Family Friendly Neighborhoods in Coastal Orange County

Mark Taylor & Dylan Mason, Compass


hen people think of coastal Orange County; they see palm trees and picturesque ocean beaches. But on top of the scenery, there are also great schools, parks and ample opportunity for recreation, making it an ideal place to raise a family. Want to take the kids hiking in the hills or to a play date at the beach? You don’t have to choose, do both if you like. Crime is low, the neighborhoods are safe, and the San Diego and Los Angeles metropolitan areas are close, but not too close. Given this information, we asked this question to Mark Taylor and Dylan Mason with Compass: Where is the best place to settle in coastal Orange County? When looking for a place to call home, it’s always critical to find an agent who knows where you’re coming from and what you’re looking for. Mark Taylor and Dylan Mason with Compass are the duo that’s up to the task.

Taylor and Mason met in 2010 and realized they shared the same goals and ambition for success. After assisting top producing agents and completing mentorships, they decided to venture out together. Over the course of seven years, they doggedly established themselves on the upper echelon Orange County real estate scene through their hard work and dedication to relationships, a fact that they both are extremely proud of.  They now live with their families in Costa Mesa and have hired a junior agent and full-time director of operations. When assisting prospective buyers, Mason says, “We don’t try to dictate what somebody wants, we try to listen and see where they’re drawn to.”

From left to right: Erin Genzano, Dylan Mason, Mark Taylor and Andrew Shortt.

Corona Del Mar

Cameo Highlands – Flower Streets of Corona del Mar


orona del Mar lives up to its name as the Crown of the Sea, offering luxurious amenities, like access to destination shopping at Fashion Island, while also maintaining a connection to the natural beauty of the coast. Crystal Cove State Park is just a five-minute drive down PCH and offers incredible trails in the San Joaquin Hills and vibrant tide pools to explore with the kids.

The impeccably landscaped “flower streets” in the Village in Corona del Mar comprise of single family residences, in addition to front and back condominium units. Every evening, its wide sidewalks are flush with families walking to grab a bite or just watch the sunset at Lookout Point.

“The accessibility of having no gated communities is a big draw for certain families. They want the freedom to have a home be remodeled or built to their standards. Another value is proximity to the beaches; there are a lot of places you can walk or ride a golf car to, plus the ocean view itself.” – Dylan Mason

At the southern end of CDM, Cameo Highlands features wide streets, and an authentic neighborhood feel at a lower cost, with adjacent parkland and  close-by schools.

“Cameo Highlands is affordable when you compare it to similar lot sizes, views and property conditions. That’s going to be one of the better values in Newport Beach or CDM without a doubt.” – Dylan Mason

Goldenrod Footbridge
Goldenrod Footbridge

Newport Beach

Newport Heights – Dover Shores – Port Streets – Sea Island


ewport Beach boasts quick and easy access to the freeway system via SR-55, as well as nearby sand and surf on the Balboa Peninsula. Premium shopping destinations are always within reach. The Back Bay Loop Trail is an excellent resource to enjoy nature and take the family on a bike ride. With several of its elementary schools ranked 9 or 10 by GreatSchools, the quality of its education system makes it top tier.

Dover Shores has the best of both worlds because it borders the Upper Newport Bay and has direct access to Harbor View High School.

Dover Shores is one of the few neighborhoods that offers larger lots – it’s not a planned grid like the majority of Newport Beach, it’s more of an eclectic mix. These are big plots of land; you can have a large 3 to 4,000 square foot, single-level home and still have a decent sized backyard.” – Mark Taylor

In Newport Heights, families can enjoy multiple parks and entertainment venues like the Newport Heights Theatre Arts Center.

In Newport Heights, Newport Heights Elementary, Ensign Jr High, and Newport Harbor High School are right there within the community, so you don’t need to cross any major streets to get there.” – Mark Taylor

The Port Streets stand out due to the owners’ freedom to customize their homes, giving each property its own personality. A homeowner’s association provides two community clubhouses, including pools that every resident has access to.

On the east side of the bay, you have one of the biggest family neighborhoods in Newport Beach, Harbor View Homes, AKA, Port Streets. That community offers Andersen Elementary School, and you have to live in the Port Streets to attend this school. In the last five to ten years, it’s grown. A mixed-use of families and developers are customizing dream homes. The lot sizes are pretty generous, they’re averaging north of 6,500 square feet. With the two-story home, you still have ample space for a pool and/or entertaining space.” – Mark Taylor

Located off main thoroughfare Jamboree Road, Sea Island is a guarded and gated community made of two and three bedroom condos that edge the Newport Beach Country Club golf course.

Newport Pier
Newport Pier

Costa Mesa

Eastside Costa Mesa – Mesa Verde


n recent years, Costa Mesa has undertaken the process to reinvent itself, focusing on creating a brand that rivals neighboring cities. During this period, more and more people are recognizing it’s exciting dining scene, well-maintained parks and the upside potential for raising a family. “

The proximity to the beach is exactly the same as Newport Beach – it’s just a different address. I think what people realize now in the younger generations is they don’t have to have a Newport Beach address. They’re living the same lifestyle for a better value, and still are right there with all the amenities that other people have.” – Dylan Mason

Known for spacious, tree-lined streets and attractive craftsman style homes, Eastside Costa Mesa has made a name by presenting opulent shopping locales like South Coast Plaza and access to highly rated schools, in a more available price range.

“Eastside Costa Mesa is like Brooklyn to New York’s Manhattan as far as the affordability. A lot of people over the past ten years have gone over there and fixed up the properties and as a result, the schools, which were already good, are getting better. The convenient shopping and nearby restaurants are really being revamped.” – Dylan Mason

An up and coming neighborhood on the western edge of Costa Mesa is Mesa Verde, and larger lot sizes on accessible streets undoubtedly contribute to its allure.

One of the neighborhoods that we’ve fallen in love with is Mesa Verde. It surrounds the Mesa Verde Country Club and has access to the 405 off of Harbor. We have a lot of people going from ECM to there to spend on average a million dollars, but they’re getting a single family residence, a larger lot and maybe a pool on a safe street.” – Dylan Mason

“The schools over there are really trying to recruit the families within Mesa Verde to start attending the schools. They’ve now had two consecutive years where there has been on average an 8% increase of kids within the community going to the schools.” – Mark Taylor

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

For more information on these family-friendly neighborhoods and available listings, reach out to Mark or Dylan.

Mark Taylor: | Mobile: 949.335.8698

Dylan | Mobile: 949.294.7832 | Office: 949.438.4340


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