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Things To Do In Aliso Viejo

Aliso Viejo is a city in Orange County, which was incorporated in 2001, making it the only city in the county incorporated since 2000. Aliso Viejo comes from the Spanish phrase, old sycamore.

The city is a planned community and the first of its kind to accommodate a large workforce during the 1980s. Aliso Viejo is a quaint town with a population of a little over 47,800 where amenities are boundless and open spaces are aplenty. Aliso Viejo has been voted one of the Top 25 Towns to Live by Forbes. The benefit of a city wide association allows Aliso Viejo to offer numerous community services.

This quiet, picturesque town is much more than suburbia in Orange County. Aliso Viejo offers golf courses and universities, shopping centers and community services, hikes and the great outdoors. Aliso Viejo is the newest Orange County town so their history doesn’t span past the millennium and their downtown doesn’t have history dating past when their residents were alive. But one thing is for certain, Aliso Viejo is a great town to enjoy the quintessential Orange County day in nature.

What To Explore In Aliso Viejo

Aliso And Woods Canyons Wilderness Park

28373 Alicia Parkway, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

Sitting on 4,500 acres of wide open space is Aliso and Woods Canyons Wilderness Park. This park is home to mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees and two streams that grace hikers with its beauty year round. With over 30 miles of trails, this wildlife sanctuary is a great place for mountain bikers, both local and from across the county. Trails vary from beginner to the most rigid and challenging. Wildlife spotted here include bobcats, road runners, and we’ve seen a few deer here oursleves! 

Car Wreck Trail is a tough up-hill trail that features the wreckage of a 1946 Dodge Coupe situated on the hillside. This approximately 4-mile hike is popular for it’s quirky landmarks and an uphill that is sure to get even the most athletic hiker’s heart rates up. To get to this trail, we park at Alta Laguna Park, 3299 Alta Laguna Blvd, Laguna Beach. Note that there is no fee to park at Alta Laguna Park.

Dripping Cave (AKA Robber’s Cave) is another popular trail here, and one of our favorites. The 4 to 5 mile round trip hike is relatively flat, making it a good adventure for all skill levels. The cave itself is a fun landmark to visit, and you’re likely to see deer or coyote along the hillside. Park in the lot located at 28373 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel for the hike to Dripping Cave.

Aliso and Woods Canyons Wilderness Park has large parking lots. Parking costs $3 daily and is open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Amenities include restrooms as well. This hiking and biking spot is a must see when in Aliso Viejo. Purchase an annual parks pass to get unlimited parking at all OC Parks properties.

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Aliso Viejo Ranch

100 Park Ave., Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

The city voted in 2019 to approve the preservation of the remaining acreage of the 22,000 acre Moulton Ranch. The project includes restoration and preservation of existing structures, farm tools, and machinery. Aliso Viejo Ranch will preserve and tell the story of Orange County’s agricultural history and the early development of Southern California. The facility, when completed, will provide educational programming, and food sources raised on the grounds of the working ranch will be harvested and donated to local food banks. It also serves as a venue for special events and weddings.

Aliso Viejo Golf Course

33 Santa Barbara Dr., Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

In a city where everything was meticulously planned, state of the art locations such as a golf course are well manicured. Being only one of two Nicklaus Design golf courses in Orange County, this site holds up to its name with some of the best views in the county. Jack Nicklaus, the professional golfer, designed the golf course after where he would want to golf. The Country Club offers four different leagues depending on skill level including Men’s Golf Association, Women’s Golf Association, Couples’ Golf Association, and Junior Golf which offers complimentary golf clinics, lessons, and golf camps. Tournaments are a great way to challenge one’s skills and win stellar prizes. 

The Aliso Viejo Country Club offers numerous amenities and activities for all including, dinner orchestrated by the executive chef, special event venues, and fitness facilities including the massive 1600-square-foot gym that features free weights, machines, and open areas for stretching. If you are sticking around Aliso Viejo for awhile, make sure to check out the Country Club even if you are not a golfer – it won’t disappoint!

Soka University

1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

Sitting on 103 acres in Aliso Viejo is a non-profit liberal arts college. The grounds of this college are beautiful and the education at Soka is incredibly desirable. Soka means to create value in Japanese. To many, this symbolizes that attending this university adds value to students. The campus was first built in 2001, right around when Aliso Viejo became incorporated. Outdoor areas are open from dawn to dusk everyday for the public to enjoy. The campus also offers venue rentals for special events including weddings for a fee.

Family Fun in Aliso Viejo Community Services

Aliso Viejo Community Association features 600 acres of land and 21 parks making it a wonderful place to explore the great outdoors and enjoy the perfect Southern California weather all year round. The city offers a dog park, basketball courts, picnic tables and tennis courts for all to enjoy. Baseball and softball, soccer and Fit4Mom classes. Premier Aquatic Services offers numerous year-round private and group swim lessons, while lifeguard training, Parent and Me classes, Water Polo, Swim Team, and Jr. Guard Prep are available through the Aliso Viejo Aquatic Center. While swimming and being poolside is traditionally a summertime activity, all of these classes are offered year round. The AVCA traditionally hosts numerous community events and activities throughout the year including music and movies in the park and holiday celebrations.

The best shopping & destinations in Aliso Viejo are:

  • Aliso Viejo Town Center
  • Commons At Aliso Viejo
  • Aliso Viejo Plaza

Aliso Viejo has a lot to offer and enjoy year round for locals and tourists alike.

Best Hiking & Mountain Biking Trails In Orange County
Orange County Country Clubs
Orange County Golf Courses

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Rebecca Radtke
Rebecca has an undeniable love of writing and graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. She enjoys watching hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and working out.