Here are a few of the best regional parks Orange County has to offer. Orange County regional parks are great places for family gatherings and weekend adventures. In addition to the standard play areas and picnic tables, Orange County parks offer amenities like fishing lakes, fields for sports, camp sites, and hiking trails.
Mile Square Regional Park: 16801 Euclid Street, Fountain Valley
Mile Square Park is a busy park. Weekends are packed with family and friends picnicking, playing games, and enjoying the playgrounds. The park is a sports lovers dream with three golf courses, and fields for soccer, baseball, and softball. There is an archery range and two lakes for fishing. An annual kids fishing derby is held here every year in March. There is a paved walking path with exercise stations located throughout the park. Mile Square also has a large nature area that is occasionally open to the public. This is a nice area to explore with little ones but beware, as coyotes have been spotted here at times. Many community events are held here including day camps, concerts in the park, and archery classes. Keep an eye on the large lake located near Edinger. There are two small islands in this lake and many seabird and duck species make their home in Mile Square Park. Some of the species are quite unique.
Ralph B. Clark Regional Park: 8800 Rosecrans Avenue, Buena Park
Ralph B. Clark Regional Park is located in Buena Park at Beach Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue. There is plenty of open, grassy space here to spread out, but there are also several unique features to this location. There are paved paths throughout the park for walking and biking, and there is a dirt hiking trail around the perimeter of the park for walking that extends up into the sandstone bluffs above the park. There is a stocked three acre lake for fishing, four tennis courts, and a sports complex for softball and baseball. The most unique element of this park is the Interpretive Center which houses a small paleontology museum. Visitors can view fossils from prehistoric creatures like early mammals and marine life that inhabited the Orange County area. Fossils on display include giant ground sloths, whales, ring-tailed cats, and a unique ancient llama. Keep an eye on the calendar for fun annual event held here.
Mason Regional Park: 18712 University Drive, Irvine
Mason Regional Park has a lot to offer for locals. The 9-acre lake is a popular spot for model boat sailing. The Orange County Model Sailing Club uses Mason Regional for their weekly club meetings as well as other large club events. There is no fishing in the lake here. There are paved trails throughout the park for walking or riding with a physical fitness course along the path. There is an additional 123-acre nature area that is now open for exploration where you might spot rabbits, lizards, roadrunners, and quail. If you need space for a large event, Mason has an outdoor group area that can accommodate up to 500 people. There are several playgrounds here with three separate tot lots and there are several unique features on the play structures at Mason.
Laguna Niguel Regional Park: 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel
Laguna Niguel Regional park is most well know for the fishing. The 44-acre lake is stocked with bass, catfish, and trout (winter months only). The other unique feature to Laguna Niguel Regional Park is Kite Hill, an open space area that is perfect for remote control gliders. Hiking trails follow the lake shore and travel into the park, where additional paved and unpaved paths are available for walking. There are two playgrounds, a bike trail through the park, two volleyball courts with sand, and four lighted tennis courts. Group picnic areas are available for up to 250 people.
Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park: 19251 Seapoint Avenue, Huntington Beach
This is the only free regional park in the OC Parks collection. The website calls this area the first phase of the park. There are plans to extend the park to include trails that connect Wieder Regional Park to Huntington Beach Central Park. However, the park has shown no sign of new development for many years. As is, Wieder Park is a popular spot for playdates thanks to the unique play equipment. With the majority of Huntington Beach featuring the same type of playground at every park and school, Wieder’s plastic, climbable slide structures, spinners, and rope structures are a super fun alternative. There’s also a large grass area, a small trail lining the fence for kids to explore, and clean restrooms. The only downfall to this park is that there is only room for 24 cars to park and it fills up quick during peak play time and on weekends.