The City of Rancho Santa Margarita is pleased that you have chosen our community as your residence! This page is filled with some of the services that may be helpful to you as a resident in our wonderful city.

About the City
Welcome to the City of Rancho Santa Margarita. The City of Rancho Santa Margarita is a small urban community with a population of approximately 50,000 located in a unique natural setting. Rancho Santa Margarita incorporated on January 1, 2000, and became the 33rd City in Orange County.

In 2006, Money Magazine recognized Rancho Santa Margarita one of the best small towns for families in the United States.
Located in the heart of Saddleback Valley with mountains and lakes and easy access from anywhere in Orange County. The City was master-planned and offers the best amenities of a small City, while maintaining the natural landscape of the area. These complementary features have resulted in a high quality of life and enjoyment for the members of the community.

Rancho Santa Margarita contains approximately 13 square miles of land (or about 8,280 acres) within the City limits and 314 square miles within our immediately adjacent communities, including Coto de Caza. It is located about 10 miles northeast of the Pacific Ocean, in the foothills of the Santa Ana mountains. The community is accessed easily by the Foothill Transportation Corridor and Interstate 5 Freeway which extends to the north connects the community to Irvine, Orange, Anaheim, Yorba Linda and Corona/Riverside on the north and San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and San Clemente with easy access to San Diego County to the south. The City is adjacent to the cities of Mission Viejo and Lake Forest and the communities of Coto de Caza, Las Flores and Ladera Ranch.

View the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) interactive mapping to learn more about the location of the City.

Future Plans
Building upon the City’s history and upon the vision statement for the original Rancho Santa Margarita Planned Community, the Vision for the Future provides the foundation for the City’s long range land use plan. The long range land use plan is the sustaining basis for its goals, policies, and programs, and an expression of what the community wants to maintain or become. Rancho Santa Margarita is a small city with the soul of a village.

As the community looks toward the future, Rancho Santa Margarita will strive to ensure its small town village character is protected and enhanced by well-designed and well-maintained neighborhoods that complement the natural environment. The quality of environmental, open space, scenic resources, and our watershed shall be preserved to enhance the community’s distinct setting and natural beauty.

Other amenities such as Lake Santa Margarita, 24 parks, pools, community centers, and pedestrian/bicycle trails will also be protected and well-maintained to meet the needs of the community.

Culture & Demographics

The City is instilled with traditions that honor the heritage of our land. A mix of land uses and a balance of jobs and housing provide a planned community oasis in which people live, work, shop, and play. Community events and public gathering places promote a family-oriented community and encourage community spirit and participation. The City maintains a safe environment through a variety of community programs, law enforcement, and fire protection services.


In 2008 earned the honor from the FBI of being the 3rd safest City in Orange County and 6th safest City in California among cities between 20,000 and 100,000 in population. Rancho Santa Margarita has been recognized by the FBI as one of the safest cities in Orange County for 8 consecutive years. Quality educational programs and facilities are promoted through cooperation between the City and the school districts.

For More Information

Additional listings for the City and County services can be found throughout the City's website. For more information, please call 949-635-1800 and one of our staff members will be happy to help you.