During California’s Rancho period, Juan Avila, once a “judge of the plains,” was the grantee and owner of a vast, more than 13,300-acre ranch called Rancho Niguel. Part of this land is what we now know today as Laguna Niguel.
Laguna Niguel is located less than 5 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, in the San Joaquin Hills of Orange County. Its name comes from the Spanish word for lagoon (laguna) and the word “Nigueli,” which once referred to a Juañeno Indian village along Aliso Creek. After the Rancho period, Rancho Niguel changed ownership several times before a portion of it was developed into one of the first master planned communities in California.
It all began in 1959 with the Laguna Niguel Corporation, founded by Cabot, Cabot & Forbes. Victor Gruen and Associates were hired to develop a community plan, and this plan was later continued by Avco Community Developers. Laguna Niguel was incorporated in 1989 and it became the 29th city in Orange County.
The Laguna Niguel of today boasts magnificent views of the ocean and the surrounding canyons. More than a third of the city’s area is designated open space and its 64,000 residents enjoy pleasant weather all throughout the year, which enables them to make the most out of the community’s numerous parks. Many homes here are conveniently located near forest reserves and regional parks.
Laguna Niguel features several affluent and exclusive gated communities such as Bear Brand Ranch, South Peak, Ocean Ranch, and Niguel Coast.
Chet Holifield Federal Building. Originally built for Rockwell International by architect William Pereira, this one-million square-foot building modeled after ancient Mesopotamian ziggurats houses millions of documents and land agreements between the Indian tribes that lived in southwest United States and the American government. This building also houses the Internal Revenue Service and the western division of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Niguel Botanical Preserve. Originally a small community garden, residents and tourists alike are free to enjoy this 18-acre botanical garden located within the Crown Valley Community Park. This botanical garden displays different plants from different parts of the world such as Australia, Africa, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. Walking trails are available to visitors.
Laguna Niguel Skate & Soccer Park. Skateboard and soccer enthusiasts rejoice! Featuring a 20,000 square foot concrete skateboard park and a synthetic grass soccer field, this park offers plenty of space for skaters and soccer players to play and practice. The soccer field is usable all year round, while the skateboard park has plenty of features that will surely challenge all skaters from different skill levels.
Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park. Visitors can hike and camp in this beautiful area located south of the Laguna Greenbelt. Featuring a large wilderness area, the park has a refreshingly bucolic atmosphere. Day trippers and campers can also choose to check out the petroglyphs etched by early Native Americans within the regional park. This 4,500-acre wildlife sanctuary has sycamores and mature oaks as well as over 30 miles of hiking trails. Plenty of rare plants and animals have made Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park their home.
Things to Do
With more than a third of this master-planned community turned city designated as open space, there are plenty of things to do in Laguna Niguel. There are a multitude of parks for its residents to enjoy and even dogs have their own park where they can meet and play with their canine fellows.
Anglers and fishing enthusiasts should head to Laguna Niguel Lake, located within the grounds of Laguna Niguel Regional Park. Regularly stocked with thousands of bass and trout, this 44-acre lake is a fishing enthusiast’s paradise. Those who want to enjoy the calm of the lake can also rent boats, fishing poles, and float tubes. Visitors can get their competitive side on and play tennis or volleyball against friends and family in Laguna Niguel Regional Park. Fitness buffs can jog and bike on the several well-marked trails throughout the park.
Skating enthusiasts can channel their inner Tony Hawk at Laguna Niguel’s Skate & Soccer Park. Different areas for different levels of skill are available, and skaters will be able to test their prowess and determine if they can advance to the next level. You can play soccer on the other side of the park and younger residents often form teams with their best buds and play against other teams.
Many residents feel extremely lucky to own a home in Laguna Niguel. The city consistently ranks as one of the most expensive communities not only in California, but in America. This upscale community offers potential home buyers plenty of opportunities and options that will surely accommodate anything in their wish list.
Home to 23 neighborhoods, prospective buyers are awarded the opportunity to take their time and discover each neighborhood until they finally find one that suits their wants, needs, and lifestyle. Beautiful, newly-built homes are listed, along with homes that have been remodeled and revitalized, ready to welcome the next family to move in. Architectural styles range from cozy Mediterranean-inspired homes to sprawling estate properties.
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