The glitz and glamour of Hollywood is typically the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of out-of-state visitors when they think of California. Or the enchantment that is Disneyland. However, a trip to California offers so much more than just the beach to families. And because it’s California, driving is the primary mode of transportation.
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling in the winter, spring, or summer, or visiting California in the fall—the weather is wonderful all year round! These vacation ideas make terrific road trip destinations, too!
Which Location in California Receives the Most Tourists Each Year?
The number one tourist destination in all of California is Los Angeles. Hollywood, the attractions of downtown Los Angeles, and the city’s numerous restaurants that are known all over the world draw visitors to the city.
Is it a Suitable Place to Take the Family on Vacation to California?
There is much more to the state of California than simply Los Angeles and San Francisco, so make sure to get out of the major cities and hit the road for the most memorable vacation possible with your family.
The state is home to a number of different theme parks, including the illustrious Disneyland and Universal Studios, which are sure to be favorites among children.
The Best Places to Visit in California With Family
Creating wonderful memories is one of the main purposes of going on vacation with your family, and some of the most memorable times can be had in settings that are completely unexpected. If you are planning a trip with your children in the near future, consider including one of the following activities in your itinerary:
1. The City of Los Angeles
Numerous museums, nature centers, botanical gardens, and movie and television studios can be found inside Los Angeles and the 88 incorporated communities. Los Angeles County. In fact, Warner Bros. in Burbank provides an awesome behind-the-scenes studio tour that can be adapted to meet the requirements of any given group.
I like to get some exercise by riding my bike down the beach or trekking on one of the many routes in the Santa Monica Mountains (there’s even a vineyard up in those mountains).
The historic Griffith Observatory and the Los Angeles Zoo are both located in Griffith Park, which is not to be missed. Additionally, golfers are positive about the state of California’s abundance of golf courses.
Would it be appropriate to write a piece about family-friendly activities in California without mentioning Disneyland at least once? When I went there as a child, all of my fantasies came true, and then when Otis and Arlo were 3 and 5, we had the same experience for them (and I’m sure that we’ll go back there again!).
It is around 45 minutes away from the core of Los Angeles, and getting there successfully requires some advance preparation. You definitely don’t want your kids to spend the entire day grumpy and exhausted! This is a helpful piece about how to maximize your time at Disneyland with younger children, including toddlers and preschoolers. In addition, be sure to check out our guide to family-friendly activities in the Los Angeles area as well as our compilation of the city’s most kid-friendly hotels.
3. The San Diego Zoo (zoo)
I had always wanted to go to the real-life San Diego Zoo ever since I was a child and saw the cartoon Rainbow Brite goes to the San Diego Zoo (any other kids from the 1980s out there?!). At the age of 11, I was able to see that dream come true, and it exceeded all of my hopes.
It continues to be one of the best zoos in the world and is currently home to about 4,000 different species of animals. It ranks high on the list of recommended activities for children in the state of California.
4. The Boardwalk at Santa Cruz Beach
The world-famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has appeared in several movies as a setting for various scenarios. The traditional amusement park is located directly in front of the beach and boasts time-honored attractions such as a large dipper roller coaster and a spinning carousel.
In addition, you shouldn’t leave the boardwalk without sampling some of the traditional snacks like kettle corn, saltwater taffy, and deep-fried Twinkies. It is the most popular tourist destination in Santa Cruz.
5. Historic Park of the State of Columbia
In the event that you find yourself in the gold area of Tuolumne, make it a point to stop at Columbia State Historic Park. The gold rush town has been meticulously preserved, and visitors can get a feel for what life was like in the 1850s by spending time there.
There is a blacksmith, a candy store that sells handcrafted candies, a candle shop, and an old-fashioned bowling alley among the historic functional enterprises that are located here. In addition, there are guides who are dressed in the style of the era between 1850 and 1870.
6. The National Park of Lassen Volcanic
Lassen Volcanic National Park is considered California’s equivalent to Yellowstone National Park. Geysers, fumaroles, and mud springs are all found within it, and Lassen Peak, the largest volcanic dome in the world, sits atop it.
There are many different hiking trails, and some of them are designed specifically for hikers as young as toddlers. The Devastated Area Interpretative Trail, the Lily Pod Nature Loop, and the loop around Manzanita Lake are the three trails that are the least difficult of the bunch.
Other interesting possibilities are the conveniently accessible Sulphur Works (where it is possible to see fumaroles from the car park), as well as the well-known Bumpass Hell route, which is a leisurely three-mile climb that takes you past bubbling mud and turquoise pools. Both of these trails are excellent choices.
7. Pier, Santa Monica
Santa Monica, located just a short distance up the coast from Venice Beach, is home to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. It is home to a famous Ferris wheel and roller coaster, in addition to a wide variety of other attractions and amusement games that children will enjoy. It is widely regarded as one of the best family destinations in the state of California.
The beach in Santa Monica is also very beautiful, and there is a little playground right next to the pier for children to use. There is a smaller aquarium located under the pier, but if you want to see more marine life, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a far better option.
8. Monterey Bay Aquarium
It is possible that the world-class aquarium in Monterey is the single most well-known attraction in the city. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is unquestionably one of the top aquariums in the entire globe. The highlights for me were the kelp forest, the enormous open water tank, and the jellyfish.
Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf are both worthwhile destinations to check out if you are already there. It is widely considered to be one of the best destinations in the state for families.
9. Legoland, California
LEGOLAND The state of California possesses all of the characteristics that are typical of LEGOLANDS found all around the world, including driving schools at which children are given the opportunity to navigate the park in miniature cars and earn their very own LEGOLAND license.
It is one of my favorite memories from my youth, and it has become a tradition that children all across the world participate in.
10. The State Park of Crystal Cove
Crystal Cove State Park is an excellent site to explore the beauty of Laguna Beach since it features three miles of coastline, sandy beaches, and wooded valleys. The park is called Crystal Cove.
It is a great location for activities such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, surfing, and scuba diving. The waves are typically not too strong in California, making it an excellent destination for families, and there are a number of tide pools to explore.
Northern California is one of the most beautiful areas in the United States to have a vacation with your family. Every location on this list has something special to offer each and every traveler, and regardless of how often one travels to any one location, there are always new and exciting things to discover there.
This region never fails to provide, whether a traveler is looking for the ideal spot for a day trip, a weekend escape, or a place to call home for a longer amount of time.