What to Do in Mission Viejo, California

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I am currently in the Orange County area for a wedding that was located in San Clemente. Though I visit LA a lot to see my close friends, I’m not that familiar with the OC. I didn’t realize San Clemente was so far from Los Angeles that I couldn’t stay with my friend and chill in LA. So instead, I ended up staying around Mission Viejo at an AirBnB nearby.  

Transportation and Accommodations

I currently live in the Bay Area, but I found it a bit more difficult to book a flight to Santa Ana vs. LA last minute. Therefore I decided to take an overnight bus via Megabus from San Jose to Anaheim and then fly back up from Santa Ana. I must say I didn’t particularly enjoy the overnight bus. I have taken a bus down to LA many times, but usually it is quite empty when I ride it. This time it was packed, which made it a lot less comfortable. One guy was snoring super loudly so it made it hard to sleep! Next time, I would maybe do what my friend did and book to LAX (if no flights were good to Santa Ana) and book a rental car for $50/day. Because Mission Viejo and San Clemente both need cars to get around, it can be easier and more cost efficient to rent a car.

I got to Anaheim and took a Lyft to my AirBnB at Mission Viejo which cost around $30. I ended up forgetting my heels to the wedding so I decided to visit a nearby shopping mall, Shops of Mission Viejo to get new shoes. I got a $7 Lyft to and back from the mall, and afterwards, I took a $25 Lyft to San Clemente for the wedding.

Stuff to Do

So after the wedding, my AirBnB host actually showed me around Mission Viejo and Irvine the next day. People recommended hitting up Laguna Beach which is about 20 minutes away. The only thing I knew about that place was the MTV show I used to watch in Elementary or Middle School, haha.

Laguna Beach

laguna beach

I didn’t actually visit Laguna Beach, however. But I liked that Mission Viejo had access to 4-5 beaches 20 minutes away – it made me more inclined to live in Orange County!

Lake Mission Viejo

So aside from Shops of Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach, we decided to go to Lake Mission Viejo. It cost $3 for a guest pass, and it was pretty nice! The area contained beach volleyball, boats, a beach area to lay out on, an area you can reserve for events, and a bunch of houses along the coast that are easily worth a few million each.

I heard that it only costs $20-25/hour to rent a boat. If I lived in the area, I’m sure that would probably be a fun past-time with friends.

They also hold little concerts from time to time, and this area serves as the stage:

Afterwards we drove around and saw other activities people in the Mission Viejo suburbs like to visit for fun, including a super nice swimming pool that many people train at (and some of them have become Olympians), as well as the town bowling alley and other chill meetup spots.

Irvine Spectrum Center

We headed towards the Irvine Spectrum Center. The center was about 20 minutes away, but it was well worth the drive. Look how nice it was!

I honestly felt like I was at a theme park or something cause it was a lot larger than I had expected it, and there were tons of Christmas lights that made the experience more magical! I know it’s mainly just a shopping mall but I thought it was awesome regardless. Aside from shops, there were restaurants, bars, a movie theater, comedy club, a ferris wheel, merry go-round, and even a Dave and Buster’s: 

I obviously decided to check out D&B’s and play some games.

As Mission Viejo is basically a suburban area, it doesn’t have TOO many things to do, but if you love the beach and the chill life I’m sure you would enjoy staying in the area! I found Mission Viejo particularly relaxing. If you have other suggestions on where to visit let us know in the comments below!

Mission Viejo


Hey there! My name is Sharon. I quit my job in 2016 and have been traveling for about 2 years as a digital nomad! I own a few online businesses now that I can work on while being location independent. I am passionate about creating and living my ‘full potential’, and I believe travel is a crucial part in expanding your knowledge about the world and life.

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