Bicyclists in Portola Springs enjoy views overlooking Orange County. The recently opened Portola Springs Community Park features 32 acres of ballfields, playgrounds and even pickleball courts.

On top of the world

Nestled in the Lomas de Santiago Hills, the Village of Portola Springs sits atop the city.

by TOM BERG

Chris and Kayee Banks love walking the trails and parks of Portola Springs.

Up here, everything seems a little nicer, says Chris Banks, who has lived in Portola Springs for 11 years with his wife and two children.

Some days, you’ll find him barbecuing by the pool, watching his daughter swim. Other days, you’ll see him biking with his son to school. And occasionally you’ll see him leading a Boy Scout troop down the nearby Mountains to Sea Trail for an overnight camping trip by the ocean.

“We’re living the good life,” he says, during a family walk in Tomato Springs Park. Nestled in the Lomas de Santiago Hills, the Village of Portola Springs sits atop the city.

You can see the ocean and visit an array of new parks filled with pools, playgrounds, ballfields – and even pickleball courts to play one of the nation’s fastest-growing sports.

“It’s like we’re out in the country here,” says Francine Verbarg, after a pickleball game in Portola Springs Community Park. “This is a public park, but it feels like a private country club.”

Irvine Company planned and built the 32-acre park and donated 120 acres of nearby open space, adding to Irvine’s 16,500 acres of open space and parklands — one third of the city.

“Portola Springs is a fantastic example of the collaborative master-planning process that has served this city so well,” Irvine’s mayor said at the park opening in February.

Chris Banks shortened that to two words: “It’s fantastic.”


VILLAGE LIFE

The Village of Portola Springs sits atop the city in the Lomas de Santiago Hills.

 

1. New homes: Tour newly released model homes by Irvine Pacific. Learn more at villagesofirvine.com.


 

2. Shopping: Shop and dine at nearby Woodbury™ Town Center.


 

3. Parks: Enjoy pools, athletic fields, sports courts and playgrounds in more than 15 parks.


 

4. Open space: Near Limestone Canyon with trails into Irvine’s Northern Open Space Preserve.


 

5. Schools: Students can walk and bike to the state’s best schools, including the new Loma Ridge Elementary, opening in August.