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Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground & Sensory Garden in San Clemente

Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground & Sensory Garden in San Clemente

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

Courtney's Sandcastle Accessible Playground San Clemente - ramp

Highlights:

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)!

Courtney's Sandcastle Accessible Playground San Clemente - castle playground

Be Aware:

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.

Courtney's Sandcastle Accessible Playground San Clemente - accessible swing

Checklist:

large picnic shelter with red tiled roof and wooden beams

More parks with universally accessible features in Orange County:

sand area with sea monster sculpture and digger at Courtney's Sandcastle Accessible Playground San Clemente

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.

sensory garden fountain

The tide pool allows for touching the water and feeling shells, even from a wheelchair.

tidepool feature that looks just like a real tidepool at the beach

It’s a park for all senses even with some musical opportunities.

music instrument at wheelchair height

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.

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Lisa

Sunday 19th of August 2012

I went here with the family today and we all loved it! Even the changing tables in the restrooms are accessible - they are extra large and state that they can hold up to 400 pounds. Impressive!

Shannon Durr

Sunday 19th of August 2012

Went with the kids today, awesome park! They should have sprung for some canopies for the actual playground though. There is no shade except for the picnic areas.

Jill Parkin

Tuesday 14th of August 2012

We've been to that park and it is fun!

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