Irvine’s Master-Planned Outdoor Respites are Increasingly Appreciated Assets Amid COVID-19

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

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For several years, Destination Irvine has recognized that Irvine’s master-planned outdoor space is an extraordinary asset for residents and visitors alike. Destination Irvine, the Greater Irvine Chamber’s destination marketing division, has actively promoted Irvine’s outdoor space. With its 16,500 acres of preserved natural habitats and wildlands offering 60+ miles hiking and biking trails, Irvine is differentiated from other Orange County cities, providing outdoor enthusiasts an alternative to surfing and beach activities. 

Amid social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, Irvine’s permanently preserved open space and extensive park system, including its gem the Orange County Great Park and sports facilities, are particularly sought-after respites.

“With its bold commitment to open space, Irvine is a place where people and nature co-exist," said Wendy Haase, vice president, Destination Irvine. "When promoting the city, this attribute resonates with visitors. Add our near perfect year-round weather, who wouldn’t want to get out and explore!”

Studies have shown that due to COVID-19, visitors are looking for even more activities away from crowds that allow for social distancing and provide fresh air. As preventative measures against the Coronavirus continue, Destination Irvine has further leveraged the uniqueness of Irvine’s open space through digital campaigns on TripAdvisor and Expedia, increasing traffic to and pay-per-click results. An “Outdoors” campaign led the charge in an increase in click through rates; not just a 6% increase year over year from July 2019, but up 102.6%. Users reaching the Destination Irvine website through those ads were highly engaged once on the site. 

Tech Meets Trek 

Known as a leading tech and life science powerhouse, Irvine surprises with the most low-tech open space in Orange County. 

The Trust of Public Land recently ranked the Irvine’s open space and parks as the best in Southern California, and the 10th best in the U.S., for the third straight year. Because of Irvine’s Master Plan, one-third of the city is preserved for outdoor recreation. That is five acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, making it one of the greenest cities in America. 

The historic Irvine Ranch has preserved large swaths of open space and nearly 40,000 acres designated as the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Protected from development, the “hotspot” of biodiversity is accessible for guided hikes, yoga, mountain biking, and more. The scenic landscape has been designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior for its preservation of critically important flora and fauna.

Bommer and Shady Canyons beckon walkers and hikers to stroll past ancient oak, sycamore groves, and rough rock outcrops.

The 2.8-acre Quail Hill Trailhead is an easy two-mile natural surface trail and is the only wilderness trail part of the Natural Landmarks that allows dogs.

The Mountains to Sea Trail takes you on a 22-mile journey starting in rugged, oak-filled Weir Canyon. The trail then takes you south toward the coast through five different cities and a portion of unincorporated Orange County – virtually guaranteeing that the only constant on this trek is an exhilarating change of scenery and topography. Walk, hike or bike from the Cleveland National Forest to the Pacific Ocean.

Additionally, San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary are comprised of more than 300 acres of restored coastal freshwater wetlands. Twelve miles of trails serve as an oasis for walkers, joggers, and birdwatchers as well as a living laboratory for students, teachers, and the public. The sanctuary is home to 100 different species of birds.

Click here to learn about Irvine’s outdoor space.

Category: Destination Irvine