By Aliese Muhonen
With nearly 300 days of sunshine and great weather year-round, Orange County is an outdoor lover’s paradise from mountains to sea.
Parks & Rec
There are 47 public parks to enjoy in Santa Ana, with trails, playgrounds, exercise equipment, and picnic shelters.
A river literally runs through it at this 18-hole course, which caters to any skill level but gives experienced golfers a run for their money. The challenge comes courtesy of 6,190 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70, with the namesake Santa Ana River providing a fun water hazard.
The oldest 18-hole golf course in O.C., the ’Wick treats golfers of all abilities to expansive fairways lined with tall, majestic trees in the heart of the city. Two sets of tees, a grass driving range, three practice putting greens, a well-stocked pro shop, and new bar restaurant round out the picturesque experience.
Santa Ana is a literal trailblazer, with miles of protected bike lanes — the first of their kind in O.C. —completed along Bristol Street and more under construction on McFadden Avenue.
Furry friends will finally have a space to play off-leash at the city’s first dog park, in the design phase at Centennial Park. Check-in with the City of Santa Ana for updates.
Take a Hike
Surrounded by mountains and abounding in hilly vistas, O.C. has long been known as an outdoorsy haven. Whether you trail run, mountain bike, or hike, O.C.'s 25 regional wilderness parks and 230 miles of riding and hiking trails have you covered. Visit the county's website for more information on regional parks and wilderness areas.
Nearby Beach Cities
With 42 miles of beautiful coastline and dozens of California’s most famous beaches, it’s no wonder O.C. is an aquatic hotspot. Most beaches have nearby parking and bathrooms, and many have volleyball, equipment rental, fire pits, restaurants, and retail.
(12 miles away)
Known for: Surfing, with some of the best surf breaks in the state; the city’s trademarked nickname is literally “Surf City USA.” Also home to the only dog beach in the county.
(11 miles away)
Known For: Variety. Its two piers, lively boardwalk, family and kid-friendly play areas, beautiful scenery, and diverse range of activities mean there’s something for everyone.
(19 miles away)
Known for: Sheer beauty. There’s a reason artists flock to Laguna: as the only marine reserve in Southern California, its beaches are teeming with tide pools, turquoise waters, and stunning vistas.