It's easy to claim there's nothing to do in Mission Viejo because of its wide, expansive streets and absence of nightlife (except for you, Shooter's Saloon, you dingy gem, you!), but to call it bereft of fun activities just isn't true. The call to visit the Ol' Mission is in its scenic landscapes that hint at the chance to be one with nature through its many walking trails, hiking paths and parks.
The on-road trail known as Jeronimo Road that tangles through the Marguerite and Alicia parkways eventually leads to Oso Creek, which runs along Oso Viejo Community Park (24932 Veterans Way) where the kiddies play soccer or softball or kick it in the playground, while parents and families can cook at the available barbecue pits—and honestly, what says summer more than a family barbecue? While dad has his National Lampoon Vacation spirit on, go ahead and divert yourself with the nearby walking trail. If you choose to not partake in the grilling, there are plenty of grassy spots on which to spread your own picnic or just lie across the grass on a lazy day.
Marguerite Parkway will also lead you to various amusement facilities, including the Marguerite Tennis Center (23840 Marguerite Pkwy., 949-859-4348), the Marguerite Aquatics Center (27474 Casta Del Sol) and the Mission Viejo Family YMCA (27341 Trabuco Circle, 949-859-9622; ymcaoc.org/mv) all resting side by side like happy ducks in a pond. But if you're not interested in sporty physical fitness, the trail will eventually lead to a library, where you can stock up on some much-needed R and R: reading and relaxation. The trail also runs along Lake Mission Viejo, on whose shimmering waters the local parks and recreation center invites the public every month to enjoy a leisurely cruise. The nearby park also offers a sweet escape from civilization.
But let's say you're in for a more physical challenge. In that case, traversing through Tijeras Creek Loop Trail might be just the thing for you. Spinning off the Arroyo Trabuco walking trail, take a right turn at Tijeras Creek, and you'll find yourself on the Creek Trail along winding dirt roads that eventually lead to O'Neill Regional Park. It's a great spot for a picnic or, if you're so inclined, overnight camping.
For those truly rugged at heart, we salute your commitment to fitness and suggest as a reward a trip to the most delicious Mexican taco chain, Albertaco's (28171 Marguerite Pkwy., Ste. 26, 949-365-0695). You totally earned this California burrito, bro, so feel no guilt as you double up on the sour cream on your carne asada fries. You can head back out on the trail afterward to walk off that heavenly smorgasbord.
Aimee Murillo is calendar editor and frequently covers the Orange County DIY music scene, film, arts, Latino culture and currently pens the long-running column Trendzilla. Born, raised, and based in Santa Ana, she loves bad movies, punk shows, raising her plants, eating tacos, Selena, and puns.