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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 | 3 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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Fall Fun at Valley Oak Park in Irvine

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Featured, Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

  While on our way to the dentist last month, we stumbled upon the perfect park for a fall fun playdate – Valley Oak Park in Irvine. The park offers a plethora of shade with trees that boast a wide variety of beautiful fall colors. Parking The park has a decent size parking lot that can fit around 20-30 cars. Play Structures There are two play structures at this park. The larger play structure has a lot of shade from the trees while the toddler play structure is in full sun. The surface underneath the structures is foam and sand. There is a nice swing set that also sits under beautiful trees making it comfortable for toddlers to swing all afternoon. Other features of the park include a tennis court and basketball court. There is a large shade covering...

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Tree House Park at Beacon Park in Irvine

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Featured, Irvine, Parks | 4 comments

  We owe the discovery of this park located in the new home community of Beacon Park all to you – our awesome readers. One of our readers advised us of this cool new park opening, and we couldn’t wait to see what all the excitement was about! When we arrived, my son was in park heaven. We named it Tree House Park because the park is all about the giant tree house complete with twisty tube slide and fort. The Giant Tree House It is the best part of the park. There is a tree house built right into a real tree – just like the good old days of when we were kids. There is a bridge that leads to a “fort” area where a group of moms was sitting at the small tables having lunch together...

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Citrus Ranch Park in Tustin

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Featured, Parks, Tustin | 0 comments

  While on our way home from the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch, we stopped to get an ice cream cone and to play at Citrus Ranch Park in Tustin. We had spotted the park from Jamboree Road while on our way home, and the kids screamed with delight when their eyes first saw the park. I turned the car around, and we got ready to enjoy a fun afternoon at this incredibly fun OC Park. The park is HUGE! There is a giant parking lot, and plenty of space for kids to play. There is a windy path surrounding the park that is perfect for families to bring their bikes, so don’t leave them at home. Not only is there a fun bike path, but also plenty of grassy area for kids to play ball or run around....

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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...

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9/11 Memorial in Laguna Beach

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Featured, Laguna Beach, Parks | 0 comments

  Hundreds of families walk past this beautiful sculpture on their way to the popular picnic beach or divers cove, but what many people don’t realize is that the beautiful piece of art is a 9/11 Monument. The 9/11 memorial “Semper Memento” or “Always Remember” was created by local Laguna Beach artist, Jorg Dubin in 2011. “Yes, the steel beams are from the World Trade Center ruins. I wanted the beams to look like they had been found in that position. When the beams arrived from New York, they were draped in an American Flag, and that flag is entombed in the cement base. The base is in the shape of the Pentagon, which has an obvious meaning. The center grass area represents the field in Shanksville, PA, and the soil is from there too. I wanted all three...

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Patriotic Parks and Trails in Orange County

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Parks | 0 comments

  Everyday is the perfect time to bring your children to one of these patriotic parks or hike along a patriot trail in Orange County. Visiting these small parks or memorials is a great way to open discussions with your children about 911, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Stay tuned as we will be adding more parks to this list throughout the year. Veterans Memorial Park in Dana Point This small memorial is located right by the Strands Beach parking lot in Dana Point. There is a plaque with all the names of the fallen members of our military who lived in Dana Point. I recommend bringing a small flag or some flowers to leave when visiting with your children. Patriot Trail in San Juan Capistrano This is a beautiful hike that offers families panoramic views of Orange County....

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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...

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Brywood Park in Irvine

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Featured, Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

  Brywood Park is one of my favorite parks in Irvine. While it is not known to many of those who live outside of the Irvine community, it has almost everything that parents look for when planning a family day at a local park. The park is right next to a local school, so it is frequented by families for after school playdates. But, during the weekends/summer afternoons…it is a ghost town – we were the only people at the park for the afternoon. The park has plenty of parking in the school parking lot (weekends only). It also has lots of shade for keeping kids cool on warm afternoons. The best feature is the covered party area. There are built-in barbecues and picnic tables under the covered gazebo. If you’re looking for a more private park party area,...

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Northwood Community Park “Castle Park” in Irvine

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Featured, Irvine, Parks | 0 comments

  Northwood Park aka. Castle Park in Irvine has been around since I was a kid, and it is still one of my all-time favorite parks to visit in Irvine. The park is massive, offering plenty of ultimate fun for every family who visits. They call it “Castle Park” because the design of the park looks just like a castle. Inside of the castle walls are multiple play structures for every age of child. My kids could spend forever playing at this park and never get board. There are slides, climbing walls, and swings galore. My favorite part are the clean bathrooms available inside of the community center, and the ample amount of parking. The park does have shade coverings and trees, however, it does get very hot, very fast. I recommend bringing your kids with extra sunscreen and...

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Crown Valley Community Park Splash Pad

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Featured, Laguna Niguel, Parks | 1 comment

  Laguna Niguel has gotten a little cooler this summer with the newest addition of their splash pad at the Crown Valley Community Park. We couldn’t wait to check out all the fun happening at this newly refurbished park so the first day we got home from our road trip, we headed over to the park for some summer fun. The new splash pad is even more fun than we expected with tons of water features for the kids to splash and play. The splash pad area is very small and limited to 60 kids at a time, but it does have a lifeguard to help monitor the kids. The only downside to the splash pad is the shade – it gets HOT very quick. I recommend parents bringing an umbrella to keep cool while the kids play. Since...

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Rimgate Park in Lake Forest

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Lake Forest, Parks | 0 comments

  The one thing that we notice about the parks in Lake Forest is the large open space surrounding all their playgrounds. The city put a lot of thought into the locations of their parks allowing children lots of open space to run and play around after enjoying time on their different play structures. When my children first visited Rimgate Park in Lake Forest they were overwhelmed by the amount of grass and long twisty paths to ride their bikes. Rimgate Park has a nice tennis court, basketball court, large play structure and two tot lots. There are multiple exercise machines throughout the park, and one covered patio (must reserve with the city for a party). The only downside to this park is that the sand area was not as clean as we would have hoped in the two...

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Wilderness Themed Tamarisk Park in Lake Forest

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Lake Forest, Parks | 0 comments

  Tamarisk Park in Lake Forest recently underwent a major renovation leaving a fun wilderness theme park for families to enjoy. The park is tucked away in the Lake Forest community and backs a beautiful nature trail. When we were on our way to Tamarisk Park, we made a quick stop at Peachwood Park before continuing our way up the road. When we arrived, we parked on the side of the main road and took the twisty staircase down to what would become our new favorite park in the area. It was clean, brand-new, and we seemed to have the entire park to ourselves (on a weekend too!) The park features a large parking lot (and plenty of street parking), a large field, baseball field and the playground. The playground is a fun wilderness theme complete with mushroom stairs,...

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Pavion Park in Mission Viejo

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Mission Viejo, Parks | 0 comments

  I had been hearing a lot of buzz over this local park in Mission Viejo. My husband and I decided to check it out with our toddler. When we pulled up there was plenty of street parking and it was shaded by the trees along the street. We got out of the car and from the minute we set foot on the playground my toddler was in heaven! The colorful cushioned rubber ground was really nice. It was decorated in a floral motif and had vivid colors all around. I liked this because sand is usually very messy and gets all over the place. If your child loves sand, have no fear they incorporated a little sand area with some fun sand scoopers built right in. There is so much to see at this park. One of the...

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