Laguna Niguel Regional Park is a great place to take the jogger stroller and do a turn-around with the play area as a final destination and reward for your little one.
Location: Near the intersection of La Paz and Aliso Creek Road in Laguna Niguel. Take the Crown Valley exit (head away from the mall and toward Costco) to reach the park from the 5 Freeway and turn right on La Paz. You must have the current Orange County Beaches and Parks pass to park on the grounds (or pay $3 during the week and $5 on weekend for parking). Play area is just inside park entrance. Turning right from the entrance brings you to tennis courts, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts, and picnic shelters. Turning left brings you to the play area, followed by the bathroom, and then a choice of turning left toward the lake or right toward the tennis courts. MAP to Laguna Niguel Regional Park in Laguna Niguel
- The red standing teeter totter is the first order of business for most kids
- The tunnel bridge is another popular feature along with the climbing rocks
- Come to SEE the ducks, Canadian geese, and other wildlife surrounding the stream running through the park
- Two distinct areas with tree-covered shaded benches nice for picnics or snacks
- Take the kids to the lake for a change of scenery and more wildlife viewing – or even fishing with a permit
- Lots of room to roam for nature walks, exploring, and getting the wiggles out
- Park grounds covered with sycamores, eucalyptus, liquid amber, and pine trees. Beautiful green reeds surround the water areas.
- Play structures for all ages – toddler structure includes a general store and motorcycle for pretend play
- A recent OC Register article entitled “Ducks fed bread crumbs are being killed with kindness”specifically mentions this park. It warns against feeding the waterfowl because it may cause botulism outbreaks resulting in paralysis and sometimes death for the ducks. There’s a detailed sign by the stream describing other possible outcomes from feeding human food to the birds.
- Pay $3 on weekdays or $5 on weekends for parking. Or get in with your OC Parks parking pass.
- Toddlers will need supervision on the older kids structure because of a few drop-off areas. Some kids don’t like the 3 textured slides (one bumpy, two twisty – all steep) when they go down w/o a warning of what’s to come:)
- Extra hot here in the summer, nice the rest of the year
- Pay for parking at the entrance off La Paz.
- Some people park and walk in from Yosemite Street (see map under Location) – it’s a bit of a walk and uphill on the way back. Great for exercise, horrible with a fussy kid confined to the stroller. Or if you forgot the diapers in the car. This provides a safe option by following a paved walkway UNDER the busy La Paz Road.
- Parking in the Whole Foods retail lot is discouraged. After one mom navigated the high traffic and lack of sidewalk from this lot, I overheard her comment: “The $3 would have been worth it.” Pushing a stroller and holding her 2 year-old’s hand, she worried about the safety of her young child darting out into the street.
- Recycled rubber and sand play surfaces
- Simple bathrooms just past the picnic gazebos near the play area. Newer bathrooms with 8 separate rooms and outside sinks/soap are directly across the stream – reachable by stepping stones down the hill and to the left of the play area. You might not be able to get to the nicer bathrooms if the sprinklers are running.
- Nice shade provided by trees in corners of play area. Domes over equipment give some relief to the kids.
- Easy supervision – lots of places to sit while viewing your kids
- Picnic on park benches or grill at nearby gazebos (may need reservations)
- Official OCParks.com website for reservations
- Official OCParks.com website for Laguna Niguel Regional Park