Neighborhood Spotlight: Rancho Mission Viejo, CA

With an emphasis on family and stewardship of the land, Rancho Mission Viejo is truly a unique Orange County gem. This collection of villages is nestled amongst thousands of acres of a working ranch and nature preserve and offers a living experience that is unmatched in Southern California.

Rancho Mission Viejo at a glance

Located in unincorporated South Orange County, Rancho Mission Viejo is an active ranch, farm, and reserve as well as a residential community. Situated on 23,000 acres, 17,000 of those acres have been set aside as a beautiful nature reserve. Two residential communities have been constructed, with more slated for completion through 2030.

Rancho Mission Viejo real estate and neighborhoods

Rancho Mission Viejo is the last working ranch in Orange County and has abundant citrus groves, creeks, and canyons. The community is comprised of mixed-use villages with one of the area’s most idyllic backdrops. Over the next 20 years, Rancho Mission Viejo — known as “The Ranch” — is expected to construct up to 14,000 homes including nearly 6,000 for active adults age 55 and older. There are currently two communities that have been completed — Sendero and Esencia. Other communities to be constructed include Rienda, TriPointe, Pulte, and Meritage. Rienda is expected to complete construction in spring 2022 and includes multi-story apartments, townhomes, and single-family residences. Homes in Rancho Mission Viejo come in a variety of architectural styles and sizes, from 700 square feet to upwards of 2,100 square feet.

Rancho Mission Viejo history

The history of Rancho Mission Viejo famously begins with a handshake between James Flood and Richard O’Neill, Sr. — both Irish immigrants. In 1882, they became partners of more than 200,000 acres of ranch land in San Diego and southern Orange County. In 1939, the families of Flood and O’Neill divided the land, with the San Diego portions going to the Flood family and the Orange County portions to the O’Neill family. In 1942, the U.S. Navy took control of the San Diego portion, turning it into Camp Pendleton. The remaining 52,000 acres in Orange County were controlled by Marguerite O’Neill, and in the 1960s the family and their partners established the Mission Viejo Company to develop 10,000 acres of the land. That company was sold in 1972, and over the next decades, the family helped to establish the communities of Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Mission Viejo. In 2004, they created a comprehensive plan for the remaining 23,000 acres, with 75 percent set aside for The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo and the other 25 percent developed into multiple villages. The first village, Sendero, opened in 2013.

Rancho Mission Viejo amenities

There is so much to discover in Rancho Mission Viejo! Outdoor adventures are abundant in The Ranch, including several parks, playgrounds, and trails. The Backyard is a 5.5-acre park loaded with play features for kids, while the South Paw Dog Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with your best friend. Esencia Sports Park includes multiple sports fields and a swimming pool for residents to enjoy. Go camping at the open-air camping retreat called The Campout, or enjoy a hike in nearby Oak Canyon.

Residents of Rancho Mission Viejo also enjoy many resort-style amenities. The Hilltop Club is the highest point in Esencia and offers a swimming pool, spa, and fire pits. Or hang out at The Canyon House, where you can grab a specialty coffee drink or enjoy arts and crafts in The Studio. Other places to enjoy activities and relaxation include The Garage, The Ranch House, The Outpost, and The South Plunge — a wonderful, family-friendly swim spot.

In the spirit of the ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo also offers farming experiences for the whole family. Learn the basics of farming at Esencia Farm, enjoy the beauty of the sustainable Sendero Farm, tend a raised bed of veggies at Gavilan Farm, or shop the eclectic mix of stores at Sendero Marketplace. Attend farming workshops, a wide variety of seasonal events, or get your hands dirty of one of the community gardens!

Rancho Mission Viejo schools

Students in Rancho Mission Viejo are served by the award-winning Capistrano Unified School District. The Esencia School serves students in kindergarten through 7th grade, with plans to extend to 8th grade. Older students attend Los Flores Middle School and Tesoro High School. There are also private schools available including Montessori Academy on the Ranch, St. John’s Episcopal School, Stoneybrooke Christian School, St. Junipero Serra Catholic School, Saint Margaret’s Episcopal School, Mission Basilica School, St. Margarita Catholic High School, JSerra Catholic High School, and Capistrano Valley Christian Schools.

Explore Rancho Mission Viejo today!

Are you ready to find out what makes this Orange County outpost such a special place? Then view available properties in Rancho Mission Viejo and schedule a private showing today!

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