Beaches and Parks

Aliso Creek County Beach

Steep shore creates powerful waves. All amenities and fire pits. Pay and display parking $1/hour. 31131 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.923.2280. Map I16

Balboa Beach

Pristine sunning and swimming beach. All amenities. Metered parking. Along Balboa Boulevard at Balboa Pier, Newport Beach, 949.673.3371. Map N14

Bolsa Chica State Beach

Good for grunion hunts! All amenities and fire pits. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Main Street and Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach, 714.846.3460. Map N9

Capistrano Beach

Wide, unblemished. All amenities. Pay and display parking $1/hour. 35005 Beach Road, Capo Beach, 949.923.2280. Map F6

Corona del Mar State Beach

Large, sandy beach—with volleyball nets—below beautiful homes. Lifeguards, all amenities, fire pits. Virtually waveless cove adjacent. Fee for parking. At Ocean Boulevard and Marguerite Avenue, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3151. Map M16

Crystal Cove State Park

Thousands of acres of hiking and mountain biking trails, 3.2 miles of sandy coves and steep cliffs. Historic district with beach cottages, and the Beachcomber cafe. Irvine Coast Marine Life Refuge offshore. Lifeguards, restrooms. Fee for parking. Along East Coast Highway between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, 949.494.3539. Map E4

Doheny State Beach

Popular swimming beach, interpretive center. All amenities and fire pits. Fee for parking. Dana Point Harbor, along Del Obispo and Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, 949.496.6172. Map K17

Huntington City Beach

Wide, sandy beach; amenities include fire pits. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Beach Boulevard and Main Street, Huntington Beach, 714.536.5281. Map N9

Huntington State Beach

Expansive, sandy beach; amenities include fire pits. Bolsa Chica Wetlands are across the highway. Fee for parking. Along Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Ana River and Main Street, Huntington Beach, 714.536.1454. Map N10

Little Corona del Mar Beach

Steep paved path to picturesque cove; tide pools filled with anemones, starfish and crabs are great for kids. Good for snorkeling—and family photos. Free street parking. Ocean Boulevard and Poppy Avenue, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3151. Map M16

Main Beach

Large beach close to Laguna Village shops and restaurants offers great people-watching, basketball courts, volleyball and chess. All amenities. Metered parking. At Broadway and Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 714.834.2400. Map F5

Newport Beach Municipal Beach

Popular golden strand with many facilities, fine surf spots. All amenities, including fire pits. Metered parking. Along Oceanfront at Newport Pier, Newport Beach, 949.673.3371. Map N13

Newport Dunes Resort

Beach at RV park on the Back Bay has full-time lifeguards, giant inflatable in-water novelties (e.g., teeter-totter, climbing apparatus) and various water vessels for rent. Segway tours. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.729.DUNE. Map M14

Picnic Beach

Known for picnics and panoramas. Lifeguard and, picnic tables. Metered parking. Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.494.6573. Map H15

Pirates Cove

Secluded beach with harbor views; few to no waves make it perfect for little ones. Bouldering spot for local climbers. Paid parking at Corona del Mar State Beach; free street parking. At Ocean Boulevard and Harbor Channel, Corona del Mar, 949.644.3309. Map F6

Poche Beach

Small sandy surfing beach. Free street parking. Camino Capistrano at Pacific Coast Highway, San Clemente, 949.361.8261. Map J17

Rockpile Beach

Rocky surfing beach. Metered parking. At Myrtle Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.494.6573. Map H15

Salt Creek County Beach

Long pristine stretch at the base of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Beautiful, grassy Bluff Park with basketball court. All amenities. Pay and display parking $1/hour. Off Ritz-Carlton Drive, 33333 S. Coast Hwy., Dana Point, 949.923.2280. Map J16

San Clemente City Beach

Historic 1,200-foot pier (1920s), wide beach, good surf. All amenities. Metered parking. The train goes right by the beach. 620 Avenida del Mar, San Clemente, 949.361.8219. Map K17

San Clemente State Beach

Popular mile-long beach below sandstone bluffs offers all amenities, a nature trail and butterfly trail. Fee for parking. 225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, 949.492.3156. Map K17

Seal Beach

Popular surfing beach has a lifeguard and showers. Metered parking. Main Street and Seal Beach Pier, Seal Beach, 562.430.2613. Map C1

Shaw’s Cove

Picturesque cove has tide pools; popular diving destination. Metered parking. At Fairview Street and Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach Map H15

Thousand Steps Beach

Two-hundred-something concrete steps lead to a small beach at the base of a cliff. Lifeguard. Free street parking. At 9th Avenue and South Coast Highway, South Laguna, 714.834.240.0 Map I16

Victoria Beach

Laguna’s prettiest beach has tower fit for Rapunzel and man-made, high-tide swimming pool circa 1920. Metered parking. Victoria Street off Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 714.834.2400. Map H15

The Wedge

One of the world’s most famous bodysurfing and bodyboarding spots. The break is dangerous; watch unless you’re an expert. Free parking lot. West Jetty View Park, tip of Balboa Peninsula, end of Channel Road, Newport Beach, 949.644.3309. Map N16

West Street Beach

Small cove beach; volleyball courts, bodyboarding. Metered parking. West Street and South Coast Highway, South Laguna, 714.834.2400. Map I16

Regional Parks

Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Wild and rugged canyon terrain good for hiking and horseback riding. 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, 714.973.3160. Map A4

Clark Regional Park

Ideal for picknicking, fishing and tennis. Interpretive center houses fossils of prehistoric plants and animals that once inhabited the area. 8800 Rosecrans Ave., Buena Park, 714.973.3170. Map A3

Craig Regional Park

A 150-acre haven with a lake seemingly isolated from the outside world. 3300 State College Blvd., Fullerton, 714.973.3180. Map A3

Irvine Regional Park

On land donated by James Irvine in 1897, California’s oldest regional park houses the Orange County Zoo and Irvine Park Railroad. Setting features old-growth oak and sycamore trees. Families have picnicked at the park for more than 100 years. 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, 714.973.6835. Map B5

Laguna Niguel Regional Park

Wide selection of outdoor activities, including tennis, volleyball, jogging and bicycling in well-landscaped setting. There’s fishing on 44-acre lake. 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, 949.923.2240. Map F6

Mason Regional Park

Large grassy areas, picnic shelters, hundreds of acres of protected land with three miles of paved trails for hikers and bikers. 18712 University Drive, Irvine, 949.923.2220. Map D4

Mile Square Regional Park

Reservable sports fields, walking and biking paths and fishing on two lakes. 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, 714.973.6600. Map B1

O’Neill Regional Park

Expansive 3,300-acre park offers a unique spot for both day use and camping. Includes the Arroyo Trabuco area, 935 acres of relatively pristine land maintained as a wilderness preserve. 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, 949.923.2256. Map east of D6

oc-great-parkOrange County Great Park

In-progress park is bigger than New York’s Central Park. Tethered-balloon ride. Farmers market, Su 10 am-2 pm. Interstate 5, Sand Canyon Avenue and Irvine Boulevard. Great Park Balloon and Preview Park, Perimeter Road, Irvine, 866.829.3829. Map D5

Orange County Zoo

Nestled among oaks in the century-old Irvine Regional Park. Specializes in animals and plants from the Southwest. The zoo provides a permanent home to many animals that are not releasable to the wild. 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, 714.973.6847. Map B5

Peters Canyon Regional Park

Blend of native vegetation and scenic trails. Lush groves of willows and black cottonwoods intertwine with a rambling creek and encase a 50-acre lake. Variety of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. 8548 E. Canyon View Ave., Orange, 714.973.6611. Map B5

Santiago Oaks Regional Park

Secluded 1,750-acre refuge has a variety of trails, native oak trees and a historic dam. Nature Center open on weekends. Garden area is a popular location for small, weekend weddings. 2145 N. Windes Drive, Orange, 714.973.6620. Map B4

Wieder Regional Park

Overlooks Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Offers equestrian trails, hiking trails, picnic areas and playgrounds. 19251 Seapoint Ave., Huntington Beach, 949.923.2290. Map D2

Yorba Regional Park

Recreational facilities support parties and social gatherings, softball games and bike riding. 7600 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 714.973.6615. Map A5

Wilderness Parks

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

3,350-acre park is home to world-class mountain biking terrain. 28373 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel, 949.923.2200. Map H16

Caspers Wilderness Park

8,000-acres for day use and camping. Nature center; interpretive programs. 33401 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.923.2210. Map east of F6

Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy

1,200-acre reserve; public access during special events. Call for schedule. Rancho Mission Viejo, 28672 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.489.9778. Map east of F6

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Sycamore-shaded canyons and high ridges offering ocean views are spectacular hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Nature center serves as a gateway to 7,000-acre natural habitat. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.923.2235. Map G15

Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

5,000 acres of forested canyons, rock formations, grassy rolling hills, streams and trails. Interpretive center features and natural history exhibits. Accessible through docent-led hikes, bike rides, equestrian tours. Portola Parkway and Market Place, Foothill Ranch, 949.923.2245. Map east of D6

Modjeska Canyon Nature Preserve

At the base of the Santa Ana Mountains and bordered by Cleveland National Forest on three sides. Protected natural area and treasure for naturalists. Accessible only by ranger-led tours with advance reservations. 949.923.2245. Map east of D6

Riley Wilderness Park

Oak groves, grasslands and deer. Native plant garden attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. 30952 Oso Parkway, Coto DeCaza, 949.923.2265. Map east of E6

Talbert Nature Preserve

A variety of hiking and interpretive trails situated within an “ecological staircase” of a salt marsh, freshwater wetlands, grasslands and woodlands. 1298 Victoria Ave. at Santa Ana River, Costa Mesa, 949.923.2290. Map M11

Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

At Newport Back Bay with vistas of the coastal wetlands. One of the finest birding sites in North America; several endangered species make this home. Interpretive center is open Tu-Su, 10 am-4 pm. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, 949.923.2290. Map K13

Historical Parks

Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens

Home of the world-renowned 19th-century actress Madame Helena Modjeska. National historic landmark named for its resemblance to the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Visits by appointment through Heritage Hill Historical Park. 29042 Modjeska Canyon Road, Modjeska Canyon, 949.923.2230. Map east of D6

George Key Ranch Historic Park

Beautiful grounds hold a botanical garden and citrus grove. 1898 building offers visitors a view of life in the early days of Orange County citrus farming. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 625 W. Bastanchury Road, Placentia, 714.973.3190. Map A4

Heritage Hill Historic Park

Park preserves Orange County’s cultural heritage through four historic buildings representing distinct eras in the area’s development. 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, 949.923.2230. Map D6

Irvine Ranch Historic Park

Once the heart of the Irvine agricultural empire, the park preserves the ranch operations headquarters, as well as the site of the original Irvine family home. Houses the O.C. Parks headquarters and a library branch. 13042 Old Myford Road, Irvine, 714.973.6609. Map C5

Old Orange County Courthouse

A witness to the local governmental transactions and court proceedings that shaped the early history of Orange County. Completely restored in 1989 and currently houses historical exhibits, archives, special events and a marriage license office. 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, 714.973.6605. Map H13

Peralta Adobe Historic Site

One of the last remaining structures of the Peralta settlement in Santa Ana Canyon, home to pioneering families in the 1800s. Visits by reservation through George Key Ranch (listing above). 6398 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim, 714.973.3190. Map A4

Yorba Cemetery

Established in 1858. Final resting place for many of the region’s pioneers. Visits by reservation through George Key Ranch historic Ranch, 714.973.3190. 6749 Parkwood Court, Yorba Linda Map 5A

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