Great California Family Vacations
There are many great family vacations in both northern and southern California that are affordable and fun. Enjoy beaches, theme parks, museums and more!
When planning a trip to California, the first thing is to figure out how long your vacation will be; As California is such a large state and there are a multitude of activities to do, one consideration is to focus on a certain area of California and build your vacation around that.
Family Vacations in Northern California
Located in northern California is the beautiful Lake Tahoe. During the winter families can ski, go sledding and enjoy snowball fights. In summertime, there are lots of great hiking trails, along with fun times to be had at the beach. There’s also a small family amusement park. Not far away is the historic Virginia City which brings to life the flavour of the old West, including mine tours and a scenic train ride.
Prefer something along the coast? Check out the Skunk Train in Fort Bragg. Enjoy a scenic journey through the redwoods. During summer months, barbecue dinners are available. About 133 miles south is the well known city of San Francisco. Lots of activities await on Fisherman’s Wharf including the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.
Families can ride a cable car, spend time at Golden Gate Park or enjoy hands on activities at the Exploratorium. Be sure to stop by Ghirardelli Square for some scrumptious chocolate.
California with Kids
Keeping inland, approximately 45 miles south of San Francisco is the city of San Jose. Fun for both young and old alike is the Tech Museum of Innovation. While there, have fun exploring and experiencing the newest cutting edge technology.
Another unique museum in the area is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium. A one-of-a-kind attraction in the area is the Winchester Mystery House. To keep angry spirits away; Sarah Winchester had round-the-clock construction done on the home. Doors open to nowhere. Stairs lead to the ceiling. This strange mansion could be interesting for older kids, but might be considered boring by younger ones.
Next to San Jose is the city of Santa Clara: Located here is California’s Great America theme park. With everything from thrill rides, family rides and Planet Snoopy for younger kids, to exciting live shows, this theme park provides an exciting day for the entire family.
Heading back over to the coast from San Jose can lead you to Santa Cruz, where your family can enjoy the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Admission is free, while tickets for rides like the Giant Dipper; a wooden roller coaster built in 1924, can be purchased, as well as an all-day ride pass. Attractions include miniature golf and laser tag; you can also pack a picnic lunch, grab a blanket and some sand buckets, for some playtime at the beach.
Continuing down the coast, approximately 47 miles away is Monterey. One of the best attractions here is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Literally hours can be spent here visiting the different exhibits. Check out a giant octopus, seahorses, sea otters flamingos and more.
Southern California Family Vacations
There is plenty to keep families busy in Southern California; Let’s start with the theme parks. There’s Universal Studios which lets guests explore the magic of movie making. Take a behind-the-scenes tour or enjoy rides like Jurassic Park – The Ride and shows like Universal’s Animal Actors.
Not to be missed is Disneyland and California Adventure located in Anaheim. Plan on at least two days here in order to experience the multitude of rides and attractions. Keep the camera handy as there are many photo ops available, particularly with various Disney characters.
Nearby in Buena Park is Knott’s Berry Farm: Known for being America’s first theme park; Knotts has lots of fun rides and shows. Not far away in the city of Carlsbad is Legoland: This amusement park is great for younger children, although children over 12 might find it boring unless they are huge Lego fans.
Of course there are way more things to do in Southern California than just theme parks: For a unique beach experience, take the family to Venice Beach. With no admission charge, families can spend the entire day playing in the sun while taking dips into the Pacific Ocean. Check out Muscle Beach while you’re there and enjoy the various entertaining acts.
Another great California museum can be found in Santa Ana: The Taco Bell Discovery Science Center allows for a variety of unique experiences, such as lying on a bed of nails, playing virtual volleyball, and discovering what an earthquake really feels like.
Looking for Nighttime Entertainment?
Have some swashbuckling fun at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure; located in Buena Park, not far from Knott’s Berry Farm. Step back into the 11th century with a night of food and entertainment at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, also in Buena Park. If you prefer something a little quieter; there’s Merlin’s Magic and Comedy Dinner Theater, located in the city of Orange.
San Diego Family Vacations
Of course no planning for a family vacation in California would be complete without considering San Diego: Home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, where guests can experience narrated bus tours while exploring over 4,000 animals; San Diego also offers the well loved Seaworld. At Seaworld, explore the various marine life attractions, be entertained by live shows and be thrilled with rides like the Journey to Atlantis, which is a combination roller coaster and water ride.
View a real Apollo command module at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Explore some of California’s history at Balboa Park. Not far away in Escondido Is the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.
This is only the beginning of the fun families can have with a family vacation in California. Whether it be spending time outdoors, going wild at theme parks, or expanding the mind with museums; families are sure to have a blast with a California vacation.2015-09-25