Things to do in Orange County

The Best Parks in Orange County

Get outdoors and explore the best parks in Orange County.

California is graced with stunning weather year-round, thanks to its Mediterranean climate. No matter the season, people head to local parks to get some fresh air and exercise.

With so many things to do in Orange County, finding the perfect park for a relaxing afternoon can seem daunting. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. These are our favorite parks in the area.


While Anaheim is primarily known for its theme parks, it's also home to two of the best OC parks.

1. Yorba Regional Park

All 131 ac. of Yorba Regional Park encourage outdoor adventures in the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon. Designed for family and group activities, the park has more than 400 picnic tables to accommodate visitors.

Children adore the play areas. In the playground near Parking Lot B, kids can climb through a fish-shaped tunnel and brave several monkey bars. Near Parking Lot C, another playground brings toddler-sized fun with tunnels and twisty slides. Other play areas with extensive climbing equipment dare older children to challenge themselves.

If you don’t have your bike or a swan boat handy, head to Lot D to visit Wheel Fun Rentals. The swan boat rides are particularly popular, and the rental company has a Find & Seek Trivia Game to turn your gentle boating experience into an interactive game.

2. Pearson Park

Pearson Park was Anaheim’s first city park. It remains a local favorite. The park's playground equipment, sports fields, and amphitheater keep it bustling, especially on weekends.

On the Sycamore Street side, a duck pond attracts visitors. The ducks tend to be friendly and walk up to people, making for interesting photo opportunities. It also has a community swimming pool, where people take lessons on summer weekends. Make reservations with the local YMCA to save your spot.


Vast green spaces in Brea offer playground adventures and gentle hiking trails.

3. Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Step into Carbon Canyon Regional Park and discover the only redwood grove in Orange County. The park extends 3 acres and has a 1.1-mile nature trail winding throughout. Many of the hikes are suitable for younger children and families.

The park has five playgrounds, all situated relatively close to each other near the pond. Each is designed for different age ranges, preferences, and abilities, but they encourage imaginative play and adventurous games. Relax while your kids burn off excess energy on the slides, monkey bars, climbing structures, and swings.

4. Arovista Park

Arovista Park's peaceful atmosphere in the heart of the city makes it a great place for a low-key afternoon. It has 15 acres for children to explore, along with several play areas.

A complete sports complex featuring a basketball court, football field, soccer field, and volleyball court, regularly hosts local sporting events. During games, a concession stand offers a quick snack.

Locals often head to the park’s dedicated amphitheater for free concerts and events, and movie nights are common in the summer.

Costa Mesa

Initially a farming community, it's no wonder Costa Mesa features some of the best parks in Orange County.

5. TeWinkle Park

Look no further than TeWinkle Park for picturesque scenery and a day of outdoor excitement. Thanks to the efforts of a local charity, the park received a playground known as Angels Playground in 2007. Here, children hop across ledges, zip over balance beams, and swing on monkey bars.

It’s also one of the more accessible playgrounds in the region, featuring wide, wheelchair-friendly paths and disability-friendly swings. Lakes, waterfalls, and gentle pathways encourage outdoor exploration.

Abundant small wildlife can be a real treat to watch. You may even spot squirrels and waterfowl up close. As tempting as it may be, please don’t feed them. It can make them sick.

6. Estancia Park

Estancia Park has a long and storied history. The Diego Sepulveda Adobe has stood on these grounds for around 200 years, and you’re welcome to explore it on the first and third Saturday of each month.

Mature trees and sprawling green spaces cultivate a tranquil experience for picnicking or relaxing in the sun. Your child may even feel inspired to embrace their inner acrobat for some cartwheels and somersaults. We all start our daring feats somewhere.

While it lacks a playground, it neighbors Balearic Park. You'll find a play structure on the opposite end of the green space from the adobe.

Dana Point

In Dana Point, outdoor playtime means exploring three stellar parks.

7. Pines Park

Enjoy beautiful beach views at Pines Park. It sits on the bluff above Capistrano Beach Park, and it's surrounded by old-growth trees and modern landscaping. Two medium-sized playgrounds encourage play. Tunnels and rock walls provide the perfect setting for your child to stretch their imagination.

While there are no restrooms and the playground area doesn't have beach access, the park has plenty of grills, drinking fountains, and shady areas to keep you and your little ones happy.

8. Palisades Gazebo Park

What Palisades Gazebo Park lacks in playgrounds, restrooms, and picnic tables, it makes up for with breathtaking scenery. This may be the smallest park on the list, but it’s one of our favorites.

A small gazebo sits on the land, surrounded by bright, fragrant rose gardens. From your seat, you’ll have endless views of the ocean in a tranquil, romantic setting. The gazebo also overlooks Capistrano Beach, and while the view is a treat at any time of day, it’s particularly stunning at sunset.

9. Salt Creek Beach Park

Salt Creek Beach Park offers cliffside beach access across stretches of soft sand. It’s one of the more popular Dana Point surfing locations, thanks to an offshore reef that creates amazing swells. If you want to get in on the action but don’t have equipment, rentals are available.

During warm months, a concession store offers snacks and top-ups of beach supplies, such as sunscreen. While you can explore tide pools when the tide is low, all species within them are protected—look but don’t touch.

Photographer: Alex Krassel

Fountain Valley

Fountain Valley has small and large parks to suit a variety of preferences.

10. Mile Square Regional Park

Fountain Valley residents love Mile Square Regional Park for its sheer size. It got its name because each of its four sides is a mile long. While you have to pay to park and for day use, the park more than makes up for the cost with the value it provides.

Bring your rod and go fishing, or pedal a swan boat across the lake. You can practice your aim at the archery range or take a free beginner’s class if you’ve never tried it before. Golf enthusiasts enjoy the two 18-hole courses.

Pack a picnic to enjoy after your children explore three playgrounds. After your meal, take your family for a stroll along the walking paths. Don’t worry if you forgot to pack lunch. You can visit the local farmers market for local delicacies or visit the on-site restaurant.

11. La Capilla Park

La Capilla Park is on the smaller side, but it’s quieter than other parks on this list. A small play structure is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, with swings that encourage giggles. Sprawling green spaces are perfect for running around or an informal soccer game.

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Huntington Beach

In Huntington Beach, local parks encourage constant outdoor excursions.

12. Huntington Central Park

With plenty of playground space, Huntington Central Park is the largest city-owned park in Orange County.

The park is divided into Central Park East and Central Park West. Central Park East, which is open during the summer months, offers outdoor excitement.

You should pack a change of clothes for your youngsters. Between climbing through three tree forts and zipping down an aquatic slide into a muddy pit, things are bound to get messy. You'll also find Huntington Beach Central Library, a café, a sports complex, the Secret Garden, and other attractions on the east side of the park.

Central Park West offers an equestrian center, disc golfing, a dog park, a nature center, and a café. Regardless of which side of the park you choose, both offer Orange County attractions to please everyone in your group.

13. Green Park

Your children will love exploring the massive playground structures at Green Park. The park itself is quite compact, so you can see most of it from a single sitting point. Children love the play structure, which features multiple layers to climb through and bumpy and curly slides.

The playground equipment has a beautiful marine life motif, turtle statues, and ride-on animals. Plenty of benches provide places for parents to relax, but the only shade is in the picnic area.


Irvine’s wonderful parks are one of the city’s most appealing features. These stand above the rest.

14. Heritage Community Park

Children go wild for the playground at Heritage Community Park. Swings, climbing equipment, and slides in a dreamy nautical theme encourage constant action. Major pieces of equipment have shades to protect your little ones from the sun.

Two-boat play structures inspire pirate adventures, and climbing nets help kids test their prowess. Near the playground equipment, a splash pad runs daily from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

At the end of the day, enjoy a leisurely walk along the scenic lake lined with leafy trees. When you get tired, take a seat in one of the gazebos to watch the ducks.

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15. Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park

The playground equipment at Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park has a bold, patriotic color scheme. Even the playground turf adds to the patriotic theme with big, white stars on a blue background.

Their massive playset is great for children of all ages, with numerous connected playgrounds for each age group. Colonial Bill Memorial Park is equipped with a variety of activities for the entire family, such as tennis, volleyball, baseball, and some really beautiful walking trails.

16. Irvine Regional Park

Irvine Regional Park is a child’s dream come true. It has playgrounds amid heritage oak and sycamore trees. Zip tracks, slides, and swings keep children busy all day long. Pony rides operate Tuesday through Thursday year-round, and the Irvine Park Railroad weaves through lakes and a wooded area during a 10-minute trek.

17. Eisenhower Park

Finding the playground equipment in Eisenhower Park is an adventure in itself. Before getting there, you’ll wander through tree-lined trails and beautiful landscaping. If you choose to keep going, you’ll cross a small stream and discover a mature fig tree.

The playground features standard equipment, with slides and climbing areas in a bed of wood chips. While many of the walking paths are shady, the playground is in full sunlight for most of the day.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has an almost ethereal beauty that shines through at these park locations.

18. Heisler Park

While Heisler Park doesn't have a playground, it offers stunning views of the shores. This blufftop park is a local favorite for whale watching and romantic evenings watching the sunset. Near Las Brisas restaurant, you’ll find a gazebo with an amazing vantage point of the sea.

Nearby, a paved path on your right takes you to the beach. Parking can be a bit of a struggle, especially during the summer.

19. Crescent Bay Point Park

Sitting on a grassy bluff, Crescent Bay Point Park overlooks one of the most beautiful Orange County beaches. It’s small but filled with beautiful landscaping. Sightseeing is the real draw here. You’ll get panoramic views of Crescent Bay.

Paved paths grant access to the beach below, but the drop-off is steep. Railings add extra protection, but be mindful if taking this path with younger children.

Photographer: Caleb Bennetts

20. Alta Laguna Park

Thanks to its unique vantage point at the top of a huge hill, the views at Alta Laguna Park are hard to beat. White sands surround a simple, forest-themed playground, and butterflies adorn the equipment.

The surrounding areas are incredible. On a clear day, you can see Irvine, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, and the ocean beyond them. Trails take you from the park to Carolyn Wood Knoll, where more fantastic vantage points await.

Photographer: Sven Piper

21. Prehistoric Playground at the Laguna Hills Community Center and Sports Complex

If you have a budding paleontologist in your midst, they'll love Prehistoric Playground. While the Laguna Hills Community Center and Sports Complex were being built, the design team implemented prehistoric designs relevant to the area into the playground.

Instead of bright colors, the playground features shades of gray and tan for a natural vibe. A 1/3-scale replica of a bowhead whale skeleton dares children to climb through its 33 ft. a fossil reef showcases a hadrosaur skeleton.

Most of the fossils are replicas, but some are real and represent species native to the area. Visiting this park is one of the most unique things to do with kids in Orange County.

A Journey Through Orange County’s Top Parks

The region's parks delight children and adults alike. After finishing your outdoor excursion, more fun awaits on our stage. We weave compelling tales that subvert expectations and show what can happen when you dare to follow your dreams.

You can expect jaw-dropping acrobatic tricks, emotional music, and out-of-this-world settings at our shows. We'll draw you into our world, where anything is possible.

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