping, spend a day at the Outlets at Lake Elsinore or the shops in the historic downtown.

Nature lovers can visit Ortega Falls, and of course, there’s the stunning lake itself. Here you can rent or charter a boat, go on tours of the lake, or just swim at Elm Grove Beach. Try your hand at flyboarding, where you’re blasted into the air over the water then attend the Elsinore Grand Prix if you’re in town around mid-November. Lake Elsinore vacation rentals can be hacienda-style homes right on the lake and some have their own swimming pool and cabana.

1. Perris

Eleven miles northwest of the lake, Perris is the home of the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Take the kids to explore the old fashioned coaches and street cars. In the fall and winter, they can ride the Pumpkin trains, Thomas the Tank Engine or of course Santa’s train around Christmas. Get holiday shopping done early and buy model train sets in the gift shop then dine out at the Bomb Shelter, Jenny’s Family Restaurant, or Harry’s Cafe, which serves memorable breakfasts.

2. Canyon Lake

The vacation rentals on Canyon Lake range from lodges and suites in gated communities with a view of the lake to homes with private lakes that border golf courses. You might not want to leave such a rental, but you can’t resist a visit to the town center for the shopping or dog-friendly Eastport Park. Buy your groceries at the Canyon Lake Market if you want to whip up a home-cooked meal, or have the Sunday brunch at The Lighthouse.

3. Murrieta

This fairly large city 12 miles south of Lake Elsinore is the site of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. The trails are plentiful and family-friendly so bring along your dog on your California vacation. Pack a lunch, lots of water for everyone and have a picnic at one of the many picnic areas. Another wild place is Tenaja Falls, which also requires a family-friendly hike first. For meals, head to Richie’s Real American Diner or Calhoun’s Texas BBQ.

4. Menifee

Things to do in Menifee include a visit to the Sun City Library, which is full of books and exhibits where you can really spend hours. This senior-friendly town, also the home of the Motte Historical Museum and the Menifee Lakes Golf Course, doesn’t forget the young people. Take the kids to the Drop Zone Waterpark and the playground at Spirit Park. The vacation rentals are often built with seniors in mind, with slip-proof shower floors and grab bars which means they’ll be good for little kids as well.

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5. Lake Forest

Lake Forest and the environs are full of restaurants that specialize in many cuisines and have many price ranges. Among them are Peppino’s Italian Family Restaurant, the Thai Garden, and Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ. Inka Mamas serves Peruvian fare, while Kobe Buffet serves Asian. You and your friends can enjoy the margaritas at Avila’s El Ranchito. Another perk is that you can get a vacation rental that includes secluded, heated pools.

6. Temecula

The name of this town means something like “the sun that shines through the mist,” and when you wake up in your vacation rental, you may just see the sunlight shining through the mist over the vineyard across the street from your yard. Temecula is in wine country and home to vineyards such as the Callaway, Wilson Creek, Mount Palomar, Hart, Briar Rose, and Vindemia Estate wineries as well as the Wiens Family and Leoness Cellars. You can spend much of your vacation flitting from one tasting room to the other sampling their wonderful wines. But find time to visit the Temecula Museum and attend a play at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.

7. Silverado

Silverado is the perfect place for folks who want to be out in nature. Take a trip to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary or the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Park where you can hike, bike or explore on horseback. Make sure to register well in advance as spots fill up fast. Then, take the kids to see the albino tigers at the Rancho Las Lomas Wildlife Foundation. Silverado is in stunning wine country, so expect wine tasting at Las Lomas and just about everywhere surrounding.

8. El Cerrito

El Cerrito has a wealth of places the kids will enjoy. One is Arlington Park, which has playing fields, ponds, a creek, playground equipment, and picnic tables next to barbecue grills. Play the arcade games at the Playland Not At The Beach, which is a museum dedicated to an old amusement park. Then, check out its detailed dioramas and don’t forget to visit the Eartha Kitt Museum while you’re there.

9. Corona

Vacation rentals in this city just north of El Cerrito include big, Spanish-style haciendas with brick courtyards and fountains as well as multi-bedroom houses that can sleep even a large family. If you’re a fan of rock n’ roll, go to the Fender Guitar Visitor Center. If you’re feeling amped after that, take a thrilling zipline ride at Skull Canyon Zipline then be pampered at the spa at Glen Ivy Hot Springs.

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