Your Guide to Mission Viejo
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All You Need to Know About Lake Mission Viejo

Mission Viejo is the largest master-planned community not just in Orange County but in the whole USA. The city always steps up the game when it comes to recreation for its residents and guests. No wonder we now enjoy one of the greatest human-made recreation areas in Southern California, Lake Mission Viejo.

Lake Mission Viejo is the center for fun activities, leisure, and relaxation in the community located in the northern part of the city. The lake is 70 feet deep with an average depth of 35 feet.

It’s one of the largest human-made lakes in the state holding about 1.2 billion gallons of water. There’s also clean enough for water activities like fishing and swimming.

Do you want to know more about this awesome place? In this article, we’ll feature all you need to know about Lake Mission Viejo.


Making Lake Mission Viejo as it is now is no easy task. It took several efforts to turn a once arid canyon into a beautiful, blue lake where residents can enjoy a couple of activities.

The humanmade lake started its construction way back in October 1974. This was after the commission of Orange County Planning as well as the Board of Supervisors finally accepted the draft of the Environmental Report (EIR).

The California Department of Water Resources and the Division of Safety of Dams concurred with the construction. The construction encountered several feats, but Mission Viejo Co. made sure to conquer them all. Some issues include finances, taming the land, and finding a source of water to fill the hole.

The Mission Viejo Company dedicated Lake Mission Viejo to the Lake Association in March 1977. It’s a non-profit California corporation consisting of residential property owners within the boundaries of the planned community.

But after two years of continuous effort, Lake Mission Viejo opened its doors to the Association members on June 3, 1978.



As of April 1977, all new homes within Mission Viejo’s planned community include compulsory membership as an aspect of ownership in the Lake Mission Viejo Association.


The last community built in the master-planned community was Painted Trails with houses built in 2003. All of the homes under the Lake Association is a member.

As of November 2018, Mission Viejo has a total of 24, 995 homes within the association. Lake Mission Viejo Association was established as a Homeowner’s Association in 1977.

A house’s membership with LMVA is permanent, so you can’t cancel it. If you decide to sell your unit, the new owner will automatically be a member.


LMV is a 124-acre human-made lake formed by filling an earth-fill dam across the canyon of Oso Creek. There’s also 50 acres of land for other activities. This man-made lake in Orange County is well-maintained by the Lake Association. It owns and operates the lake amenities and other facilities.

Read on below to know more about the amenities in Lake Mission Viejo:


Within LMV’s area encloses two beaches where locals can enjoy a lot of outdoor activities. Two of the main beaches are Playa del Norte and Playa del Este with a few smaller beaches in the area. The Lake Mission Viejo lifeguards protect these large beaches. The beach area also has facilities like playgrounds and picnic areas.

Playa del Norte (North Beach) is the largest beach among all beaches in the recreation area. Most of the buildings are in this area of the recreation center.

You can also catch the Annual Jazz Fest/Taste of the Lake here. It’s open all year round. Its amenities include:

  • All You Need to Know About Lake
  • Basketball court
  • Volleyball court
  • Clubhouse
  • Boat rentals and launching
  • Snack Bar (Tony’s)

Playa del Este (East Beach) is the second largest beach in LMV. It’s the spillover beach throughout the summer season, a busy time for the lake. Unlike North Beach, East Beach is only open on Memorial Day to Labor Day. Its amenities include:

  • Beach area
  • Picnic Tables
  • Volleyball Court
  • Playground area
  • Upper picnic area

The upper picnic area in East Beach is available for rent the whole year except for Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. It can hold up to 125 people with seating for only 96.


Peak Season (mid-May until September): $250/day
Off-Peak Season (October until mid-May): $125/day

Market Dock

You can find the LMVA Market Dock beside the commercial site of Lake Mission Viejo. To access the Lakeside restaurants, retail shops, and other businesses, members can get a gate access key at the Lake Membership office.

The gate access key has a $5 nominal fee and a refundable deposit of $35. LMV members can dock their boats to dine or shop in the market dock.

The Clubhouse at LMVA

Lake members can host special events at the Clubhouse in Lake Mission Viejo. They can celebrate weddings, birthdays, family gathering, and other special occasions while adoring the panoramic lake views. The best sunset will also witness your celebrations.

The Clubhouse at LMVA is a 2,500 square-foot facility that can accommodate up to 376 people in assembly type or 170 people with tables. Tables and chairs are included.

Renting the clubhouse is exclusive for lake members. Email your clubhouse concerns to


Boat Rental in Lake Mission Viejo

One of the fun activities you can do here in Lake Mission Viejo is boating! There are several types of boat members can rent throughout the year for a reasonable fee. Boat activity on the Lake is limited until Playa del Norte facility is open. Here are the rental fleet available:

  • Row Boats or Electric Boats (6 people)
  • Pontoon Party Boats (10 people)
  • Sailboats
  • Watertrikes (Tandem)
  • Pedal Boats (2 or 4 people)
  • Kayaks (Single and Tandem)
  • Paddleboard
  • Fishing Pontoon
  • Elliptical SUP
  • Tera Sailboat

You will need to present your current and valid LMVA Membership card to be able to rent a boat. If in any case that you lost your card, you can visit the Membership office for a replacement.

Fishing in Lake Mission Viejo

Being a lake member gives you a lot of perks, just like fishing. Many locals along with their guests come by the lake to enjoy a relaxing afternoon fishing. The lake has different types of fishes including trout, bass, sunfish, tilapia, and catfish.

Lake Mission Viejo has a specially-designed fish habitat so one can experience better fishing. Lake members can fish at the designated area or from a rented boat in the lake.

LMVA protects the natural ecological balance by limiting specified types of baits allowed. If you don’t have bait and other fishing equipment, you can buy one at the Boat Rental Office.


Always display I.D cards while fishing.
Fishing activity is only permitted at times and designated areas in accordance with regulations and fees as established by the association.
For guests, they must first obtain a guest fishing pass and display it. They should be accompanied by their host member while fishing.
Swimming areas are prohibited from any fishing activity. The activity is also not allowed on the shore side of the red marker buoys of the Playa del Norte marina or any other so marked area.


Prepared – Stink baits, cheese, dough baits, marshmallows
Terrestrial invertebrates – worms, insects

  • Live aquatic baits
  • Animal products
  • Dog food
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Grains


It is possible to take any combination of FOUR fish per angler per day. Each angler must put their fish catch on their separate stringer. All fishing must stop when the limit is reached.
Trout fish may not be released.
Caught fishes, including trout, can only be given away when fishing is done. Fish recipients must stop fishing if they maxed out the four-fish limit.

Swimming in Lake Mission Viejo

LMV has beautiful beaches enclosed in the area. There are designated areas in the place where swimming is allowed in accordance with hours and conditions. Here are some things to remember if you want to go swimming in Lake Mission Viejo:

Swimming is not allowed in the Lake when no Lifeguard is available on duty.
Lifeguards may require proof of swimming ability.
Only float devices made from soft materials are allowed.
Hard objects are not allowed.
Trampolines are prohibited within the swimming area.
Large rafts or floatation devices are also prohibited.

Shop at Beach Bag in Lake Mission Viejo

Stop by and shop apparel for adults and kids at the Beach Bag in Lake Mission Viejo. There are jackets, plastic tumblers, and more interesting stuff for the whole family. Pick up a “Table-In-A-Bag” and enjoy your own table setting at the Symphony, Concerts or Movies in the Moonlight.

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