5 Hidden Gem (or Must-Visit) Orange County Playgrounds


One of my favorite things about living in California is the abundant amount of sunshine we get, and with Orange County certainly not short of family-friendly parks, living here with two little ones, becomes a pretty happy place to be.

While I still have many (many!) more to explore, here are my top five hidden gem – or must-visit – Orange County playgrounds, with each one having a special little something about it:


Pioneer Road Park, the secluded one with a bonus splash pad

With a recently upgraded park structure, this is a great park in Tustin. Approximately 3 acres big, the park includes a picnic shelter (4 tables), with plenty of other tables and seating around. The playground has a great Western theme to it, with wagons, swings, slide, climbing frames, and more. It’s tucked away at the end of Pioneer Road and feels like a little getaway.

Other park amenities include BBQs, basketball courts, volleyball court and a number of trails nearby. A nice addition is a small splash pad that’s open during the summer.

10250 Pioneer Road, Tustin, CA 92782


Marina Park Playground, the one on the beach

Often overlooked as most attention goes to the marina and surrounding beach, this is a great little playground with its iconic lighthouse slide. Grab the beach toys and spend the afternoon here.

The playground is right by The Lighthouse Café, which is also a must-visit for good food and waterfront views.

1600 W. Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA 92663


Tustin Sports Park, where you could spend the whole day

While this one is not really hidden, this is one of my favorite Orange County playgrounds in Tustin. The first time I visited, I knew my family and I would be spending a lot of time here, mostly because of the café right “on site.”

The whole park itself is 22 acres with basketball courts, tennis courts, a soccer field, and multiple picnic shelters. The playground was recently updated with some great features, including a dual swing (perfect for parents and toddlers). The café, Bageled, offers bagels (of course!), coffee, pizza, and a variety of snacks and treats.

12850 Robinson Drive, Tustin, CA 92782


Centennial Park, bring yourself, bring your wheels

A multitude of playgrounds in one location, connected by a great paved path which is perfect for bringing your kids’ bike, scooter, or other set of wheels. My kids love exploring each of the different playgrounds, keeping them entertained for hours – from a fireman’s pole, multiple slides, to a sand pit with excavator and a climbing wall.

The park also includes basketball and sand volleyball courts, picnic tables, and BBQ.

14722 Devonshire Avenue, Tustin, CA 92780 


Heritage Community Park, the one by the lake

I fell in love the first time I went to this park – it’s beautiful! Set by the lake, stroll through the gazebo, pass the ducks and turtles, and head to the playground. There is a pretty robust list of amenities, including 3 pools, 1 amphitheater, 3 basketball courts, 20 picnic tables, 22 BBQs, 12 tennis courts, 2 children’s play areas, 2 racquetball courts, 3 soccer fields and 2 concession stands.

If you haven’t visited yet, the coming months will be a perfect time to go as the weather warms up!

14301 Yale Ave., Irvine, CA 92604


Know of more Orange County playgrounds to add to this list?

There are of course, so many more family-friendly parks Orange County has to offer. My family and I are here to stay and we’re looking forward to seeing them all! If you have a favorite, comment below, we’d love to go visit.


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