From breathtaking beach towns to big name amusement parks, Orange County is bustling with activity. We’re not L.A. (that’s good!) but being just about an hour away means traffic, city noise, and all the stress that goes along with those things.
But, what tourists and locals may not realize is that there are also peaceful parts to Orange County. These spots can provide a calming oasis to the daily grind, so if you’re feeling like you need a peaceful place to get away from it all, here are my picks:
Oak Canyon Nature Center
Located in the Anaheim hills, the Oak Canyon Nature Center offers 58 acres of natural park space to enjoy. Whether you want to take a short walk and sit and enjoy nature or are looking for a more invigorating hike, the Oak Canyon Nature Center is a great choice. No skateboards, bicycles or pets are allowed, so there is nothing to stand in your way of much-needed peace and tranquility. The park grounds and trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades
Lake Shrine is part of the Self-Realization Fellowship that was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. The goal here is to find peace of heart and mind. When you visit, you can spend time in the lakeside Meditation Garden; this is a place people come to for reflection and quiet prayer.
If you’re not into meditation, you can enjoy the beauty of the lake and gardens as you walk the peaceful paths. There are benches where you can sit and rest; remember to silence your phone and leave loud conversations behind.
Oh, and if you happen to be farther south, there is also a Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas that has internationally renowned gardens offering a diversity of colorful plants, meditation nooks, koi ponds, and spectacular ocean vistas!
El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach
Photo: El Dorado Nature Center/Facebook
Offering a natural habitat, the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach is located near the San Gabriel River and the 605 Freeway. It’s a little piece of nature in the middle of the city! Two miles of dirt trails and a ¼ mile paved trail wrap around two lakes and a stream. There are several great spots to just sit and take in all that nature has to offer. The 105 acres that the Nature Center is situated upon also offers a sanctuary for plant and animal life. If you want to learn more you can also check out the Visitor Center on site.
Photo: Fullerton Arboretum/Facebook
The Fullerton Arboretum boasts 26 acres of green space. Here you will find a museum and thousands of varieties of plant life, making it the largest botanical garden in Orange County. The Fullerton Arboretum is located on the California State University Fullerton campus.Stroll one of the many well-designed paths, and then take a break on a bench to take in all of the natural and beautiful sites. You can literally stop and smell the flowers!
With all the hustle and bustle that comes in everyday life, it’s nice to just give yourself a time out every now and again. Any one of these peaceful spots in Orange County will do the trick, giving your body and soul a mini-vacation.