5 Attractions To See in Mission Viejo

A wide shot of Lake Mission Viejo in Mission Viejo, CA.

Considered one of the best places to live in the country, there’s so much Mission Viejo has to offer. From the beautiful Orange County weather to the famously low crime rate and a masterfully structured community, it’s pretty clear how the city earned this title. This also means that there’s plenty to see and explore in Mission Viejo, whether you’re a proud local or a curious tourist! Here are 5 attractions we think everyone in the area should make time to check out.

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                                                                             Lake Mission Viejo.

Mission Viejo Lake

If a lake is going to share your city’s namesake, it can’t be a disappointing one—and Mission Viejo Lake delivers! It’s one of the city’s most popular spots for outdoor recreation and is known for picnics, swimming, boating sunbathing, and a great concert series.  (Yours truly saw Gladys Night there.) Shaded seating, beaches, and boat ramps are all available to make sure you have a relaxing time in front of this beautiful body of water.

Visitors are limited to Lake Mission Viejo Association members (which includes the vast majority of Mission Viejo residents) and their guests, but don’t fret, even if you can’t enjoy the lake proper you can have a meal at a restaurant with a lake view or enjoy a walk along a lovely walking path parallel to the lake. Or, worst case scenario, just make friends with one of the people lucky enough to live along the lake and swing by their house for a cocktail. 

Click here for directions

Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

If you’re looking for a deeper dive into nature, the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is a perfect and popular choice. The park opens at 7 am and closes at sunset, which conveniently also makes for some stunning twilit sights and experiences during opening and closing hours.

The clearly marked paths can take visitors through bridges and streams, as well as the butterfly garden. If you visit closer to closing time, you might be able to catch sight of some of the animals that avoid the paths during busier hours.

The Oso Creek Golf Course

Enjoy hitting the links? If so, the Oso Creek Golf Course is a great place to do. Taken over by the city of Mission Viejo in 2019, the course boasts beautiful views of Saddleback Mountain and is nestled along Casta Del Sol, a beautifully manicured development which houses Mission Viejo’s loveliest seniors. (I can attest to that personally.)

As of June 2021 the course also offers the Terrace on the Green restaurant – a nice, but not crazy expensive spot to relax and enjoy the view or strategize how to improve your golf game. The Terrace on the Green offers breakfast (of which the options are limited in MV) and sources many of its products from local California sources.

Click here for directions.

A Hidden Vine on the Lake

What’s better than taking in the beautiful sights of Mission Viejo Lake? Taking in the beautiful sights with a glass of wine, of course! A Hidden Vine on the Lake is located on the shores of the lake, and is a great place to enjoy the view while sipping on some of the region’s famous bottles of wine.

Experts can help guide you through the tastings, and guests can also enjoy carefully selected pairings of bread, cheese, and charcuterie. Every once in a while, everyone just needs to kick back and enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine!  

Click here for directions.

O’Neill Regional Park

For a national-park-type experience without the long drive, outdoor enthusiasts will love O’Neill Regional Park. Just a short drive from downtown, this park is a favorite location for hikers, fishers, bikers, bird watchers, and anyone that’s looking to get lost in nature for an afternoon.

From museums to tasty wine and twilit hiking trails, there’s more than plenty to do while in Mission Viejo. These are our favorite attractions to visit while in town, did we miss your favorite? Let us know! 

We hope you enjoyed our article on the best attractions to see in Mission Viejo, CA. This city is truly a beautiful and safe place to live filled with great people, great attractions, and great businesses.

Why do we care so much about Mission Viejo? Because this is where our headquarters are. (And some of our staff has been coming here to visit since the early 80s.) Who are we? We are My OC Bookkeeper. We provide local bookkeeping services to businesses in Mission Viejo and all over Orange County. (And Southern California in general for that matter.) If you are interested in teaming up, call us at 949-345-0639, email us at admin@myocbookkeeper.com, or contact us here.

Want to learn even more about the great city of Mission Viejo? Check out our post about our favorite parks.

4 Best Parks in Mission Viejo, CA

Lovely green park with green tress and a blue sky - like you would see at a park in Mission Viejo.

Our List of the Best Parks in Mission Viejo

As we all know, Mission Viejo, CA is a great place to live, work and visit. It’s a lovely community for several reasons, one of which is the simple fact that it is so well designed. It is what is known as a master planned community, which means that when it was initially conceived – which wasn’t all that long ago -the number of parks, homes, and retails spaces were largely predetermined, and as it has grown each new section has been carefully planned with amenities in mind.

Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a community with a remarkably long list of great parks, and it is with this in mind that we present to you our list of the best parks in Mission Viejo, CA.

Who are we to make this list you might ask? Well, our business is here, and some of our team members have had connections here dating to the early eighties. (Rancho Santa Margarita was basically non-existent in those days, by the way…) More on that later, but for now, read on for the best parks in wonderful Mission Viejo, CA.

Florence Joyner Olympiad Park

First on our list is the Florence Joyner Olympiad Park, located on Olympiad Road just past the Shopping Center with Albertson’s and Bagels and Brew – everyone’s favorite coffee spot. Named after the gold medal winning Olympian and former Mission Viejo resident, Florence Griffith Joyner, this is a large park that boasts a couple of playgrounds, multiple soccer fields, a baseball field, BBQs, picnic tables, and restrooms. It is located on a quiet section of Olympiad Road and has a lovely design including a statue dedicated to the late great runner and other Olympic athletes. Food is just down the road at the aforementioned shopping center, so it is a great spot if you want to drag out a trip to the park into an all-day adventure.

Want to learn more about how a former Mission Viejo resident captivated the country with her Olympic exploits in the late 80’s? Click the video below for a quick trip down memory lane regarding the great ‘Flo-Jo’.

The exploits of Florence Joyner, memorialized at Mission Viejo’s Florence Joyner OIympiad Park.

Pavion Park and the Jeronimo Open Space

Our second choice is a two for one deal. Pavion Park and the Jeronimo Open Space are right next to each other and make for a great double threat. Pavion Park is directly adjacent to Philip Reilly Elementary School, so it never lacks for visitors. It’s got picnic tables, a soccer field and a large playground – all on a lovely tree lined street.

What gives it some extra bite is the fact that it is the last stop on the Oso Creek Trail, which winds through Mission Viejo for 5.5 miles, connecting wide ranging parks and amenities. As you head down the trail from Pavion Park the first thing you will encounter is the Jeronimo Open Space, which is a strip of preserved habitat surrounded by a trail. It makes for a great nature hike, (or bike ride), and some good exercise as well as there is no shortage of hills. Coyote sighting are common, so take care with small dogs at dawn and dusk.

La Paws Dog Park

Next on our list is the Law Paws Dog Park. Located off Felipe Road, and just a quick car ride from Pavion Park, La Paws is the place for Mission Viejo’s dogs to see and be seen. There are separate play sections for large and small dogs, and a third individual playpen available for single dog use. Once inside the pens the dogs are welcome to roam free without leashes, and there is no shortage of fun to be had. (Bring your favorite ball…) One important thing to remember is that the park is closed from 7 am to 1 pm every Thursday for maintenance, but otherwise is available from 7 am to 8 pm every day. Don’t forget to clean up after your pet please…

A dog jumps playfully, like you might see at La Paws Park in Mission Viejo, CA.

Lake Mission Viejo

No list of parks in Mission Viejo would be complete without Lake Mission Viejo, the most well-known park and recreation area in the community. It is more than just a park, there are also two beach areas, a concert stage, food vendors, ample opportunities for boating and fishing, and even free Wi-Fi. The Upper Picnic area is available for rental for large scale events, and the Summer Concert series is certainly one of the highlights of living in Mission Viejo. Entry to the lake is limited to Lake Mission Viejo Association members (which includes nearly everyone who lives in Mission Viejo) and their guests.

For more information on all of the great activities and events at Lake Mission Viejo, check out their website here.

So there you have it. For our money those are the 4 best parks in Mission Viejo. (Arguably 5 depending if you count Pavion Park and the Jeronimo Open Space as 1 or 2 parks.) Do you know of a great park that you think we should have included? Drop a message in the comments!

Interested in learning more about life in Orange County? Here is a great place to start – Our List of the Best Hiking Trails in Orange County, CA.

One of the other great things about Mission Viejo is our vibrant business community. My OC Bookkeeper is proud to be a part of that community, and provides accounting, bookkeeping, and business advisory services to companies throughout Orange County – although our favorite clients are right here in Mission Viejo. Reach out to use today and let’s do great things together.

Want to learn more about life in Mission Viejo, CA? Check out the great video below from the great team over at the Living In Orange County YouTube channel.