10 Awesome Kid-Friendly Places in Southern California
If you are heading to the west coast for vacation, this list of kid-friendly places in Southern California will help. These 10 Awesome Places to Take Your Kids This Summer in Southern California will lead to amazing vacation memories!
The photo below is one I took in La Jolla, California which is in the San Diego area. We’re including a bonus spot to take kids to visit in La Jolla as we loved this area so much!When people think of Southern California, they usually think of beaches and Hollywood. But there is so much more to the bottom half of the Golden State. This list of kid-friendly places in Southern California is just the beginning of the amazing experiences just waiting there for you and your family.
Spend time wandering the beaches in San Diego before heading off to spend time on the rides at Legoland. Hang out with the wonderful animals at the San Diego Zoo, considered by many to be one of the best zoos in the world. And if your travels take you inland, to the mountains or high desert, you’ll find fun activities to please your family there, as well. When you vacation in Southern California, there is an adventure around every corner!
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo – San Diego, CA (San Diego Zoo)
My daughter in the photo below checking out the hippo who has the sweetest expression on its face. My daughter loved the hipposNo list of kid-friendly places in Southern California would be complete without the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This incredible animal park was voted the #1 Zoo in the world in 2015 by TripAdvisor, with good reason. If your kids love animals, this zoo is the ultimate experience. And before you visit, be sure to check out the zoo’s website where you can plan your trip to make sure your kids see all of their favourite animals!We went to the zoo during the summer and it was hot. Make sure to have hats, sunblock and sunglasses if you’re there in summer and lots of water. You can spend more than a day at the zoo, there’s a lot of walking involved so if you have little ones plan accordingly.
Zimmer Children’s Museum
Zimmer Children’s Museum – Los Angeles, CA (Zimmer Children’s Museum)
When vacationing with children, it can be challenging to find ways for kids to relax and play and burn off energy. While big tourist attractions can be fun, they can also be stressful for children. When there are a lot of crowds or long lines to deal with, it is stressful for adults, too. If your kids need some time to just be kids, the Zimmer Children’s Museum is one of the best kid-friendly places in Southern California. Every exhibit in this interactive museum is designed to be immersive, encouraging play while teaching your kids all about the world and how people can live together in peace and harmony. And if you are lucky enough to live near this museum, be sure to check out their large selection of Spring and Summer camps!
LegoLand California – San Diego, CA (LegoLand California)
If your kids love Legos and have always thought of them as just cool toys to play with, wait until they experience Legoland! One of the best kid-friendly places in Southern California, this incredible place takes Legos to a whole new level. There are water park rides and attractions, beautiful hotels, and even a huge aquarium experience where you can learn all about sea life! With so much to see and do, you may just want to take a few days to explore. And if you live in the San Diego area, be sure to check out their rates on an annual pass!
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica, CA (Santa Monica Pier)
If you are vacationing in Southern California, you are probably looking for a great opportunity to enjoy the beach. The Santa Monica Pier is a great way to enjoy the beach and so much more! There are awesome places to shop, a variety of special events going on throughout the year, and wonderful places to enjoy a wide range of delicious foods. There are even great places to stay overnight so you can spend a few days taking in all the sights and experiences.
Gold Rush Mining Adventures
Gold Rush Mining Adventures – Big Bear Lake, CA (Gold Rush Mining Adventures)
For vacationers, it can be exciting to realize that Southern California offers up a lot more than beaches. Head on up into the mountains to Big Bear Lake and you’ll feel like you’re in a completely different world. Not only is it beautiful, but you’ll find one of the best kid-friendly places in Southern California – the Gold Rush Mining Adventure! You and your kids can check out rocks, minerals and fossils from all around the world. Even better, you can learn all about looking for gold just like the old time miners used to do it. It’s like taking a trip back to the old west without having to give up your cell phone!
San Diego Natural History Museum
The Nat -San Diego Natural History Museum – San Diego, CA (San Diego Natural History Museum)
Whether your kids love animals, plants, dinosaurs, or all of the above, the San Diego Natural History Museum is the place to be. This amazing place, lovingly referred to as “The Nat”, is a place where the wonder of science comes to life all around you. If you are planning to visit, be sure to check out their website beforehand so you don’t miss any of their special events and upcoming exhibitions. And if you live in the San Diego area, be sure to check out all the wonderful ways you can get involved with this incredible place!
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament – Buena Park, CA (Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament)When vacationing with children, it isn’t often when you get a chance to keep the kids entertained while still finding a moment to relax. But when you make your way to Medieval Times, you get exactly that! Enter a world of knights and steeds and strenuous competitions involving sword fights and jousting and all kinds of other exciting things. As you watch and cheer for your favorite knight, you dine on a delicious meal. Kids will especially love the fact that at Medieval Times, it is considered proper to eat with your hands! (92)We all enjoyed Medieval Times, there were six of us in total, 4 adults and 2 kids and from the food to the show itself we had a good time. We were surprised at how much we liked it. Read our review of Medieval Times HERE.
Calico Ghost Town
Calico Ghost Town – Yermo, CA (Calico Ghost Town)
Located approximately 20-minutes Northeast from Barstow, Ca, you find the Mojave Desert ghost town of Calico. Once an active silver mining town in the late 1800’s, the ghost town was purchased by Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm fame) in the 1950s. This official California Historical Landmark is a lot of fun for kids and adults. Take a train ride around the town, enjoy a tour through the old Maggie Mine, or spend some time in the Mystery Shack where you can astound your own senses while watching water run uphill and brooms that balance at a slant!
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, CA (Knott’s Berry Farm)
Back in June of 1920, Knott’s Berry Farm was born. The 160-acre amusement park started off as a Boysenberry farm (and boysenberries world-wide can all trace their roots back to Knott’s Berry Farm!) Nowadays, this lovely former family farm is filled with thrill rides, family rides, and attractions designed to please even the tiniest tots. You can even stay in a nice hotel and enjoy a vast assortment of food. Knott’s Berry Farm is a truly delicious place to play!
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Escondido, CA (San Diego Zoo Safari Park)
If you and your family love animals, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an experience like no other. Choose from several types of safaris, depending on your finances and thrill levels. You can enjoy a leisurely ride through the park where you can watch the animals from a distance. Or get up close and personal on the caravan safari. As animals from Asia and Africa wander by, you’ll be feeding giraffes a tasty snack! If you’re really feeling adventurous, take a ride along a zip line through the trees or the physically challenging Jungle Ropes Safari where you can release your inner monkey.
BONUS for Kid-Friendly Places in Southern California- Check out the Seals & Sea Lions at the Children’s Pool
Guide to La Jolla Beaches – Okay it’s a beach but come on seals and sea lions and you can get see them quite close for free!
The hotel I stayed at recently in San Diego was a very short walk to this Children’s Pool (see below) that is now taken over be seals and sea lions. While the smell is not pleasant it is a sight to behold with all of these amazing creatures of the ocean to see them basking in the sun.This “Childrens Pool” that is not a sun bathing spot for seals and sea lions is close to downtown La Jolla and walking distance from La Jolla Cove. It is a small cove protected by a concrete breakwater wall which apparently was originally built as a safe swimming area for children. Obviously that has changed as the seals and sea lions claimed this beach area for themselves. It’s a fun spot to sea this marine life quite up close (you can’t touch them or get right up to them but you’re close). With so many kid-friendly places in Southern California to choose from, you’re sure to find a way to make your vacation travels an amazing success. Make your plans and pack your bags. Southern California is calling you!
If there are other Kid-Friendly Places in Southern California that your kiddos just LOVED, leave us a comment we’d love to know about them!
Travelling to Northern California? Make sure to check out our 10 Awesome Places To Take Your Kids This Summer In Northern California article.