10 kid-friendly hikes in Orange County that will get you out of the house, and help keep your sanity as we navigate through the next months to come of social distancing and slowly re opening our country.
Also, for those of us homeschooling or trying for a little extra education this summer I have included some great ideas to make the hike an educational experience with projects you can do on the trails and when you get home from the hike too!
1. East Ridge Bell Canyon Loop Trail
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2. Pinhead Peak Trail
A very easy yet beautiful hike, for kids. The trail is narrow so this one is better without a stroller.Watch out for foxtails on the way up and if you make it to the top there are some great views! 2.3 miles total.
3. Crystal Cove State Park
Plan to pay $15.00 for parking. This is easy to walk with your kids, strollers are ok if you plan to stay up top but if the kids like to go down in the sand you cannot bring a stroller. The stairs are easy for kids and the views are gorgeous. I love this hike on a dreary morning or overcast day too!
Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
4. Buck Gully Reserve
The entire trail is about 4.4 miles and the paths are easy for kids of all ages. Narrow strollers are great for this path. A new recent rule is that all mountain bikes have one way directions, and this really makes it much safer when your hiking with little ones. Also keep in mind, no dogs are allowed. Buck Gully is open daily from dawn to dusk
Address: San Joaquin Hills Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657
5. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
The details: This is one of our favorite trails to bring the kids FUJI polaroid Camera or kids binoculars because the bird watching and different animals you see here is really fun!
Best place to park with kids and strollers is the south lot on PCH. The other trails are narrow and much more rocky.
Address: 3842 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92649
6. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
The details: Parking Fee: $3 daily. Machine accepts $1 bills and quarters or Visa/Master Card. There are advanced hikers her and also trails that are easy for the kids so don’t be intimidated when you see hikers with professional gear and sticks. It’s easy to do a one hour hike and a packed picnic and you’ll love the warm sunshine, ocean breezes and so much beauty! They also provide clean bathrooms and drinking fountains.
Address: 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
7. Santiago Oaks Regional Park
The details: This is the best for kids and a true Unicorn in the OC! You can bring a stroller if you need too, however you’ll have to carry it across a small creeks at the beginning or get some muddy tires. Besides that part it is fine. Dogs are allowed here on leashes but im always cautious with little dogs of course due to coyotes.
Address: 2145 Windes Dr, Orange, CA 92869
8. Quail Hill Trailhead
The details: This very mild trail is only 1.8 miles long and perfect for kids! Be careful of the rattle snakes here and no dogs are allowed. Parking is FREE, with nice bathrooms and drinking fountains and plenty of space.
Address: 34 Shady Canyon, Irvine, CA 92603
9. Black Star Canyon
The details: waterfalls, waterfalls, and swimming in waterfalls! Does it get any better than this? Well, its probably not best for the little little ones. I have yet to take my toddler here because of the steep hills and 8 miles in total is much to much for little ones. It still makes the top 10 however, if you have older kids. My recommendation is ages 9+ with proper water shoes and lots of snacks! Also, during the COVID pandemic the parking is tough and most spots you’ll find are 1.5 miles away so you’ll want to come early or get dropped off if possible!
Address: 12247 Black Star Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676
10. Aliso and wood canyons wilderness park
The details: With several trails to choose from (over 30 miles to be exact) you’ll find a lot of easy trails for kids. The Aliso Peak Trail is a fairly easy hike with a great ocean view! A small family picnic area is located at the park entrance under the Sycamore Trees.
- Approximately 8 picnic tables are scattered in the area and are available on a first come first serve basis.
- No barbeques or fires are allowed.
- Trash cans and portable restrooms are also located in the area.
Address: 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Make it Educational
Get fun ideas and art projects you can incorporate on your hike to make it an outside field trip with fun + Learning in one!
Below are some great ideas you can do on your hikes to make it a learning experience at the same time. While most of us are not regular teachers by profession this is a totally new learning curve so I love getting new ideas from moms and teachers alike so that I can share them with all of you! Credit for each idea is given below the photos.