There has been an increase in gated community development across the country in recent years and South Orange County has plenty to choose from. Other than the security of the guarded or electronic gates, each one offers something special or unique behind the gates. Whether you are considering a townhome or a sprawling estate, you do not have to look far to find your perfect gated community. One of the most well-known gated communities in Orange County is Coto de Caza.
Rich with history, Coto de Caza is one of the largest gated communities in the country, encompassing just over 5000 acres of land. This exclusive South County enclave recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Originally claimed over 200 years ago by Spanish ranchers, it was sold in the 1930’s to Ernest Bryant Jr. and named Bryant Ranch. Once a vast, open space with live oak trees dotting the hillsides, a large population of deer, a few heads of cattle, and mountain lions, Bryant sold 5000 acres of land to a developer in 1963. Thus the Coto de Caza Development Corporation was founded. Holding on to its Spanish history, Coto de Caza translates to “hunting preserve”.
The community has undergone many transformations since its early years. Prior to being sold, it was a ranch and hunting preserve to the elite and famous. John Wayne and his family spent time here hunting and training horses. There was also a general store and a hunt club, which have both since closed. Another “fun fact” about Coto de Caza is that in 1984 the Olympic pentathlon was held in the equestrian center.
While now fully developed, Coto de Caza has maintained its’ country feel, and even today, some consider it a civilized version of “The Wild West” in Orange County. The extra ten minute commute from the 5 freeway offers gracious rewards when residents enter the gates into this upscale, yet close-knit community, harkening back to simpler times. Now, close to 15,000 residents call Coto De Caza home.
Coto de Caza – The Village
In the early 1970’s, the Coto Valley Country Club opened and the first home owner’s association was formed. This community is known as The Village. The Village in Coto De Caza gives a sense of true rural, country life, with narrow, winding roads, plenty of mature live oak trees, and many unique custom homes. The Village is home to an equestrian center, polo field, and the local dog park, Canine Corrals.
Coto de Caza- North Coto and Golf and Raquet Club
In the mid-1980’s, an 18 hole golf course was created, running down the middle of Coto de Caza, and is still considered to be one of the most difficult courses in Orange County . At this time, construction began on the first master planned development, primarily built along the golf course, becoming known as North Coto. By 1991, the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club was established and shortly thereafter, the south 18 hole golf course was built.
Coto De Caza – South Coto
By the mid 1990’s, the remaining home sites were sold to local builders and the completion of Coto de Caza wrapped up in the early 2000’s, creating South Coto.
Activities in Coto De Caza
There is so much to do in Coto de Caza. Residents and guests enjoy the annual 4th of July parade along Coto de Caza Drive, the EGGstravaganza Easter egg hunt, and the summer movies in the park. Summer concerts have included iconic artists, such as Three Dog Night, The Doobie Brothers, Pat Benetar, and KC and the Sunshine Band, to name just a few.
Hiking and walking trails abound in and around the community and Thomas F Riley Wilderness Park sits just outside the gates. There are tot lots and parks throughout Coto de Caza, including a beautiful sports park where you can watch local little league games or enjoy a game of basketball on one of several basketball courts.
Coto de Caza- Housing
No matter the size or style of home you are looking for, you will find it in the gated community of Coto de Caza.