Wild Places in Orange County

Orange County has a variety of interesting and enjoyable places for you to learn about nature.



Fullerton Arboretum

fullerton arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton
A nice local break from the hurly burly craziness.



Oak Canyon Nature Center

oak canyon

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim Hills
For a small park, this one feels big. Great views from the top of Roadrunner Trail.



Upper Newport Bay

upper newport bay

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, Newport Beach
Thanks to the dedication of Frank and Fran Robinson and the Friends of Newport Bay.
Always something new to surprise and delight.



Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

whiting ranch

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, Portola Hills




Caspers Wilderness Park

caspers park

Caspers Wilderness Park, San Juan Capistrano
The closest there is to pristine coastal sage scrub and chaparral.
These trails are for adults only, and husky ones at that. Never walk alone here and carry a big and durable walking stick. Mountain lions could be watching.




Thomas Riley Wilderness Park

thomas riley park

Thomas Riley Wilderness Park, Ladera Ranch
Respectable and bite-sized retreat surrounded by the new planned community of Ladera Ranch.




Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

laguna coast wilderness park

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Laguna Beach
Beautiful ocean vistas, wide trails, gentle inclines.





Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park

aliso and woold canyon park

Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park, Laguna Niguel
One of my favorites. Too big to walk in one day. Bring your binoculars and a big lunch.




Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

tucker wild life sanctuary

Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Modjeska Canyon
Great spot for watching migratory riparian birds. Trails lead up the mountain to nearby Harding Canyon and the top of Santiago Peak.




Ocean Institute

ocean institute, dana point

Ocean Institute, Dana Point
Completely remade in 2002-2003. Lots of opportunities for organized outings.
Meander through the new facilities, check out the aquaria and artificial tide pools.
Sit on the jetty and enjoy the pounding surf with Catalina Island on the horizon.




Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

bolsa chica ecological reserve

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach
The best spot in Orange County for marine and aquatic birds. Take advantage of this rare coastal open space while you can.




Crystal Cove State Park

crystal cove state park

Crystal Cove State Park, Corona del Mar
Lovely bluffs topped with natural coastal sage scrub. Wrenching geologic sandstone formations make up sheer walls lining the beach. A unique and picturesque setting. Go at low tide.




Orange County Zoo

irvine park

Orange County Zoo at Irvine Park, Villa Park
Smallish, but accomplishes its mission well by representing some of the most interesting and familiar animals that are native to Orange County.





Santa Ana Zoo

santa ana zoo

Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana
Affordable and close. An eclectic mix of animals from all over the world. If you like lemurs, you'll love the Santa Ana Zoo.





Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center

peter and mary muth interpretive center

Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center at Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach
Dedicated to educating visitors about the wildlife and ecological value of coastal marshes and estuaries.
Overlooks Upper Newport Bay. Trails along the upper bay's northern shore.