The 5 Best Parks in Irvine

A lovely picture of green trees surrounding a lake, much like you would see at a park in Irvine.

Our List of the Best Parks in Irvine, CA

Everyone in Orange County knows that Irvine is a great place to live, do business, or both. It’s one of the safest communities in the country (that’s the entire country), it’s home to the great University of California, Irvine, and its got a long list of great amenities – including all kinds of great parks. As fans of our blog likely know, we love parks, and just published a list of the best parks in Mission Viejo. (That’s where our home office is.) We had so much fun doing that we decided to follow it up with a list of the best parks in Irvine, CA. So, if you are a fan of parks, or Irvine, or just reading random things on the internet, strap yourself in and get ready for the definitive guide of the best parks in Irvine.

The Heritage Community Park

If you spend a lot of time in Irvine and you’ve never been to the Heritage Community Park then you’ve got some explaining to do. This is a crown jewel of a park. The list of amenities is literally too long to offer you here but includes 3 pools, 1 amphitheater, 3 basketball courts, 20 picnic tables, 22 BBQs (that’s 22 folks), 12 tennis courts, 2 children’s play areas, 2 racquetball courts, 3 soccer fields, 2 concession stands, electrical outlets, and oh yes, a lake, to name a few.

Throwing a party? You can also reserve the kitchen, lounge, craft room, picnic shelter, or gazebo at the Heritage Park Community Center which lives there as well. In fact, if you want to do so, just click here.

Believe it or not, the city of Irvine is actually in the process of trying to improve the park further and developing a new ‘master plan’. If you really want to drink deeply of this great park, you can get involved in the ongoing planning process – details available here.

The gazebo at the Heritage Community Park in Irvine, with a backdrop of the lake.
The Heritage Community Park in Irvine.

Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park

The Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park is another shining example of park-hood that resides in Irvine. This greenspace is named after Colonel Bill Barber who received the medal of honor for bravery for his actions in the Korean War and passed away in Irvine in 2002. (To learn more about the late great Colonel Barber take a look at his biography on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Website here.)

Clocking in at approximately 42 acres, this is quite a large park. There is no shortage of amenities either, which include soccer fields, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, batting cages, access to two local bike trails, restrooms, BBQs, multiple gardens, and an amphitheater, among others. The gardens, amphitheater, and picnic shelters are available for reservation, and you can find information on doing so here.

There’s literally nothing not to like about this park, so we hope to see you there next weekend.

Click below to see an interesting video about Colonel Barber’s heroics. Thank you so much sir. We are forever in your debt.

William R. Mason Regional Park

If you thought that the Colonel Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park was big you will be blown away by the William R. Mason Regional Park which spans a whopping 339 acres. In addition to BBQs, playgrounds, picnic areas, ball fields, volleyball fields and horseshoe pits, it offers well regarded hiking, biking and equestrian trails and a 123 acre ‘wilderness area’. Oh, and it also has a lake which is renowned for the omnipresent population of model boats.

This park represents the perfect combination of hiking activities and park activities and we plan to be there soon – hopefully you’ll be there to.

The bridge at the William Mason Regional park in Irvine.

Mike Ward Community Park

The next park on our list is the Mike Ward Community Park. While not quite as expansive as the other parks on this list, (it’s a mere 22 acres) this is a great spot to get some quiet downtime to unwind. The park boasts BBQs, picnic tables, basketball courts, a volleyball court, an amphitheater, and a lake – it is in Irvine, after all. One of the unique things about this park is that it doesn’t have any playgrounds, so if you are looking for a place to relax away from the kids for a while – this might just be the place for you.

It’s also known for its summer concert series, where you can enjoy a long list of great concerts every summer. Be sure to check out the City of Irvine website before heading out for one of these though, as some require tickets.

One of the Best Park System in the Country

The final park on our list isn’t even a park, it’s a ranking. The parks in Irvine are so great that they have been ranked as one of the top ten systems in the country on multiple occasions by the Trust for Public Land. Each year the Trust creates an index ranking the best park systems in the country based on variables including access, investment, amenities, acreage, and as of 2021, equity. Irvine scored 6th in 2019, and 7th in 2021. (They’ve probably ranked on other occasions as well but we can’t spend our entire day researching this article.) You can learn more about Irvine’s award in 2019 here, and their award in 2021 here.

There you have it, our favorite parks in Irvine, CA. You literally can’t go wrong with any of the parks on this list, and we hope that you find time to try out each and every one. Looking for more great parks? Take a look at the aforementioned list of our favorite parks in Mission Viejo. Or, for more cool info on Irvine check out our list of the best businesses in Irvine. (That one’s got some great footage of a Space X rocket landing…)

Think we are nuts because you have a totally different opinion of the best parks in Irvine? Shoot us a comment and let’s get to the bottom of it. We are open to persuasion and love a good discussion.

It’s not just the parks that make Irvine great – it’s also the thriving business environment. At My OC Bookkeeper we love nothing more than working with great Irvine businesses. So, if you’re a company in Irvine, (or anywhere in Southern California for that matter), and you’re in the market for a great bookkeeper or business advisory consultant then give us a call. We’re confident that we can help you achieve your boldest business dreams – and also more than happy to discuss your favorite local parks.

Final point: still hungry to learn even more about great parks in Irvine? Local realtor Regina Chen has some expertise to offer on the matter. Take a look at what she has to say about Irvine trails and Irvine parks in the video below. (Note: the trails come first, but we promise, the parks come after – and the trail info is great anyway.)