Laguna Niguel is an affluent, master planned community located in the coastal San Joaquin Hills of southern Orange County, California. The name Laguna Niguel is derived from the words “Laguna”… Spanish for “lagoon”, and “Nigueli”… the name of a Juaneño Indian village once located near Aliso Creek. The population increased from 61,891 based on the year 2000 census, to 62,979 in 2010. Laguna Niguel is bordered by Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, and Aliso Viejo. Housing in the area includes condominiums and large mansions overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Laguna Niguel occupies a hilly basin near the southern end of the San Joaquin Hills, a small coastal mountain range in southern Orange County. On the west is 650-foot (200 m) Niguel Hill, which separates the city from Aliso Canyon, an immense gorge cut by Aliso Creek, one of the county’s primary watercourses. The Aliso Canyon area is home to Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park, a large wilderness area in the southern county. Although the creek itself only brushes the northwestern border of the city, a major tributary, Sulphur Creek, drains most of northern Laguna Niguel. Sulphur Creek runs through Crown Valley in eastern Laguna Niguel, Crown Valley Park, Laguna Niguel Regional Park and Sulphur Creek Reservoir (Laguna Niguel Lake). The two parks and the lake lie just north of the geographic center of the city.
Crown Valley and Alicia Parkways are the primary thoroughfares in the city. Crown Valley Parkway runs along Sulphur Creek and the northern fork of Salt Creek, bisecting the city northeast to southwest. Alicia Parkway, mostly a north-south road, follows Aliso Creek to where it joins Crown Valley Parkway in close proximity to Crown Valley Park and the city center. California State Route 73 runs north of the city, diverging from Interstate 5 just northeast of Laguna Niguel. Moulton Parkway/Street of the Golden Lantern runs along the eastern boundary of Laguna Niguel. Pacific Island Drive/Camino del Avión follow parts of the west and south boundaries, respectively. Another major road, Niguel Road, runs roughly parallel and east of Crown Valley Parkway along the Salt Creek canyon. Marina Hills Drive is the largest crossing between Niguel Road and Golden Lantern, and Aliso Creek Road runs east-west through northern Laguna Niguel.
The city is served by the Capistrano Unified School District.