Here are my tips about how to plan your OC play calendar for all the amazing outdoor events happening in Orange County. At least, this is how I do it.
You can click over to my OC Outdoor Family Calendar where I have links to calendars on other sites and usually highlight special events and activities. However, every family has different interests and kids at different ages – so putting out a one size fits all calendar doesn’t make sense. What does make sense? Sit down at your computer once a month (or once a quarter) and plan out your play. I know how it is. If you don’t write it down, it’s not going to happen.
#1 – Open up your existing family calendar (whether it’s on your phone or online). You can also print a blank calendar in Google if you have a Gmail account or find a calendar template site. I’ve gone back to my old-fashioned paper calendar and I absolutely LOVE it!
#2 – Start linking to the following calendars and look for events that fit your schedule, your family, and your ability levels.
I always start with OCParks.com and Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, because their calendars are huge. Even if the events are free, reservations or registration may be required to hold your spot. Click through for details! Remember, all outdoor events are subject to weather cancellations.
- Orange County Great Park
- OC Zoo at Irvine Regional Park
- Inside the Outdoors
- South Coast Wilderness
- Environmental Nature Center (Newport Beach)
- The Ecology Center (San Juan Capistrano)
- Back Bay Science Center (Newport Beach)
- Newport Bay Conservancy Calendar (Newport Beach)
- Nature Rocks
- Sea & Sage Audubon Society
- Pretend City (Irvine)
- Center for Living Peace (Irvine)
- California Department of Fish and Game – Youth in the Outdoors! (YO!) Calendar
- EVERY SUNDAY FROM 10AM-2PM Orange County Great Park Farmer’s Market (Orange County Great Park)
- Storytimes at your local library
- Just Spotted always has great calendars
#3 – Then go to your city’s website and consult it for their community programs (like Concerts in the Park or special festivals). Check neighboring cities, too.
- Costa Mesa
- Dana Point
- Fountain Valley
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- La Habra
- La Palma
- Laguna Beach
- Laguna Hills
- Laguna Niguel
- Lake Forest
- Los Alamitos
- Mission Viejo
- Newport Beach
- Rancho Santa Margarita
- San Clemente
- San Juan Capistrano
- Santa Ana
- Seal Beach
- Villa Park
- Yorba Linda
#4 – While you’re at it, schedule in time for FREE PLAY. I’m serious. Write it on your calendar. Do you have a blank box left on your calendar? A free day? How about keeping it free – no matter what. One day here or there just for play. Heck! Even one hour every day.
#5 – Subscribe to my Friday email with play trips, park tips and family nature outings. (Sign up in the sidebar).