If you want a home with a pool and a view that won't break your bank (like talking over $1,000,000 prices) then Laguna Niguel & Aliso Viejo will have what you are looking for, but the views are canyon/vista views, nothing of the ocean. Same in Ladera Ranch, however sections of Foothill Ranch & Rancho Santa Margarita will have peek-a-boo ocean views, with a pool, but the ocean is waaay in the distance. Even Costa Mesa (which is where you posted this) doesn't have any views, as it's mostly flat. In Newport Beach, "Eastbluff" neighborhood would possibly have pools (I am not sure if the homes there) and the ones near the edges of Upper Newport Bay may have a bay view. San Joaquin Hills neighborhood of Newport Beach/Newport Coast also will yield some really nice canyon views (but you are talking about over $1,000,000 I'm sure). A little further north in the Cowan Heights neighborhood of North Tustin boasts some incredible views and there are homes with pools... very eclectic neighborhood, custom homes, older area, one of my favorite in inland OC.
Obvious choices are any beach city (Dana Point, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach), but for a pool and a view in a beach city you are probably talking $1-2,000,000 for starters, in those last 3 city's more like $3-4,000,000 for starters). Granted I am not a real estate agent, so these price points could be a bit off.
Hope you are able to find what you are looking for, and if you are looking at south OC my own real estate agent was great and I'd be happy to pass along his info to you if you wish.
There are lots of nice neighborhoods of Irvine....but most are not going to have great views. I guess that depends on what you want in a view. There are some nice mountain views in Turtle Rock area and also up in Turtle Ridge, but a lot of Irvine is in a flat area of Orange County.
That said....many surrounding cities have some nice views and pools are fairly common. If you'd like....I can email you some sample listings so you can get a feel for what we have available? If that would be helpful....just shoot me an email and I'll send you some.
On another note....I spent a fun couple of years in Valley Forge when my kids were little...are you in Philly proper? Such a beautiful area! I'd love to work with you on your relocation!
As a buyers agent one of the most important things an agent can do is sit down with their clients and really find out what your needs are. I hear you are looking for a pool but I am wondering why that is important. I am also sure there are many other features to a home that would be important to you.
Let me know how I can help. I would really like to be able to work for you in finding a home that will really match what your needs are. I don't want to just throw random properties at you. After all you can do that yourself by looking online. Hiring an agent is important to help you weed through what does and does not work for you. You can contact me at (949) 294-7043. I will also attach my web site for you to look over or you can see me on facebook as well at http://www.facebook.com/TeddyzRealty
Irvine is the closest thing you will find to a planned community; it was started from the Irvine Ranch I believe, and not too many years ago. One of the newer cities in Orange County. The City takes care of most "common areas" so you will see city crews of landscapers out there almost every day. Consequently, it is one of the cleanest cities I've seen.
The subdivision we lived in had a lot of common area with multiple swimming pools and play areas; it was fantastic for a family. I would come home from work and hope over the low stone wall and walk thru the grass area to the pool area where everyone would be congregated. And I never had to clean the pool!
Irvine is near the intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 405 so you can get anywhere (relatively) quickly.
Invine is near the ocean, near Newport and Balboa beaches, not too far from Anaheim with Disneyland and the Angels. Great shopping malls.
Being farther south than LA, it get the first of the Santa Ana's which keep the air cleaner than most of the LA area.
I wish I could still afford to live there, and I wish you good luck in your quest.