When you think of Orange County, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm immediately come to mind for fun and entertainment. While these attractions provide hours of amusement, many health-minded individuals want some exercise worked in with their leisure pursuits. Of course, visiting gyms in Orange County, CA offers the most expedient, productive way to get a workout. However, the region offers many ways to enjoy one of the many popular attractions while still maintaining an active lifestyle.
While you may want to work out at one of the many local gyms, Heisler Park in Laguna Beach gives you the opportunity to hike while enjoying the lush greenery that sits above the main beach. You will enjoy stunning ocean views along with the County’s best people watching. You can access the beach from the cliffs, and – on a clear day, Catalina Island seemingly floats in the distance.
Along with picnic tables, barbecues and benches, the park has extensive grassy areas for relaxing and enjoying the views. After your hike or run on the beach, you can rest and take in the local color – such as artists painting, sunbathers, family and friends having a picnic, photographers, vacationers and an occasional wedding. At dusk, you can take a walk along the beach and enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano dates back over 230 years, and many groups have called this place home. The 10-acre grounds contain fountains, gardens and preserved adobe architecture – you can work up a little perspiration while exploring the extensive facilities. Mission San Juan Capistrano is a highly significant representation of cultural, historical and religious importance, and a stroll through the grounds will provide plenty of education, inspiration and some added fitness activity as well.
You and your entire family can visit this historic landmark and museum, with its budget-friendly activities that allow you to experience local history and culture in a wide variety of ways. Choose from educational tour books, audio tours, historical re-enactments and exhibits. You will gain a snapshot of mission history in California as you tour the museum’s exhibits throughout the gardens as well as in the preserved buildings. Most of the exhibits and events are included in the price of admission.
Huntington Beach Bike Trail
Huntington Beach has a fun, well-maintained nine-mile paved path that runs along the Pacific Coast Highway. Located on the west side of the highway and adjacent to the coast, this path is used by thousands of joggers, bicyclists and walkers every day. This scenic route, sometimes called the boardwalk or promenade, runs from Sunset Beach all the way to the Newport Peninsula. The one-way distance is approximately 12 miles, making it possible to get a 24-mile workout along the promenade. The trail connects to the Santa Ana River Trail, which runs all the way through to Featherly Park and Yorba Linda for an additional 32 miles one-way.
Roller bladers and bicyclists share the Huntington Beach boardwalk with pedestrians. If you walk along the trail, always be aware of those around you who might cross your path. State laws require helmets for children riding bicycles, and cyclists sharing the city streets to access the trail should travel in the same direction as the traffic. On occasion, inclement weather may make the trail a bit slippery or create wet spots and wind-blown sand. However, for outdoor exercise, the Huntington Beach Trail provides miles of stunning scenery.
If you want something other than one of these three options, Orange County offers extensive wilderness areas, endless beaches, and scenic vistas that you can visit all year. The OC Parks Department manages over 60,000 acres of nature preserves, wilderness parks, beaches and historical sites, so you can keep your fitness levels up and enjoy the sun and fun of the outdoors. You can easily find recreational sports such as a challenging bike trail, a stunning path for a run, and unlimited water sports just about anywhere in Orange County.