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Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in Carlsbad, Featured, Parks, Travel | 0 comments

  Whenever I visit a new place with my children, I always look for a place to take them hiking or exploring a historic place. While we were on a recent trip to Carlsbad, I added a stop to the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. The historic park is somewhere that I had always wanted to visit with my children, but didn’t seem to find the time to make our way down to Carlsbad to explore. We first went the park on a Monday to discover that they were closed, so I made arrangements for us to return the next day before heading back to Orange County. When we arrived at the ranch, we drove down a long driveway to the parking lot. We parked the car and began exploring the beautiful park. The first thing that my kids...

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Aliso Viejo Waterfall Hike

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Aliso Viejo, Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 0 comments

  There are two things that I love to explore with my children – sea caves and waterfalls. Last year, I shared some of my favorite places to discover waterfalls with your family. Some of them are harder to find than others, and while I was enjoying sharing my favorite waterfall discoveries, there was one that I could never seem to find – the Aliso Viejo waterfall…until now. My younger son recently started attending Journey School in Aliso Viejo at the beginning of this school year, and every week he talks to me about the nature hikes his teacher takes him on, with one being to the Aliso Viejo waterfall. I waited until after the big rain that we had last night to have him bring me to this magical place where he and his friends play every week....

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Climbing Fun at Sweet Shade Park in Irvine

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

  The weather is finally cooling down to be able to start bringing the kids back to the park. Our family has been spending a lot of time in Irvine this summer, and sweet shade park has become one of our favorite parks to visit for endless climbing fun. We have been to this park a couple of times this summer, and it is rarely busy. I’ve never seen more than one or two kids playing, so it’s time to spread the word. The park has a nice parking lot with plenty of parking for families. There are also bathrooms, drinking fountain, basketball courts, and plenty of grass for kids to run around. The part is the giant climber. My kids could spend the whole day climbing on the giant blue caterpillar shaped climber. It is clearly the highlight...

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OC Waterfall Hikes

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Cool Places, Family, Hiking Trails | 1 comment

  There are two things that I love in life – waterfalls and sea caves. There is nothing better than getting to splash water on your face from a waterfall after a summer hike. When planning a summer hike with your family, surprise them with a beautiful waterfall at the end of one of these OC waterfall hikes. Holy Jim Waterfall Hike This probably the most popular waterfall hike in Orange County. The hike provides plenty of shade along the way for younger children and isn’t too far to reach the waterfall. The only downside is that the waterfall is usually just a small trickle of water coming down the rocks. Getting to the start of the hike can be a challenge because the road is extremely bumpy but it is worth it. Falls Canyon Falls This waterfall was...

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Best Beach Parks in the OC

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Cool Places, Family, Featured, Parks | 0 comments

 Sponsored Orange County is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and parks in Southern California. During the summer, families are often spotted spending time with their children at one of the best beach parks in the OC. I teamed up with Expedia.com for its #SoCalSummer series to share some of the best beach parks in the OC. Bring along your beach gear and get ready to have an unforgettable summer day at one of these exclusive OC beach parks. Marina Park This park is often referred to by locals at Lighthouse Park because of the giant lighthouse slide in the center of the park. It is located right in the heart of Newport Beach on the Peninsula and is also the newest beach park built in Orange County. The park features plenty of grass for...

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Boysen Park is an Epic Airplane Park in Anaheim

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Anaheim, Featured, Parks | 0 comments

  My son loves planes. Ever since he was little, he has wanted to be a pilot in the Navy when he grows up. Whenever there is something related to aircraft, I love to share it with him and enjoy watching his excitement. When my kids had an early dismissal from school, I surprised him by taking him to an epic airplane park called Boysen Park in Anaheim. The minute that we arrived at the park, he screamed with excitement. The moment that I opened the car door, he ran right across the grass to start climbing on the giant air force jet. The airforce jet replica has a wing that serves as a ramp to climb onto the plane and also as a slightly bumpy slide. The entire time that we were at the park, kids were climbing...

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Arroyo Trabuco Wilderness Trail

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Biking Trails, Hiking Trails, Mission Viejo, Parks | 0 comments

  Since I have the morning carpool and drive a suburban full of boys to Mission Viejo every morning, I have been exploring more of the trails and parks in the area after drop-off. After a late wake-up, and being worried about one kid being away a camp, I wanted to go for a walk where is was calm, peaceful, and surrounded by nature, so I explored the Arroyo Trabuco Wilderness Trail. It is one of my favorite trails to explore right after a rain. There is always trickling water that your kids get to jump into to cool down while on the hike. The trail is located right next to the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Course. There is a small parking lot that holds about 5-6 cars, and then there is overflow parking available at the golf course. The...

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Jeffrey Stein Children’s Music Garden at Alta Vista Gardens

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Cool Places, Featured, Parks, San Diego, Travel | 0 comments

  The Jeffrey Stein Children’s Music Garden at Alta Vista Gardens is one of the most magical places on earth. While I was coming home from a mother/daughter getaway in San Diego, my daughter had mentioned that she read about this park online, and wanted to visit it. I was so excited that she was researching parks that she wanted to visit so we stopped while on our way home from San Diego. The minute that I stepped out of the car, I was in awe. It is a park that you’ll want to spend the entire day at with your children. Just like visiting Legoland or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, you’ll have enough to keep your kids occupied for an entire afternoon at the Alta Vista Gardens – so pack a lunch and get ready to...

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Wilderness Glen Park Nature Trail in Mission Viejo

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Biking Trails, Hiking Trails, Mission Viejo, Parks | 0 comments

  Mission Viejo has some of the most beautiful trails in Orange County. After spending an entire morning in meetings, I needed to relieve some stress before picking the kids up from school, so I went for a beautiful nature walk at the Wilderness Glen Park nature trail in Mission Viejo. I parked at the beginning of the trail at the corner of Los Alisos and Vista del Lago, where there is plenty of parking in the neighborhood. Once I got out of my car, I began my walk. It was like I stepped into another world while walking on this trail that is rich with nature while just being a short distance from houses and roads. Part of the trail was paved which quickly turned into a bark-covered path. There were so many twists and turns to the...

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Queen Califia’s Magical Circle ‘Beetlejuice Park’ in Escondido

Posted by on Jan 30, 2016 in Cool Places, Parks, San Diego | 0 comments

  After visiting Grape Day Park with the kids earlier this month, one of our readers mentioned that we need to visit Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park in Escondido. The park was just a short drive away from Grape Day Park and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and ever since we were told about it, we couldn’t wait to make a drive to Escondido to see it. The park looks like something right out of the movie “Beetlejuice”, and my kids immediately nicknamed Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, Beetlejuice Park. The morning that we planned to visit, unfortunately, the park was closed. My kids were slightly devastated, but they still got an opportunity to see the park through the cracks in the fence. It is only open on the second Saturday of the month from 10...

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Lighthouse Park in Newport Beach

Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 in Featured, Newport Beach, Parks | 1 comment

  One of the coolest new parks in Orange County also has one of the most epic ocean views right in the heart of the Peninsula in Newport Beach. Lighthouse Park (aka Marina Park) has one epic slide, sits right on the seaside and offers climbing galore. The minute that my kids spotted the park from the street, they were in awe. They could barely contain the excitement while found a parking spot. Parking for this park will be a challenge on the weekends (especially in the summer). There is a small parking lot, plenty of street parking, and a strip of parking spots along the water. I recommend bringing your bikes, finding parking further down the peninsula, and riding your bikes to the park on a busy summer afternoon. The park is unforgettable! There is a giant lighthouse...

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Art Meets Nature at Oso Creek Trail

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 0 comments

  It has been years since I have been on the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo. As part of my commitment to being healthier in the New Year, I have been spending more time walking along some of our popular OC trails. I left home a couple of hours before having to pick the kids up from school and was immersed in a world surrounded by art, waterfalls and nature galore. I parked in the parking lot of the Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, walked past Oso Viejo Community Park, and walked down the hill where I began the two-mile walk along Oso Creek Trail. I first stopped at the celebration garden where I admired the beautiful art sculptures. The garden path was constructed with recycled city sidewalks and was created by hundreds of volunteers to...

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Ultimate Fun at Pattinson Park in Huntington Beach

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Featured, Huntington Beach, Parks | 0 comments

  It is not just the beaches that are worth driving to Huntington Beach for, but also their great parks. The city has parks around every corner, and they are always clean and not too crowded like parks in surrounding cities. Over the weekend, we visited the kids grandparents in Huntington Beach and then spent the rest of the afternoon at Pattinson Park. The park was easy to find, and parking was a breeze. The only thing missing at this park is bathrooms, so make sure you stop at a local restaurant before or after visiting the park. The highlight of the park are, of course, the play structures. The park has one giant play structure with slides galore. Like always, my kids didn’t want to leave. There is also a smaller play structure for younger children, but it...

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Hidden Orange County Waterfall Hike – Falls Canyon Falls

Posted by on Jan 23, 2016 in Cool Places, Hiking Trails | 9 comments

  There are two things that I love in life. Sea caves and waterfalls. Over the summer, we shared many different places to discover hidden sea caves, and this winter we are excited to share different hidden waterfalls. I have always wanted to find the hidden waterfall in Orange County, Falls Canyon Falls, but was never successful at finding it until recently. I followed directions from many people online – and every set of directions that we had read took us to a dead end (especially the instructions on Yelp). I was so committed to finding it this year, that I hiked almost eight miles, got a severe case of poison oak, and discovered many hidden graves. Just when I thought we were not going to find it and was about to head home, I saw a little girl...

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Planes, Hiking and Adventure at Kite Hill in Laguna Niguel

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Laguna Niguel, Parks | 1 comment

  I know a super cool place where I can take the kids from time to time and escape life’s daily (understandable) pressures. The kind of pressures we all face like: the unending carpool lane at school, or the mind numbing time spent waiting on the phone for an answer from the insurance company while the kids are in a heated spat. Or the feeling the refrigerator is a bottomless pit and you need to return to the grocery store a third time that week after you work all day, only to have the kids inform you, “Mom, we are OUT of food again!” All of these so-called pressures are small when we compare it to the bigger picture of life: keeping a family together and giving them some “outdoor” exposure to our ever changing world. As a mother,...

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Epic Grape Day Park in Escondido

Posted by on Jan 2, 2016 in Featured, Parks, San Diego, Travel | 2 comments

  I love to explore new parks with my kids. I have had a visit to the Grape Day Park in Escondido on my bucket list for a couple of years and finally decided that this is the year to check it off my list. When we were planning a winter staycation to San Diego, our family got up a little bit earlier than we planned to have a detour to Grape Day Park on our way to San Diego. Well..the detour continued as we checked off some more items on my bucket list by also doing the mining tour in Julian. The park was pretty easy to find and is a perfect stop while on your way to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (it is not too far away). There is plenty of parking on the street,...

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Red Barn Park: Tierra Grande Park in San Clemente

Posted by on Jan 1, 2016 in Parks, San Clemente | 1 comment

  It is not very often that we venture as far south as San Clemente for park fun until the recent opening of the Outlets at San Clemente. With three kids, we cannot resist the great deals and shopping without the crowds of the major malls with the beautiful Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. With the new outlet center being our new favorite OC shopping destination, we have had some time to explore the local parks in San Clemente with the Red Barn Park (Tierra Grande Park) being our favorite discovery yet. The park has everything that families could want out of a park. There is a baseball field, basketball court, soccer field, bike path, picnic tables (covered), bathrooms, and plenty of parking. My kids were not in the mood for playing at the park last week, but I...

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University Community Park in Irvine

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

  While on our way to visit Adventure Playground in Irvine, we first played at the University Community Park playground. The park is large, clean and offers fun for children of all ages. Surrounding the playground are plenty of picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts and plenty of grass. The park features two different play structures. There is a larger structure for older children and a smaller structure for younger children. There is also a fun rock wall and a couple of fun features like spinning chairs, and our kids favorite – the triple slide. Overall, the park is a great place to bring your children to play. There is plenty of space surrounding the park making it ideal for birthday parties. Your kids can play with their balls without having to worry about them rolling into...

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Adventure Playground in Irvine

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in Featured, Irvine, Parks | 2 comments

  Adventure Playground has recently reopened in the city of Irvine and offers children an epic day of endless fun. From mud to water play, children will unleash their creativity at this fun Orange County park. Dress your kids in clothes that you don’t mind to get dirty, old shoes and get ready for some fun in the mud. Adventure Playground is located at the University Community Park at 1 Beech Tree Lane in Irvine. There is free parking, free admission, and we recommend bringing lunch because your kids are not going to want to leave. The Play Structure It is probably one of the best that we have seen in Orange County. There were a ton of kids at Adventure Playground when we were visiting, and our kids didn’t feel crowded at all. There are mesh tunnels, a...

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Adventure Play Park at Sendero Field

Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in Featured, Parks, San Juan Capistrano | 0 comments

  The new community of Rancho Mission Viejo, located off Ortega Hwy and Antonio, between the communities of Ladera Ranch and San Juan Capistrano, has sprung up quickly with lots to offer and even more construction on the way. One of the highlights of this new community is the Adventure Play Park located on Sendero Field. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this fun, new Orange County Park! Adventure Play Park is an eco-friendly, nature-inspired sanctuary where the kids can run and play on the vast open grass spaces, climb to their hearts content on the various play/climbing structures, and explore the rustic surroundings. Playground feature include, but are not limited to: Climbing logs, rocks and ropes Swings – three regular and one baby Tree house Log crawl tunnel “Imagination stations” Log balance beams Many slides, including...

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