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 at the 2000 census to 62,979 in 2010. The city of Dana Point to the south separates Laguna Niguel and the Pacific. On the east side, Laguna Niguel is separated from San Juan Capistrano by a significant ridge running along Trabuco Creek. To the north lie Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills. Laguna Niguel is also bordered by Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo.
Laguna Niguel is located on the Rancho Niguel Mexican land grant of Juan Avila. He retained ownership until 1865, when a severe drought killed off most of his cattle. Lewis Moulton, owner of the Moulton Company, bought the area of modern-day Laguna Niguel in 1895, along with significant other portions of the surrounding area from farmers that were hard pressed to earn a living due to a local drought in the area.
In 1959, the Laguna Niguel Corporation, started by Cabot, Cabot & Forbes from Boston, made Laguna Niguel one of the first master planned communities in California. Victor Gruen and Associates, a Vienna architect, developed a community plan for 7,100 acres (29 km2). The Avco Community Developer in 1969 continued the plan, which by then held 6,500 residents.
The construction of the San Diego, I-5, Freeway in 1959 allowed more people to arrive. The first communities developed in Laguna Niguel were right along the coast, touching the southern border of Laguna Beach. These communities were called Monarch Bay and the Monarch Bay Terrace built between 1960 and 1962.
In 1973, Laguna Niguel Regional Park opened, and in 1974 a one-million square-foot Zigguratbuilding was given to the United States government.
On December 1, 1989, Laguna Niguel became an incorporated city in Orange County and became its 29th city.
In 2012, Laguna Niguel’s very own McKayla Maroney made the London 2012 Olympic Games and secured a gold medal in team finals and silver in the vault finals. She is also known for her popular ‘not impressed’ face that she made in the vault finals medal ceremony, because she was favored to win gold.