You asked for the best toddler friendly parks in Orange County and you helped with making the list!
Finding a toddler playground that works for that age is tough. Mostly because playgrounds in general are only rated for 2-5 year olds or 5-12 year olds.
I think it’s become a need for parents lately because playground renovations are happening and tend to lean towards older kids and new horizontal climbing opportunities. I hear complaints about all those rope and netting components of new playgrounds! Those don’t feel as toddler-friendly and can make parents anxious.
As you go through the list just understand that it’s not always easy to know/remember if a playground is rated for 2-5 year olds. It’s not always posted – or if it is – I might have missed it on my visit. So the ones I’m sharing here are recommendations from parents and caregivers, plus ones I’ve liked in my own experiences, but please make your own risk assessment at any playground.
So beyond the playground safety rating what makes a park get on a toddler-friendly parks list? I had no idea when I started this project what that specifically includes, but I quickly figured out that baby swings and restrooms are pretty nice to have! And a mom named Marlene put it into words perfectly: “. . . and I don’t have to climb up behind her on everything.” Yes! That is what makes toddler playgrounds work for caregivers and kids!
Make sure you read to the end because I link to lists for:
Universally Accessible Parks
Petting Zoos & Animal Playgrounds
Parks for Train Lovers
Best Toddler Parks in Orange County
It is 100% based on opinion and I can't really advocate for playing on equipment that's above the posted age. Just keep in mind that you might not like them when you get there and they might not be a good fit for your toddler. It's up to you to decide if it's appropriate for your family.
The mom who recommended this said: "Yes, it's old AND sand BUT so many options for toddlers and I don't have to climb up behind her on everything. 1-2 hours of play." That sounds like a great recommendation!
Concourse Park also got a lot of recommendations from parents. I have spent extended amounts of time here! The playground is awesome. It does back up to Whiting Ranch, so there can be wildlife in the area - like coyotes. We've personally seen rattlesnakes in the grassy area at the back of the park.
Any playground that is built to be universally accessible is usually a good one for new walkers, as well, because there are ramps rather than steps. This park is so huge that you are bound to find something that works for your toddler.
When you walk in the gates to Bluebird Park, you see the big rocket ship and playground in front of you. But if you walk in the playground and go up a few steps to your left, you'll find playground for little kids and a trike track that are both loads of fun! Did I mention it also is enclosed with a fence?
2 baby swings and 2 bench swings right on little kid playground.
This toddler area is small on a playground that's built for bigger kids, but there are swings, a teeter totter, and small area with a slide and tunnel. Can't forget the big plane, too. Plus, the diggers are always popular!
More than one parent suggested this park and I know it's a favorite for those who live in the area. There are little spring riders and a nice compact little playground. Some complain it's dated, which it is. But others don't mind the classic feel because it means it's usually not too crowded!
This is a great community park in every sense because there is a recreation center, two tot lots, and fitness paths + trails near the park. Both tot lots have equipment suitable for toddlers. The one closer to the recreation center has the swings.
This one is good for toddlers because it is fenced and also the play equipment is closer to the ground. It is in LA County, but close for North OC families. The park is only open during posted hours and closed for rain.
Definitely a taller big kid structure, so you might only want to attempt if your toddler will stick to the smaller play structure? But a mom recommended as someplace she goes with her toddler, so I wanted to include here.
No baby swings.
2 bench swings.
Here are a few more parks that were recommended for the list, but aren’t on my blog.
And if you are just looking for a list of the best playgrounds in Orange County, I have a list of the Best Playgrounds in Orange County (by Feature). There are actually over 20 playgrounds in that post because I have my top picks, plus runner-ups. That post even has a checklist so you can have fun visiting and keeping track of your playground visits!