Secret Parks of Orange County: 5 Hidden Gems Only Locals Know

8/15/16 - By Dana Zepeda

Tired of visiting the same old parks? If your local jungle gym has recently lost its luster, be grateful that you live in (or are visiting) Orange County, where you can take your tykes to explore one of the hidden gems below. From giant Legos to beachfront slides to fountains and duck ponds, there are plenty of captivating playgrounds to explore throughout Southern California, but it takes a real OC native to know all five of these boredom-busting tot lots. Pick any one of them for an outing the whole family can enjoy.


Tewinkle Park

This 49-acre park is tucked away right off the 55 freeway but feels miles away from nearby traffic jams. It boasts a walking path, grassy hill, waterfalls, streams, and an enormous pond brimming with ducks and geese. There are also 30 picnic tables, two softball fields, a basketball court, 12 tennis courts, and a baseball field. But the main attraction, of course, is the play area. There are several shaded climbing structures for kids of all ages to explore as well as a large sandpit where Bob the Builder fans can scoop sand with mini cranes.

Yorba Regional Park

Five minutes away from Home Depot and Costco, you'll find a fork in the road leading to Yorba Regional Park. This sprawling, family-friendly park is a place for kids of all ages to play. There are plenty of picnic areas, four lakes with connecting streams, fishing spots, paddle boat rentals, and forested areas with protected wildlife. There are also at least half a dozen playgrounds, group shelters, volleyball courts, two baseball diamonds, and several paved walking trails to stretch your legs.

Marina Park

If you fantasize about hitting the beach but worry about letting the kids play in big waves, this nautical-themed playground is the perfect safe haven for your whole family. It's situated directly in front of the sand with a bird's eye view of the nearby harbor. Kids love swinging from the monkey bars, flying down the lighthouse slide, and swinging from a giant spider web. Parking is just steps away in the nearby pay lot, but it's worth every penny for this gorgeous waterfront view.

Adventure Playground

This sprawling playground has been around since the seventies, but it recently received a major facelift. Kids love the sensory garden, shaded picnic tables, communal Tonka trucks, water station, and giant Lego bricks. But the main attraction is the mud! Let your kids get down and dirty in the knee-deep mud creek. There are several stations to wash off afterwards, so no need to worry about muddy footprints in the car. Just remember to pack sunscreen, plenty of water, a towel, and a change of clothes. You'll need them!

Bluebird Park

Raising a future astronaut? If your kids love outer space, they'll love the large, four-story rocketship at the entrance to this fenced-in playground. The climbing structure is a favorite spot for kids to blast off and explore this action-packed park. Tots can pedal along their own toddler trike path filled with bridges, tunnels, and hills. And kids of all ages race to ride the giant slides built into the hills. There's plenty of space for big kids to ride scooters and bikes, as well as picnic areas, a basketball court, a giant turtle sculpture, and a small play structure with toddler swings and a baby teeter-totter.

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