With mild winter weather, Orange County is perfect for getting in some outdoor exercise while visiting. Wide open spaces, nominal entrance fees and a chance to get the heart pumping while surrounded by native woodlands and migrating birds instead of sweaty meatheads are just a few reasons to workout at these gorgeous OC parks. Lace up the shoes, take a deep breath and get ready to work off some of those extra holiday pounds in true Orange County style.
Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
In addition to over three beautiful miles of beach, Crystal Cove State Park offers hikers and bikers 17 miles of trails through woodlands and coastal sage scrub habitats. Visitors can take the upper trails for scenic panoramas of the Pacific Ocean, or get the heart pumping through the lower trails through coast live oak and sycamore canopies. Extend your trail run without getting lost by using your Smartphone to gain access to a Google Earth map of the trails. Staying in shape at the Crystal Cove State Park will provide one of the most beautiful ways to work off all of those holiday treats.
Irvine Regional Park
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
With hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult on a variety of surfaces, Irvine Regional Park provides vast open spaces and beautiful grounds for a clean, outdoor workout while visiting Orange County. In addition, the park offers a wide range of bike rentals, including surreys, tandems and kids’ bikes that visitors can use for a casual family ride around the lake or along the riverbed. Who says you can’t have fun while working out? Irvine Regional Park rents volleyball nets and horseshoe sets, as well as paddleboats for a mellow workout on the water. Entrance to the park is only $3 during the week and $5 on weekends.
Huntington Beach Central Park
18100 Goldenwest St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Located in the heart of Surf City, the Huntington Beach Central Park has everything you need to get in a solid workout during your trip to Orange County. For serious trainers, the park’s World Trail is a 1.2 mile loop featuring 18 exercise stations for the ultimate in cross-training. For visitors wanting a more relaxed fitness session, the Urban Forest walking trail, a Frisbee golf course and batting cages are also available. Don’t forget, Huntington Beach Central Park is located in one of the premier beach cities in Orange County, so a run along the beach is always available for visitors who want a seascape ambiance to go with their workout.
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Tustin Sports Park
12850 Robinson Drive
Tustin, CA 92782
Centrally located in Orange County, the Tustin Sports Park has a wide variety of activities available to stay fit during your visit. A multi-use trail can be used for a vigorous run, a bike ride or a casual walk as you enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and clean environment. Six tennis courts and two basketball courts are available and lighted for evening exercise, and pickup basketball and soccer games are frequent throughout the week for visitors who enjoy a little competition. Twenty acres of well-kept grounds and two multi-use play fields provide virtually limitless fitness options at this clean and friendly sports park.
Carbon Canyon Regional Park
4442 Carbon Canyon Road
Brea, CA 92823
With three sand volleyball courts, eight lighted tennis courts and a couple of softball backstops, Carbon Canyon Regional Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Orange County to visit for a workout. Take a stroll or a run along the 1.1-mile nature trail that leads through the only redwood grove in Orange County, featuring 10 acres of larger-than-life California Redwoods – a must-see attraction for any visitor to Orange County. Hiking trails and paved pathways for walking, running or biking weave their way through the park and along the creek, offering a peaceful ambience for a rejuvenating workout. Entrance to the park is a nominal $3 to $5 fee per vehicle.
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David McDonald is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.