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Things to do in Orange County for OC Moms

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Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Posted by on May 30, 2019 in Hiking Trails, Santa Rosa, Travel | 1 comment

When planning family vacations, I always include a hike in our itinerary. When planning our trip to visit Santa Rosa, there were so many hiking options, but I knew that I wanted to take a hike in the redwoods. After wine tasting at the Korbel Winery, we made the short drive to the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. We parked the car and unpacked the picnic lunch that we had picked up at the Korbel Winery deli. We sat under the giant redwood trees and had a delicious lunch together. One of the favorite things about the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is that it is not crowded like other places where families can see redwoods. It was so calm, peaceful, and we could hear the little scratches from a squirrel climbing up one of the trees. The perfect...

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Heart Rock Waterfall Hike in Crestline

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in Autos, Featured, General Motors, Hiking Trails, Lake Arrowhead, Travel | 0 comments

One of my favorite things about staying in Lake Arrowhead is all the beautiful hiking trails in the area. While on a recent getaway to the Lake Arrowhead Resort, we did the heart rock waterfall hike in Crestline. The hike is just a short drive away from the Lake Arrowhead Resort, and perfect for families with young children. My daughter and I got into our Buick Regal GS and headed down the mountain to the start of the trail. Finding the Trail in Crestline Finding the trail was a little challenging. The GPS took us to the side of the road, and we were not 100% sure if that was the location of the trail. To find the trail, you’ll want to put Camp Seely into your navigation. At the entrance to the camp, you’ll see a small sign...

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Hike to Heart Rock

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Joshua Tree, Kia, Travel | 4 comments

When planning a mother and daughter trip to Joshua Tree, one of my friends mentioned to me that we needed to hike to heart rock. Unfortunately, there is barely anything written online about how to find the mysterious heart rock, so we set off on an adventure to find heart rock. There were only a few things that we knew about heart rock before going on a hike, and that was that it is located in the White Tank Campground along the Arch Rock Nature Trail. Before checking into our campsite, we drove in our Kia Sorento to Arch Rock Nature Trail in an attempt to find heart rock. The trail is only .5 miles, but we seemed to hike for at least a couple of miles. We hiked all over the area until the sun began to set,...

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Aliso Summit Fairy Hiking Trail

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Aliso Viejo, Cool Places, Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 11 comments

CLOSED AS OF AUGUST 14TH “Fairy Lily’s broken wing has now completely healed and Queen Lily and the other fairies that have been living along the Aliso Summit Trail have headed back to their homes in Ireland. All the fairies are very sad to leave their beautiful homes here in Orange County, but wanted everyone to know that they will fondly remember the very special time they had living here. They will cherish the friendships, the trinkets/rocks/gifts, as well as the hand written notes and drawings from all their human friends who have visited them. For those of you that missed visiting the fairies, Fairy Lily wants to remind you that you can always build your own fairy home in your home or yard, so that the fairies will be able to visit and surround you with unlimited possibilities,...

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Best Places to See Wildflowers in Orange County

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 in Best of OC, Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 8 comments

I love wildflowers more than anything. When there was that big super bloom in Death Valley, I drove the family all they way to Death Valley just to look at wildflowers. Searching for wildflowers is a fun family activity that brings families together in nature. Last week, I had an opportunity to go searching for wildflowers in Limestone Canyon – one of the most beautiful nature hikes in Orange County and got a chance to see some beautiful flowers. Do you want to take your children to see wildflowers? These are some of the best places to go searching for wildflowers in Orange County. Limestone Canyon This hiking trail is only open on public access days, and when it is open, it’s a must to see. Not only will you have an opportunity to see wildlife, wildflowers and beautiful...

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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. I...

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OC Waterfall Hikes

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Cool Places, Family, Hiking Trails | 2 comments

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 one of the biggest falls 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...

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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 hike...

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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 | 2 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 path...

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Art Meets Nature at Oso Creek Trail

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 2 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 leave...

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Hidden Orange County Waterfall Hike – Falls Canyon Falls

Posted by on Jan 23, 2016 in Cool Places, Hiking Trails | 10 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 coming...

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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, I...

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The Wildlands Conservancy at the Oak Glen Preserve

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Nature Centers, Parks | 0 comments

The one thing that I was not expecting to do when apple picking with my kids in Oak Glen was to find one of the best nature preserves in Southern California. The Wildlands Conservancy at the Oak Glen Preserve is located right on the Los Rios Ranchos property, and our family could have spent the entire day exploring the vast amount of trails. We noticed the preserve while picking apples at Riley’s Los Rios Rancho, and walked over to see what it was all about before leaving for lunch. There was a docent at the opening of the preserve who talked to us about their mission, gave our kids a learning guide, and helped us to pick a trail that would fit into our schedule for the day. As we started to walk along the trail, there was a...

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Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Posted by on Sep 6, 2015 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 5 comments

Have a dog? Wondering where are the best places to take your best friend for a nature walk in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park? While this park is massive spanning 45,000 acres stretching from Laguna Beach all the way to Aliso Viejo, there are multiple pet-friendly trails for families to take their furry little pet along with them on an afternoon hike. West Ridge Trail Easy – 2 Miles The West Ridge Trail start at the corner of Canyon Vistas and Pacific Park in Aliso Viejo. It can also be accessed from Alta Laguna Blvd. in Laguna Beach. Aliso Creek Bike Trail Easy – 3 Miles This trail is accessable from the Laguna Niguel Regional Park off Alicia Parkway in-between Pacific Park and Aliso Creek Road. Aliso Peak Trail Easy – .5 Miles This easy trail can...

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Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Dana Point, Hiking Trails, Nature Centers, Parks | 0 comments

I love visiting nature center with my kids, and the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center is one of our favorites. We will often visit here during the peak of whale watching season seeing the whales from our binoculars from the Dana Point cliffs. The nature center is located at 34558 Scenic Drive in Dana Point. The center is FREE to visit with your family, and I would allow at least a couple of hours to spend at this center. When your family first arrives, there is plenty of parking in the parking lot or on the neighboring streets. Inside of the nature center are docents that love *love* children! They will spend hours talking to your children about the wildlife and plants if your family has the time. There are interactive exhibits, books and dioramas throughout the center that...

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Hilltop Park in Dana Point

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Dana Point, Hiking Trails, Parks | 1 comment

Looking for the perfect place to hike with your kids in Orange County? Our new favorite destination is Hilltop Park in Dana Point. The kids get a good workout, and they are close to nature while seeing killer views. The access to Hilltop Park in Dana Point is just a few feet away from PCH on Green Lantern Street. When your family first turns onto Green Lantern off of PCH you’ll see the entrance to the park marked by a large set of stairs. Once your family finds parking along Green Lantern, begin your journey up the giant set of stairs (this is a workout). At the top of the stairs is a series of trails that your family can explore. There are a lot of rare plants and animals along this trail, so it is recommended to stay...

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Hike to Patriot Trail in San Juan Capistrano

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Hiking Trails, Parks, San Juan Capistrano | 2 comments

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and a great time to talk to our children about the meaning of the holiday. It can be hard for children to understand war and freedom depending on their age. Taking them for a walk along Patriot trail to the 9/11 memorial can make it easier. About Patriot Trail Yesterday, we took our kid to San Juan Capistrano to walk Patriot Trail. While we were walking along the hiking trail, it gave us a chance to talk to our children about the meaning of the holiday. Plus, we were at peace by the surrounding panoramic views of Orange County. What to Expect The kids took their time along the trail to ask us questions that they might have. Also, we made many stops to admire all the beautiful flowers and butterflies. At the end of the trail,...

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Tips for Helping Your Kids Connect with Nature

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Family, Hiking Trails, Nature Centers, Parenting | 0 comments

You remember those days after school. Arriving home, you’d throw your backpack down, grab a snack, and beeline to play outside. We rarely watched television, or even played a video game. For the most part, we were outside in the fresh air and sunshine. For many kids, those days are long gone. With an overload of enrichment activities and screen time crowding the space of free play for children, it’s becoming more important than ever to set aside time for the outdoors. According to Hallie Jones, executive director, Laguna Canyon Foundation, “Spending time in nature is such an important part of childhood. Being in the wilderness gives kids the chance to be free, and creative, and it teaches them a deep respect for the natural world. Those are gifts that stay with kids their whole lives.” So how can...

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Exploring our own backyard and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Modjeska Canyon, Nature Centers, Parks | 1 comment

My husband and I have always loved taking drives and exploring areas near and not so near us. With gas now so expensive, we are not driving as far or as often. We explore the wonderful canyons we have right in our backyard. We frequent Santiago, Silverado, Modjeska, and Black Star Canyons. There are so many hikes, trails and hidden gems in the canyon. It is the perfect way to expose your kids to nature, wildlife and the beauty just outside of our concrete jungle. Today we took the boys our to Modjeska Canyon and went to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in the beautiful Modjeska Canyon. The facility offers visitors, students and tourists a rural natural setting less than 10 miles from the hustle and bustle of Orange County. There is a Natural Science Center which offers wonderful educational...

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Real Life Treasure Hunting with Geotagging

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in Family, Featured, Hiking Trails, Parenting, Parks, Tech, Toys | 0 comments

Geotagging. What is that? Geotagging = Real life treasure hunting! I have heard of Geotagging, but never truly understood what is was. A friend of mine who knows how much I love exploring nature with my children told me that my kids were just the right age to start, and I should give it a try. I didn’t know where to start, so I started asking about it on Facebook. I quickly learned that all I needed was my phone, GPS device, pencil and some small swag. I ordered a Geomate Geotagging GPS device, and it just happened to be delivered right before the one weekend that we got rain here in Orange County. I didn’t let a little rain stop us from going on our first real life treasure hunt. Once there was a break in the storm,...

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Orange County Hidden Gem The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

Do your kids love animals? Do they enjoy spending time in the great outdoors? Then they are going to love visiting the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. Last weekend, we visited the sanctuary for the first time with the kids, and it is now one of our favorite places to go visit. Where is it located? It is located at 5 Riparian View in Irvine. The GPS will try to have you access of Michelson, but you can now only access the entrance off of Campus Drive in Irvine. When you first arrive, you’ll find yourself driving down a small hidden road. At the end of the road are two large parking lots and some adorable buildings. After parking, enter the Audubon House where a volunteer will help show your family where to go. (They will even loan...

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Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon

Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Parks | 0 comments

Is your family ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Then the Holy Jim Trail in Trabuco Canyon is just what you were looking for. Located in the hidden hills of the canyon is a trail that your family will create unforgettable memories together while hiking along the lush green path. The best part of this trail is that there is a beautiful waterfall waiting for your family at the end of the trail! Where is it located? This can be a bit tricky. I’ll admit that even though we have been here multiple times that we still often drive right past it. Here are the directions provided by the State of California: Head east on Chapman Ave towards the foothills. This turns into Santiago Canyon Rd (S18). Turn left at Live Oak Canyon Rd. At Trabuco Canyon turn...

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Family Hiking at Laurel Canyon Trail in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Nov 16, 2013 in Hiking Trails, Laguna Beach, Parks | 4 comments

My family loves to be active. We cannot sit inside for too long without craving some adventure in the great outdoors. Last weekend, we took a short drive to explore the trails along Laurel Canyon Trail in Laguna Beach. With the weather cooling down in Orange County, this is the *perfect* time of the year to enjoy hiking with your family. Laurel Canyon Trail is a very family-friendly trail. It is located just a few short feet from the corner of Laguna Canyon Road and El Toro Road. If you are coming down the 133 (Laguna Canyon Road) toward the beach from the 405 or 5 freeway, it will be just a few short feet away on the right after passing the El Toro Road signal. Parking can be tricky when visiting the trails along Laguna Canyon Road. It...

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Barbara’s Lake: Orange County’s Only Natural Lake

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in Hiking Trails, Laguna Beach, Nature Centers, Parks | 2 comments

Fun and Unique thing to do with children in Laguna Beach It is hard to believe that Orange County only has one natural lake left in the whole County, but it does. Barbara’s Lake is located in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park just a short walk from the NIX Nature Center. Last weekend, our family visited the NIX Nature Center. Then we enjoyed walking along Mary’s Trail, before continuing the trail towards Barbara’s Lake. While walking towards the lake, my children got a unique opportunity to witness a thriving wildlife community. There was so much beauty for the kids to absorb along the secluded path. How do you get to Barbara’s Lake? Park in the NIX Nature Center Parking lot ($3 parking). Begin you adventure walking along Mary’s Trail. Then continue on the path as it becomes Little Sycamore...

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Mary’s Trail at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in Hiking Trails, Laguna Beach, Nature Centers, Parks | 3 comments

Yesterday, we shared details about our visit to the NIX Nature Center in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. After my kids were done learning all about the history of the land where they are growing up, we went right outside the doors for a short walk on Mary’s Trail. This trail is dedicated to Mary Fegraus, the founding executive director of Laguna Canyon Foundation. This trail is the best trail I have found so far for young children. It’s flat and smooth all the way around the trail. It is even level and wide enough for parents to bring along a stroller or wagon!! Before starting on the trail, the OC Park rangers gave the children a scavenger hunt to use while on the trail. Throughout the trail there were beautiful educational markers for children to learn about the...

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James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Featured, Hiking Trails, Laguna Beach, Nature Centers, Parks | 0 comments

Rain? What rain? It might have been raining yesterday, but that didn’t let that stop us from keeping our kids active yesterday. When we spotted the first break in the clouds, we headed to the James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. We thought this was a good place to visit because it offers indoor/outdoor educational fun for the kids. When we first arrived at the nature center, our children were greeted by some of the most energetic park rangers I have ever seen. They came right out from behind the desk and started talking with our children. They asked them many questions about the wildlife and plants that surround the modern nature center. The kids were able to do some bird watching from the on-site telescopes that are perfectly situated in the nature...

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