When news first broke about the possibility of quarantining because of the coronavirus, most people assumed that cities would be shut down for just a couple of months. You probably remember hearing people in the news claiming things such as, “everything should be taken care of just in time for summer.” But then summer hit, and it still seemed that little to no progress had been made.
At that point, people soon began to realize that there wouldn’t be any summer vacations this year -- a grim and unfortunate reality.
In truth, I don’t think too many people expected that we’d still be here almost a full year later in the exact same position.
But here we are.
Despite the fact that the coronavirus has left us sitting in our homes with many of our favorite shops and restaurants closed for the better part of this past year, living in Irvine and calling it home has been a major blessing.
Living in a city with some of the most beautiful natural areas across the country, the pandemic has allowed for many residents of Irvine to finally get outside and enjoy the outdoor paradise that they get to call home.
With that being said, the recent round of shutdowns in Southern California made it so that many of the best outdoor activities are either closed off completely or require following a certain set of rules and guidelines to avoid transmitting the virus.
So that you don’t show up to your favorite hike this weekend only to leave disappointed because it’s closed, we’ve put together a shortlist of fun activities that you can still do in Orange County right now.
Just to play it safe, it’s always best to follow the standard guidelines that suggest maintaining a distance of six feet, wear a mask when you can, and try to stay amongst family members in your household.
Now, let’s see what’s still open!
THINGS TO DO IN IRVINE
Trek through Bommer Canyon
Before it was a popular destination amongst hikers, bikers, and leisure walkers that go there for the incredible views overlooking the city, Bommer Canyon was one of the original ranches in Orange County.
At the moment, some of the popular trails are closed off while others have been adjusted for only one way foot traffic to limit physical contact, so it’s important to check out the news signs.
But, other than that, Bommer Canyon is one of the best places to go to during the shutdown, especially if you’re looking for a little bit of exercise outside in a gorgeous setting.
Catch the sunset at Crystal Cove
Exploring Crystal Cove might take you a couple of days because there are so many different things to do. If you like to spend time on the water, you can head to the beach and lay out by the beach or dive into the Pacific Ocean for a number of fun activities like swimming, surfing, or paddleboarding. Just make sure you stay for sundown so you can catch the beautiful sunsets that, for some reason, are even more amazing in Orange County.
If you’re looking for your daily dose of exercise, head to the other side of Crystal Cove, where multiple hiking trails are spread across the 2,400 acres of incredible natural beauty.
If you’d really like a challenge, take on the Perimeter of the Park Trail, a 9-mile long path that rewards you with a view overseeing the entire backcountry.
Pass the time in Palos Verdes
The Palos Verdes Nature Preserve features 1,400 acres and over 30 miles of trails for people of all experience levels. The park also includes 120 acres of nature along the coast that is home to some of the rarest California native plants, and if you head to the peak of Vista Del Norte, you’ll find yourself 1,300 feet above sea level looking out over all of it.
With just about every single trail overlooking the ocean all the way out to Catalina Island, we recommend exploring the tide pools at the Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve, where you’ll find Abalone Cove and Sacred Cove, two beaches that are home to some of the rarest and near-extinct shellfish in the world that live in the tide pools.