Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground in San Clemente is part of the Vista Hermosa Aquatics Center and Sports Park. It’s a beautiful accessible playground where children of all abilities can play together.
It was built in two phases as the fundraising efforts of Courtney’s Sandcastle Foundation made each phase possible. Phase I was the playground and Phase II brought in the sensory garden including water features.
How to Get to Courtney’s SandCastle in San Clemente: Take Interstate 5 and exit at Avenida Vista Hermosa – turn towards the foothills and away from the ocean. The park is obvious with white adobe-like walls across from a massive Target store. Address: 987 Vista Hermosa, San Clemente. MAP TO COURTNEY’S SANDCASTLE
I love that all kids can play together with no child feeling left out. The entire playground is ramped and navigable by wheelchair — even up on the playground equipment!
Many of my friends will appreciate that the playground is entirely fenced, but it’s so big that you don’t even notice that it’s fenced off.
There’s a restroom building right inside the fence.
You can catch shade under the picnic shelter and lots of parents were even sitting in the shade underneath the raised ramps of the playground.
Whimsical feel with a pirate ship and castle play equipment. Lots of details, like interactive sensory boards and pedestals for jumping and balance.
My son loved climbing the big rock at the back of the playground.
The sand pit has diggers, a climb-on sea monster, and a sensory station.
Special accessible swings, bench swings and baby swings.
The sensory garden and water features are amazing — opened March 2015 (see photos below)!
Best time to beat the crowd: When it’s recreational swim at the pool (everyone is at the pool)! Busiest time to visit: Right after rec swim lets out!
Parking lot is shared by the sports park, so it could get busy on game days.
Watch where the sand gets scattered on the sidewalk — it’s slippery. I saw a little boy almost do the splits because he slide on the sand wearing his flip-flops.
Ground can get hot on hot days – so make sure little ones keep their shoes on. Not much shade on the playground, but there is a central covered picnic area where parents can sit to watch the kids.
- Dedicated free parking lot with plenty of spaces
- Play surface is recycled rubber with a separate sand box
- Restrooms at the playground
- Picnic tables under shade cover
- Link to the official Courtney’s SandCastle Foundation website with information on park rules and how to reserve for birthday parties
- Read more about the Vista Hermosa Aquatic Center and Sports Park
- Link to the official City of San Clemente page for Courtney’s SandCastle
More parks with universally accessible features in Orange County:
- My FULL LIST of Universally Accessible Playgrounds in Orange County
- All-Inclusive Beach Playground in Huntington Beach
- Box Canyon Park in Yorba Linda
- Cherry Park in Lake Forest
- Angel’s Playground in TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa
- Heritage Park in Irvine (accessible features)
- Northwood Community Park in Irvine (accessible features)
Courtney’s SandCastle Sensory Garden and Water Features
This garden and water features is the result of work by a huge community of supporters. It was very exciting to see it finally open in March 2015. The turning water ball is just beautiful.
The tide pool allows for touching the water and feeling shells, even from a wheelchair.
It’s a park for all senses even with some musical opportunities.
The City of San Clemente put together a great 10 minute tour of the garden. It really tells the story and honors those involved better than I ever could. Take 10 minutes to watch.
Originally published in August 2012.