See where all 277 Irvine parks are located and why they’re perennially ranked among the top 10 in America by the Trust for Public Land.
Our Parks Guide also offers tips on 22 parks to visit this weekend – whether you want to hike, bike, swim, find a playground, storm a castle or fly a kite.
JEFFREY OPEN SPACE TRAIL
Hike Irvine’s longest park
Enjoy 3.5 miles of uninterrupted meadows, woodlands and trails in the heart of the city. Art installations trace 500 years of local history, while stacked-stone monuments and underpasses give a national park vibe. The 76-acre park is the result of close collaboration between the community and Irvine Company, which developed the $30 million linear park.
HERITAGE COMMUNITY PARK
Cool off this summer
Stroll around the duck pond, let the kids frolic on a splash pad or dive into one of three pools at the adjacent Woollett Aquatics Center. This mid-city park also features a host of sports courts, ballfields, playgrounds and barbecues for picnics. “It is a great spot for the kids to get their wiggles out at the splash pad,” says Irvine mom Lizelle Pais. “You can easily spend a few hours here taking in all the sights and sounds of nature as well as enjoying the playgrounds and walking trails.”
QUAIL HILL COMMUNITY PARK
A perfectly planned park
If the Angels ever needed a new home, they could play here – that’s how green, pristine and manicured the sports fields are. The park also features a modern, nature-themed playground with plenty to climb – rocks, logs, a rock wall and ropes – and interpretive signs about local wildlife. The community center offers classes in science, dance and even toddler yoga. And when here, you have access to two popular hikes – the Quail Hill Loop Trail and the Quail Trail, which can take you all the way to Crystal Cove.
UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY PARK
Explore the one-of-a-kind Adventure Playground
From its treehouses and climbing poles to oversized Lego bricks and water play, the award-winning Adventure Playground is the stuff of kids’ dreams. For 50 years, it has spurred generations of kids to use their imagination in unstructured play. At the adjacent park, you can play any of seven sports or use the community center to learn dance, skateboarding and more.
MIKE WARD COMMUNITY PARK
Enjoy concerts by the lake
Bring a blanket to enjoy several summer concerts, featuring everything from blues to ’80s dance music to country. Or stroll over to South Lake for pictures at the gazebo and shoreline. This 22-acre park features sports courts, including handball and volleyball. When you’re done, grab coffee or lunch at Woodbridge Village Center next door.
OAK CREEK COMMUNITY PARK
Summer barbecue time
Let the kids play on one of two playgrounds as you fire up the grill for a barbecue at Oak Creek Park. “I love the rolling grassy hills for playing under the sycamore trees,” says Michele Whiteaker, of funorangecountyparks.com. “Bring a ball to kick around on the field or a Frisbee.” A stroller-friendly, tree-lined path encircles the park.
NORTHWOOD COMMUNITY PARK
Storm the castle
Yes, there’s an actual cinder block castle at Northwood Community Park, known as Castle Park. There’s plenty here to capture a child’s imagination, from the rocky moat to the entry tunnel to the fortress on the hill – not to mention a spiral slide, rocking horses and tire swings. The adjacent community park accommodates five sports (baseball, basketball, handball, soccer and tennis), barbecues and picnics, while the adjacent community center offers classes in cooking, karate, singing and Pilates.
TURTLE ROCK COMMUNITY PARK
A natural, outdoor classroom
Turtle Rock Park is unique. One moment you’re in a tree-lined park with kids playing T-ball. The next, you’re in a 5-acre nature preserve meandering through woodlands and meadows watching birds over a pond. It’s all here, including tennis, volleyball and baseball. And if that isn’t enough, you’re within steps of two of the city’s most popular hikes: Shady Canyon Trail and Bommer Canyon Nature Trail.
CATTLE CAMP AT BOMMER CANYON COMMUNITY PARK
A throwback to The Irvine Ranch’s cowboy days
Put this on your “to-do” list to check out when the city finishes $6 million in improvements to its most iconic spot for weddings, campouts and private events. This 15-acre rustic park in Bommer Canyon is a throwback to the days when cowboys rustled up cattle on The Irvine Ranch. It’s expected to open this summer with new facilities set in a grove of old sycamores.
MEADOWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
Ride the spinning umbrella
Athletes will like the sunken sand-volleyball court, full-court basketball and well-manicured softball and soccer fields. But if you have preschoolers who like action, let them ride the incredible spinning umbrella and wait for the giggles. There’s also a pretty little gazebo with a grass amphitheater and plenty of picnic tables.
HARVARD COMMUNITY PARK
An athlete’s dream park
This is a massive, 27-acre park of athletic fields, including seven lighted ball diamonds (with dugouts and bleachers), four lighted soccer fields, lighted batting cages, a concession stand and a skate park. The park offers adult-softball leagues through its community center, and it lies along the 22-mile Mountains to Sea Trail, so you can bike from the park to just about anywhere in the city.
Enjoy views of the city
The park itself is a pretty little green gem with trees, picnic tables and a playground, and it leads to one of the most scenic spots in the city. Take the stairs to the right, rising 500 feet to a rocky outcropping. You’ll be rewarded with views of the city, the county and ocean. There’s a reason this overlook is called Sunset Point.
COL. BILL BARBER MEMORIAL PARK
Beautiful ballparks and gardens
There’s something for everybody here with playgrounds, formal gardens and championship ballfields. Hold a birthday party or relax under a canopy of bougainvillea by a fountain. If you’re up for an adventure, jump on the adjacent Mountains to Sea Trail for a 5-mile ride to Upper Newport Bay.
STONEGATE NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
Designed for the neighborhood
Stonegate and its six surrounding satellite parks, set along a charming village loop trail, are a perfect example of how Irvine parks connect like jewels on a necklace. Together, they offer residents an array of pools, playgrounds, ballfields, tennis courts, barbecues and picnic areas – just a short walk from home.
IRVINE RANCH HISTORIC PARK
Experience the history of Irvine
Visit the site where James Irvine II managed the world’s largest bean field and grew so many Valencia oranges that it gave Orange County its name. Irvine Ranch Historic Park, near The Market Place, includes 24 original ranch buildings dating to the 1800s and an exact replica of the 1876 Irvine family home – now the Katie Wheeler Library.
DEERFIELD COMMUNITY PARK
Try a game of disc golf
Deerfield stands out for its well-maintained disc golf course. The 9-hole, par 27 course is described by UDisc as a “challenging layout to test players’ length, shot selection, and disc control.” The park also offers tennis, racquetball and volleyball courts and, through its community center, classes in cooking, science and tennis.
IRVINE CENTRAL BARK
Dog park is 4-legged fun
The city’s Central Bark dog park, which opened in 2000, is bigger and grassier than most dog parks in the county. It features 3 acres of open field for off-leash play, with one yard for big dogs and another for small dogs. The fully accessible park includes a watering facility for dogs, covered seating and lighting. The park is closed Wednesdays for maintenance.
PORTOLA SPRINGS COMMUNITY PARK
Tennis and pickleball
Opened in 2019, the park offers commanding views of the city as well as 32 acres of lighted ballfields, sports courts, playgrounds and a community center. Sign up the kids for dance, music and educational programs, or try some adult pickleball lessons. “It’s like we’re out in the country,” Francine Verbarg said after her first visit. “It’s a public park, but it feels like a private club.”
Play in the hills of Irvine
This beautifully landscaped, tree-lined park in Orchard Hills features two lighted, full-size basketball courts, sand volleyball and a huge soccer field for athletes, and a modern playground for kids. The shaded play area offers interactive gym equipment, climbing walls, rope climbers and separate play structures for older and younger kids.
MASON REGIONAL PARK
Irvine’s own Central Park
Consider this Irvine’s version of New York’s Central Park: a 2-mile stretch of trees, trails, playgrounds and a charming lake with model sailboats. Moms push strollers; couples practice yoga; children wave to ducks; and turtles sun on the rocks. The park’s generous picnic shelters (one accommodates 500 people) are popular on weekends and holidays. And the lake’s footbridge is a favorite for family portraits.
SEPULVEDA VISTA POINT
Ocean views and breezes
At 1.3 acres, this may be one of the smallest parks in Irvine, but it’s also one of the most breathtaking. Drive right up to this hilltop perch, and you can feel the ocean breeze in your face and see Catalina rising from the Pacific. On a clear day, you can look up the coast at Palos Verdes, while behind you lies the city of Irvine and the San Gabriel Mountains. Enjoy the view.
LOS OLIVOS COMMUNITY PARK
Make music with your kids
Engage your child’s imagination at the playground’s music station, featuring a toy xylophone and bongos. Athletes can play baseball, basketball or tennis under the lights, while children can enroll in dance, guitar and science camps at the community center. Want to go exploring? The park connects to the San Diego Creek Trail, which connects to the ocean.