If you have your heart set on apartments in south county OC, be sure to take a look at towns like Irvine, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest. Irvine is actually a fairly new city—it was incorporated in 1971. With a population of 212,793 people, it is a larger town, with plenty of amenities. There are 18 community parks, 35 neighborhood parks, 40.5 miles of off-street bike trails and 125 acres of sports fields in the city. In addition, Irvine is also home to the University of California at Irvine, which is one of the most respected institutes of higher education in the entire nation.
Mission Viejo was recently ranked as one of the safest cities in the nation—and the safest in the state. The community is not small, yet it offers a suburban feel. Lake Forest is the smallest of these three cities, but it still boasts a population of over 78,000 people. With 3,315 acres of open space and parks, this area offers a nice combination of atmosphere and amenities. The famed California beaches are only seven miles from here, and Los Angeles is just 45 miles away. Lake Forest is also the location of Serrano Creek and Aliso Creek Trails as well as the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.