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San Juan Creek Park in San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Creek Park in San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Creek Park in San Juan Capistrano is a neighborhood park with a full shade cover tucked away at the end of San Juan Creek Road. This spot is close enough to the coast that it can enjoy some morning coolness and marine layer before the heat of the day.

If you are looking for more than this one park, you can go to my BIG list of 45+ Parks with Shade.

Location of San Juan Creek Park in San Juan Capistrano: The most direct way to get to this playground is to exit I-405 at Camino Capistrano (even though maps will try to route you onto Ortega Highway which is usually very busy). From the exit, you’ll hook up with San Juan Creek Road and drive past Plant Depot, the golf course, cross La Novia, and go past Ambuehl Elementary and stables. Eventually, you will see the little oasis of green lawn on your left. You’ll drive past the park and can turn left here to cross traffic and the bike path (look both ways) and enter a dusty and small parking lot. [Note: You’ll want to walk from the parking lot to the playground from the way you drove in. The horse path at the back of the parking lot does not link up with the playground path.] Park Address: 28411 San Juan Creek Rd, San Juan Capistrano. MAP TO SAN JUAN CREEK PARK IN SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO


The full shade cover is, of course, the biggest highlight of this playground.

It’s also rated as a 2-5 year old playground, which I know is appreciated by parents of younger kids.

It’s a feel-good park marked by the plaque dedicating the “Honey Tot Lot” in December 1996. It reads: Dedicated to the memory of “Honey”, beloved dog of resident Jack Gotfried, whose financial contribution made this tot lot possible.

There is a fun four-person teeter totter in addition to the play equipment.

Kids love to race down the double slides, but watch that drop!

It’s a very simple and small neighborhood park where caregivers can easily keep track of the kids without too much running around.

You can’t get to that double slide without climbing through the tunnel or climbing up the bubble steps.

There is a bit of a race car theme to the playground with a play panel at the entrance steps.

If you walk along the walking path leading from the playground, you’ll end up finding some hidden picnic tables (another spot you might want to knock down some spiderwebs). There are some that sit along the horse path that encircles the park, so you might get lucky with a horse sighting from the nearby stables.

Be Aware:

  • No restrooms.
  • Since this is a neighborhood park it opens at 8am and closes at sunset.
  • When I visited in Summer 2024, I noticed some spiderwebs on the equipment and that the wood chip level was low. So you might want to bring a little whisk broom to knock down those webs before you play and be aware of the drops off the slides that are a bit deeper than intended.
  • San Juan Creek Road does run next to this park, but since it’s a dead end road there isn’t a ton of traffic. The bike path is well-traveled by pedestrians and some fast bicycles. There is a pole fence separating the park from the bike path and road.
  • Parks around San Juan Capistrano generally have a “Wilderness Warning.”
    • “Parks, Trails and Open Spaces may be adjacent to or part of a wilderness area characterized by certain inherent dangers. These dangers include, but are not limited to mountain lions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, poison oak and insects. YOUR SAFETY CANNOT BE GUARANTEED. STAY ALERT TO POTENTIAL DANGERS. Report Safety Hazards or Dangers to the City of San Juan Capistrano (949) 493-1171.”
  • No swings.


  • Parking in a free dirt lot just past the playground.
  • No restrooms
  • Play surface: wood chips
  • Picnic tables scattered throughout the park with 2 right next to the playground
  • Drinking fountain and dog water fountain right next to the playground, too
  • If you like taking kids to the nursery to see plants, Plant Depot is an awesome spot!
  • There is a place to play horseshoes here.
  • The City of San Juan Capistrano is maybe the worst city website for featuring parks and playgrounds. Information is only there as a function of making reservations, so at the time of writing this there is no official info posted about this park.
  • Nearest public library: San Juan Capistrano Public Library (part of OC Public Libraries) and closed Sundays.

Nearby parks: