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5 Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Orange County

As we all know, the school week is exhausting. After work, school, homework, sports, and extracurricular activities, things get hectic, and everyone is tired by the time Friday rolls around. That’s why it’s important to have some much needed, and deserved, family time — away from screens, where you can connect and unwind. What better way to connect than through nature and some light exercise? There are many local hiking trails that offer opportunities for some family-friendly adventures.

Peters Canyon

View from a high point in Peters Canyon

Peters Canyon sits at the cross streets of Jamboree and Canyon View in Orange. It’s home to the infamous hill known as “Big Red” and miles of easy to moderate trails. Because of the recent fires, some of the small trails are closed for recovery, but you’ll still find plenty of hikes to enjoy with the family. On a clear day, you can see out to the Pacific Ocean from the highest point. Peters Canyon provides excellent opportunities to teach children about indigenous plant and wildlife.

Santiago Oaks Regional Park

If your family is interested in something a little different from Peters Canyon, head up to Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Again, some trails may still be closed for fire recovery, but there is still plenty to see here. On any given day, you may encounter mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and equestrians. The natural beauty of the park is what causes so many people and animals to flock here. One trail has a fun creek crossing with man-made stones for you and your loved ones to hop, skip, jump, or walk across.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park spans across nearly 7,000 acres. And, for good reason, it is preserved to protect rare and endangered species like the California Gnatcatcher and Orange-Throated Whiptail. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has more than 40 miles of trails to keep you and your family busy for countless hours. Just remember to bring plenty of sun protection and water, as it can get quite hot despite it being next to the coast.

Crystal Cove State Park

Hiking trail at Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park can keep you and your family busy for an entire week — or just a day if that’s all you have. With camping options available, you can stay the night to enjoy a day of hiking on Saturday and a day of lounging on the beach on Sunday. Choose your trails carefully here — they can vary between short and easy to long and strenuous. Whether you opt to explore the lower or higher trails, you’re guaranteed a reprieve from the hustle of city life simply by making a short drive from your garage.

Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Hiking trail winds along the marsh, where you may see wildlife

Home to the light-footed clapper rail, brown pelican, Belding’s Savannah sparrow, and a few other rare or endangered species, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is a preferred site for birdwatching. But what does that have to do with hiking, you may ask? Imagine you’re hiking with your family and spot a sensitive species, a moment like that doesn’t come around often. And, to think, it happened just a quick drive from your home. Plus, the convenient location makes it a short drive to a delicious eatery of your choice!

With these five amazing outdoor destinations right in your backyard, decompressing with the family will be as easy as ever!

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”