Find a Perfect Family-Friendly Weekend Getaway Near Los Angeles!
Southern California is a land of endless possibilities, with its sun-kissed beaches, towering redwoods, and endless adventures waiting to be had. Whether you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or want to spend some quality time with your family, SoCal has you covered.
But let's face it, traveling with kids can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to finding fun activities for the whole family. That's why we've compiled a list of amazing weekend getaways near Los Angeles that are perfect for families and just a hop, skip, and jump away! So pack your bags, grab the kids, and get ready for a weekend full of memories that will last a lifetime. The adventures of Southern California await!
San Diego is a family-friendly paradise, offering endless sunshine, beautiful beaches, and a variety of activities that will keep everyone entertained. Whether you're looking to spend your time exploring the city's cultural and historical landmarks, getting up close with exotic animals, or just soaking up the sun on the beach, San Diego has something for you.
Here are the best activities to do with kids in San Diego:
San Diego Zoo: This world-renowned zoo features over 3,500 animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies. Visitors can see giant pandas, polar bears, and many other exotic animals.
Legoland California: This theme park is perfect for families with young children who love Legos. It features rides, shows, and attractions themed around Lego characters and sets.
Balboa Park: This 1,200-acre park is home to 17 museums, several performing arts venues, and gardens. It is a great place for families to spend a day exploring and learning.
SeaWorld San Diego: This marine theme park features shows and exhibits showcasing various sea creatures, including dolphins, sea lions, and orcas.
USS Midway Museum: This museum is housed in a retired aircraft carrier and offers a unique opportunity to explore the ship and learn about its history and the role it played in various conflicts.
Old Town San Diego: This historic district offers a glimpse into San Diego's early history with original adobe buildings, museums, shops, and restaurants.
Coronado Beach: This beautiful beach is located on Coronado Island, just across the bay from downtown San Diego. It offers gentle waves, soft sand, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park: This 1,800-acre wildlife sanctuary is located in the nearby town of Escondido and features open-field enclosures that simulate natural habitats for animals, including giraffes, rhinos, and cheetahs. Visitors can take a safari tour, watch animal shows, and learn about conservation efforts.
Find a Perfect Stay For Your Family Vacation!
San Diego Hotels
Paradise Point Resort & Spa: This family-friendly resort is located on a private island in Mission Bay and offers a variety of activities, including a beach, pools, and water sports.
Omni San Diego Hotel: This hotel is located in the heart of downtown San Diego and offers easy access to many of the city's attractions. It also features an outdoor pool with stunning views.
San Diego Mission Bay Resort: This family-friendly resort is located on Mission Bay and offers a variety of amenities. With a 4,000-square-foot outdoor pool area, spa and fitness center, five tennis courts, gift shop, restaurants, and poolside grills, you can find everything a family needs to have a splendid time at a resort.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar: This luxurious resort is located in the hills of northern San Diego and offers spacious rooms, a spa, a golf course, and several dining options. The resort also features a pool, tennis courts, and a Kids' Club program for children ages 5-12.
Bahia Resort Hotel: This family-friendly resort is located on Mission Bay and is a great place for the whole family to relax, socialize, and have an awesome time. There are unlimited options for you and your family to spend your days from water activities, tennis courts, playground, Beach Bonfire & Smores, cruise ship, movie nights, and more, you can find at Bahia Resort.
Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa: This tropical-themed resort is located on Mission Bay and offers a variety of water activities, from kayaking, powerboats, and paddle boards, to sailing, surfing, and body boarding. The resort also features several dining options, a pool, and a spa.
Hotel Del Coronado: This iconic beachfront hotel is located on Coronado Island and offers stunning ocean views, spacious rooms, and a variety of dining options. The hotel also features several pools, a spa, and a Kids' Club program for children ages 4-12.
San Diego Restaurants
Campfire: This family-friendly restaurant in Carlsbad serves farm-to-table cuisine emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients. It features an outdoor patio with a cozy fire pit.
Extraordinary Desserts: This dessert shop in Little Italy offers an amazing selection of sweet treats, including cakes, cookies, and pastries.
Corvette Diner: This retro-themed diner in Liberty Station serves classic American fare and features a fun atmosphere with arcade games and 1950s decor.
Urban Plates: This healthy fast-casual restaurant chain serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, and bowls made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Palm Springs is known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses, and spas. Plam Spring is a great family getaway for swimming and water sports since the weather is fantastic for water activities. If you are not planning to stay at a resort all weekend long, there is so much to do for families to do in Palm Springs:
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: The world’s largest rotating tram car travels over two and one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens: Giraffes, mountain lions, zebras, and cheetahs are just a few incredible animals you can visit at The Living Desert.
Canyon Jeep Tours: Take an open-air Jeep Tour to the San Andreas Fault, Palm Springs Indian Canyons, or the majestic Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area.
Knott's Soak City Waterpark: Catch the perfect wave again and again on this simulated surfing machine or enjoy a 4-story interactive Family Funhouse with water slides at Knott's Soak City Waterpark.
Hot Air Ballooning: Take a ride in a colorful balloon above the Palm Springs Desert Resort area.
Palm Canyon Drive: Palm Canyon Drive is the very heart of the city of Palm Springs. Find shops, galleries, restaurants, and attractions that make Palm Canyon Drive a wonderful and memorable experience.
Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert: This creative museum is a real hit with kids, who find innumerable ways to keep busy among the various hands-on exhibits.
Agua Caliente Cultural Museum: This small free museum offers various cultural exhibits about the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians.
Palm Springs Air Museum: If your kids like airplanes, they will love this museum, whose vast hangar is filled with various World War II aircraft, some of which you can walk through.
The surrounding Coachella Valley also offers hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, which we don't recommend during the hot summertime. Still, you can enjoy it during the cooler time of the year.
In addition to plenty of beaches and parks, Santa Barbara has loads of attractions and outdoor opportunities to satisfy kids big and small.
Activities to do with kids include the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which offers an exciting variety of family programs designed to encourage understanding and appreciation of the many facets of our natural world; Santa Barbara Zoo, with more than 500 animals exhibited in open, naturalistic habitats; and MOXI: The Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation, filled with loads of interactive experiences, organized around seven themes that all relate to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Still want more activities? Discover the wonders of ocean life at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and the Channel Islands National Park, which encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources.
We highly recommend trying Shoreline Beach Café, where kids can run around, build sandcastles, or bury their feet in the sand while you are visiting.
Some of our favorite places to stay in Santa Barbara are The Wayfarer, Hilton Santa Barbara Beach Front Resort, El Capitan Canyon, Kimpton Canary Hotel, Circle Bar B, and Simpson House Inn, which are all family-friendly.
Catalina Island offers an impressive array of fun things to do year-round. The island caters to travelers of all ages, from water sports and scenic hikes to wildlife tours and submarine rides. Things to do with kids include tours to view Bison and the wildlife on the island, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, zipline tours, riding in a submarine, and more.
To get more information about all these activities and even more, visit Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce's website.
One of our favorite places to eat is Avalon Grille, which offers fine dining with a relaxed upscale atmosphere overlooking Avalon Bay. Another one is Bluewater Grill, which is a must-visit located right on Avalon Bay, over the water in the historic waterfront terminal building.
There are several friendly hotels to choose from on Catalina Island. Our favorites are Avalon Hotel, with breathtaking views from the Rooftop Getaway, Catalina Canyon Resort and Spa nestled in the foothills of Catalina Island, and Hotel Metropole located in the heart of Avalon and just steps from the beach.
Named by Sunset magazine as one of the "10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the Western United States," Solvang is another excellent destination for families. Must things to do in Solvang are exploring the shops and the beautiful European-style streets, exploring Sunny Fields Park on Alamo Pintado Road, Hans Christian Andersen Park on Atterdag Road, and Solvang Park, where you can find Free Friday Night Movies during the summertime.
Popular restaurants among visitors are Solvang Restaurant, Fresco Valley Cafe, and Copenhagen Sausage Garden. Also, don't forget to try Swedish Candy Factory, which is known to be the best candy shop in this Danish enclave.
Our favorite places to stay in Solvang are:
Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, located in the heart of Solvang sets on a 10,000-acre private ranch, the Alisal is the epitome of a world-class resort steeped in authentic Western culture.
The M Solvang, located in the heart of Solvang, is in the city center and near restaurants and popular attractions.
The Winston Solvang is in the city center and in a provincial park. This hotel is near The Solvang Bakery and Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Among Monterey's notable attractions are the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in North America, Cannery Row, Monterey Zoo, Fisherman's Wharf, MY Museum with exhibits like "My Day at the Beach" and "My Creation Station, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, and The Dennis the Menace playground.
Monterey is well known for the abundance and diversity of its marine life, which includes sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bat rays, kelp forests, pelicans and dolphins, and several species of whales. The coast from Monterey to Carmel is spectacularly rich with colorful flowers, cypress trees, moss, and craggy rocks just begging to be climbed on.
Located on the waterfront of world-famous Cannery Row and just steps from the aquarium, Bubba Gump Shrimp is a favorite among both children and adults. Cindy's Waterfront is another popular restaurant near the aquarium. Everything in the kitchen is sourced from within 25 miles of the restaurant, from the green-farmed shrimp in the popcorn shrimp lettuce wraps to the salt sprinkled over the smoked trout pate.
Two blocks from the Monterey Bay Aquarium on historic beachfront property above the crashing surf of the Pacific, Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is a perfect option for families. Located close to El Estero Park with a large playground, Hotel Abrego is another convenient hotel beyond the shops, boutiques, and downtown restaurants.
Situated between rugged seashore and pine-clad hills, Cambria is a beautiful Oceanside city located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Central Coast of California, just four miles south of the famous historic landmark Hearst Castle. Cambria is about 4 hour drive from Los Angeles and has so much to offer for families.
For a complete guide to Cambria with kids, click here.
Big Bear Lake
If you want to get inspired with a passion for the great outdoors, visit Big Bear to experience the natural beauty of the pristine alpine lake surrounded by cool pine forests and clear blue skies. There are so many things to do in Big Bear Lake. Many Big Bear off-roading trails are open year-round for the adventurous spirit. Horseback riding on trails is a fun activity with the kids, and fishing in Big Bear is popular all year round.
You can also rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards to get your fix on the lake. Thrill-seekers can check out the wakeboarding lessons, parasailing adventures, or jet-ski rentals available at the marinas.
Other activities to enjoy with the family are Action Zipline Tours, Big Bear Alpine Zoo, Big Bear Discovery Center, Big Bear Pirate Ship Tours, Bowling Bar, and more. For more activities in Big Bear, visit Big Bear's official site. While you are there, don't forget to walk through Big Bear Lake Village, located at Pine Knot Avenue and Village Drive, and Big Bear Lake Village, located at Pine Knot Avenue and Village Drive, which is a charming entertainment and shopping district, and offers plenty to eat and see.
For the list of featured restaurants, take a look at this great list of the best places to eat in Big Bear.
Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier coastal destination, located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego and along the southern coast of Orange County. With more than 30 coves, beaches, and parks, Laguna Beach is ideal for coastal fun.
Diver’s Cove in Laguna is very popular with families, and the water is usually crowded with children. The famed Laguna Beach tide pools offer a glimpse into a whole new world under the sea during low tide, which is the best and safest time to experience the tide pools. To find out more about marine mammals, schedule a visit to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to observe rescued sea lions and seals.
If your family prefers to stay on land, the Nix Nature Center, located in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, features an easy trail that loops around the visitor's center and access to other walking paths suitable for children. Another popular family activity in Laguna is a Whale Watching Tour.
For a perfect cup of coffee, try Laguna Coffee Company. Andree's Patisserie, Zinc Café & Market, and the Orange Inn are among good eats. For other family-friendly restaurants in Laguna Beach, look at this beautiful list.
One of our favorite places to stay in Laguna with kids is Surf & Sand Resort, literally on the beach. When you need a break from the beach, one of the best playgrounds in the area, Bluebird Canyon Park, is just a five-minute stroll from the hotel.
Another favorite is The Ranch at Laguna Beach Resort. This hotel is situated on an iconic piece of land where the canyon and sea meet. If you are looking for a great experience, then try Montage Laguna Beach Resort, which offers 30 acres of seaside luxury at the heart of Laguna Beach. Each of the 250 guestrooms features sprawling views of the ocean. You will have exclusive access to a wide selection of amenities, including rejuvenating wellness options at the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage and gourmet dining.
Temecula is well known for its climate, perfect for serene and beautiful hot-air ballooning adventures, and award-winning wineries. The Old Town district blends historic buildings with over 640 antique dealers, unique shopping, and restaurants.
You can take a tour in a horse-drawn carriage or stroll along the wooden boardwalks, take the family for a hike on the Santa Rosa Plateau Wildlife Preserve, or delight in a day of boating and fishing at Lake Skinner. If you are looking for indoor fun, Get Air is a fantastic trampoline park for kids and adults.
At Green Acres Ranch, you can go horseback riding the western style and tour the 50-acre working horse ranch at a beautiful winery. Go Bowling at Brunswick Zone and enjoy 40 all-star lanes, interactive arcade games, billiard tables, and an on-site pro shop where you can get all the latest gear. Or visit Harveston Lake Park, a picturesque lakeside park where you can rent pedal boats off the dock or enjoy a relaxing lakeside picnic.
To find the best food in Temecula, we recommend visiting this wonderful website, where you can search restaurants by location and category. You can also find great places to eat with the kiddos in the old town district.
Balboa Island may be small, but people who vacation here know what a wonderful place it is for a family getaway. There are several public docks where kids can fish for free. Riding the Balboa Ferris Wheel is a must-do when visiting. The Fun Zone at Balboa Village is another must-do on the Island. With no admission costs, you can stroll the bayside boardwalk and play.
Other fun activities are Balboa Parasail, $15 Sunset Cruises, and fishing trips by Davey’s Locker Sportfishing. Another popular activity among families is Whale Watching & Dolphin Cruises. And don't forget to get your Ferry Ride while visiting the Island.
Great family restaurants at Balboa Island include CIAO Restaurant, a New York-style Italian eatery offering pasta, pizza, and seafood in a family-friendly setting; Ruby’s Diner, which is located on the Balboa Pier and is a ’40s-style chain diner serving breakfast & American comfort fare, salads & shakes; and Wilma’s Patio, which is a relaxing family-friendly eatery, and offers hearty portions of American comfort food in a casual atmosphere.
Ojai is a tourism destination known for its boutique hotels, hiking, spiritual retreats, and farmers' markets of local organic agriculture. But there is so much more to do in Ojai than relaxing and enjoying organic produce.
Mount up for a one or two-hour horseback riding through the Ventura River Valley or up into the Enchanted Forest; Take a hike in Los Padres National Forest; Get a Tour at California's oldest olive oil ranch; Experience cool water rides at Lake Casitas Water Adventure; Visit the Ojai Valley Museum; Stroll through Sunday's Farmers' Market; Or explore the Nature Center at the Ojai Ranger Station.
In the middle of downtown, Libbey Park, right in the middle of downtown, is also a great place to hang out with kids.
Among kid-friendly restaurants are Boccali’s Pizza and Pasta on the east end of town, Ojai Pizza near the park downtown, and Farmer and the Cook with outdoor patios and live music on the weekends. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly higher-end restaurant, try Nocciola.
Ojai Valley Inn is one of our favorite hotels, "the most kid-friendly lodging in Ojai." They have a children's program where kids can enjoy arts & crafts, science experiments, scavenger hunts, and other activities while you get to relax by the pool. Casa Ojai Inn is another family-friendly hotel, where you can rent bikes and explore the city while biking with your family.
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