California is a top place to visit with family for a vacation. There are a wide variety of attractions and things to do, including amusement parks, the beach, hiking, and other outdoor activities with your kids. However, organizing a trip with children might be challenging. To keep it simple, we have created this comprehensive California family travel guide.
Plan when you’d like to travel first. If you have young children, schedule your trip for the spring or fall when it’s cooler because California can get very hot in the summer. It may be preferable to come during the off-season because some locations, such as Disneyland, can be quite congested during peak tourist season.
There are several choices available when it comes to lodging. Hotels, rental homes, and campsites are all at your disposal. Think about what matters most to you and your family when selecting your choice because each has its advantages.
Let’s get started:
- 5 Reasons Why California Is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
- When’s the Best Time to Visit California With Kids?
- What’s the Weather in California Across the Year?
- What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in California?
- The Best Things to Do With Kids in California
- The Best Family Hotels and Resorts in California
- What’s the Average Cost of a Hotel in California?
- The Best Places to Eat With Kids in California
- The Best Day Trips From California That the Whole Family Will Love
- How to Get Around California During Your Vacation
- The Best Ways to Get to California for Your Vacation
- 5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in California When Visiting with Kids
5 Reasons Why California Is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
A Family-Friendly State
There are several locations you may visit throughout your vacation that you can all enjoy, including wineries and craft breweries. This is because there are so many family-friendly activities!
This is a reasonable justification for adults to try something children will also like without the complimentary samples. Some pubs provide excursions and kid-friendly areas where the entire family can discover more about the origins and methods used to make the drinks.
With the kids’ input, the entire family will be more enthusiastic about the schedule. So, why not brainstorm some ideas as a family before you leave and see if there are any activities you’d want to include?
No matter what kind of trip you’re searching for, California has many exciting and different landscapes to discover. Something is always available to fit your preferences, whether you desire a beach vacation or a mountain experience.
If your family is filled with thrill-seekers, go skiing in the Alps or explore the vibrant metropolis of San Francisco, where you can view well-known landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.
There are several top-notch beaches along the California coast where you can unwind and spend time with your family if you’re all about relaxation. To keep things fresh, sprinkle in a few day visits to neighboring sights.
A Disneyland Resort
Disneyland, the magical land of childhood dreams, is the perfect vacation spot for families. Even the adults can’t help but get caught up in the fun and excitement of the park.
One thing is for sure, a vacation with Mickey and his pals is a surefire way to make your kids happy. Whether you spend the whole trip at Disneyland or just a few days, it’s a great option.
But don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and plan your trip. It’s a vacation that will be worth it, trust me!
Disneyland offers a variety of packages and promotions that can help you save money and make the most of your time there. So, whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip or a more casual getaway, Disneyland is a family-friendly destination that’s sure to please.
When you think of California, beautiful beaches are the first thing that comes to mind. They’re just as unique as you imagine. One of the most popular spots in Venice Beach. It’s a lively area with a world-famous boardwalk, perfect for a day out.
You’ll find fun stuff there, like street performers, artists, and food vendors. It’s a great place to stroll, people-watch, and pick up a souvenir.
But if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, Glass Beach is worth a visit. You might have heard of it. It’s known for the sea glass that washes up on the shore. It’s not your typical beach with golden sands, but it’s still pretty special.
The glass is the result of years of trash dumping in the area, but now it’s a unique feature that attracts visitors from all over. You’ll find thousands of pieces of colored glass smoothed and polished by the ocean. It’s something to see.
So whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, check out some street performers, or hunt for sea glass, California’s beaches have something for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try surfing, kayaking, or beachcombing. There’s so much to do and see. It’s no wonder it’s a favorite spot for families and travelers.
California is the place to be for nature lovers! With nine national parks, you’ll have plenty of options for outdoor adventures. From Joshua Tree to Channel Islands National Park, Yosemite, and Death Valley National Park, each park offers unique landscapes and experiences.
Whether hiking, camping, or just taking in the views, you’ll find something you’ll love. Just make sure to plan to make the most of your trip. Kings Canyon National Park is another great tourist attraction.
With so much space to explore, you can create the perfect adventure for your family. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to discover the beauty of California’s national parks!
When’s the Best Time to Visit California With Kids?
Summer is typically the most favored season to travel to Southern California. Nevertheless, California enjoys excellent weather year-round, so you may travel at any time you like.
Depending on what you’d like to do, where you wish to travel, and the amount of time you have, there are better times to visit California. While there are apparent reasons why the summer months are attractive, peak time may result in higher pricing and more people.
Best Time to Visit California to Avoid Crowds
May through September are the summer months when most tourists visit California. In the summertime, tens of thousands of visitors travel to California to enjoy the state’s numerous exciting activities in LA, San Diego, and the coastal towns, as well as to surf the Pacific Ocean, go trekking, and visit its national and state parks.
The off-peak months of fall and spring are the best times to visit California if you wish to escape the city’s congested traffic. You will appreciate your vacation in California more because there will be fewer visitors on this trip.
Even the Angeles National Forest is crowded in peak times. So plan accordingly.
Best Time to Visit California for Best Prices
When businesses anticipate visitors coming, they frequently raise their rates. Even though there are many enjoyable things to do in California in the summer, this is typically the most costly time of year to travel there.
If you’re planning a major trip, consider that prices for hotels, restaurants, and retail outlets will increase from June through mid-August. If you want to travel on a budget, visit California in the fall, spring, or winter.
For the best travel and lodging rates, we advise visiting California around April–May or September–late November.
Nevertheless, if visiting California’s coastal cities is on your schedule, you should go in the summer. During this season, many travelers visit Huntington Beach to see some international surfing.
Best Time to Visit California for Hiking and Beaches
Most people come to California to enjoy its well-known beaches, such as the stunning beaches in San Diego or those on the north shore in Santa Cruz and Big Sur. Summertime is the best season for beach activities like whale viewing.
North California’s nature trails are lovely in the summertime but wet and chilly the other three times of the year.
What’s the Weather in California Across the Year?
California is a diverse state with a varied climate, making it a perfect destination all year round, depending on where you go and when you can experience various weather conditions.
In the northern part of the state, you’ll find cities like San Francisco that experience a relaxed, coastal climate. This means you can expect temperatures to be mild, with average highs ranging from the mid-50s to the low-60s in the winter and the mid-50s to mid-60s in the summer.
It’s not uncommon to experience fog in San Francisco, especially in the summer, so pack a light jacket or sweater, even if you’re visiting during the warmest time of the year. Moving down the coast, you’ll find cities like Los Angeles with Mediterranean climates. This means you can expect warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
Average temperatures in the summer months range from the low-70s to the low-80s, while in the winter, temperatures range from the mid-50s to the low-60s.
It’s common for the LA area to experience occasional rain during the winter, so pack accordingly. If you head to the desert regions of California, such as Palm Springs, you’ll experience a hot, arid climate.
Summer temperatures in this area can reach well into the 90s and even 100s, while winter temperatures can still reach into the 70s. This area of California experiences very little rainfall, so bring plenty of sunscreens and hydrate often if you’re visiting during the warmer months.
You can expect a cold, snowy climate in the mountainous regions of California, such as Lake Tahoe. Winter temperatures in this area can drop well below freezing, while summer temperatures are cool and pleasant, with average highs in the 70s. If you’re visiting this area in the winter, pack warm clothing and gear for outdoor activities, such as skiing and snowboarding.
In conclusion, California has a range of climates, so be sure to research the weather conditions in the area you’ll be visiting and pack accordingly. Whether heading to the cool coastal regions, warm deserts, or snowy mountains, you’ll have an enjoyable time in California.
What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in California?
Deciding on the perfect time to spend in California depends on a few things. It can be something like what type of traveler you are, your interests, and your budget. California is a vast and diverse state, with so much to offer, from bustling cities to stunning natural parks, pristine beaches, and world-famous theme parks.
If you want to see as much as possible quickly, consider a week or two. During that time, you can hit up some major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, check out popular attractions like Disney California Adventure Park or Universal Studios, and even take a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway to see the breathtaking coastline.
But, if you’re looking to take it slow and immerse yourself in the state’s culture, a month or more would be ideal. This gives you enough time to explore different regions, try new activities, and savor the local cuisine.
You could spend a week or two in San Francisco, drive to Los Angeles to visit Hollywood and the beaches, then head further south to San Diego. From there, you could explore the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park or visit wine country in Napa Valley.
Ultimately, the perfect time to spend in California is up to you and what you hope to get out of your trip. Whether it’s just a quick getaway or an extended adventure, there’s something for everyone in the Golden State.
The Best Things to Do With Kids in California
San Jose, Sacramento, and San Dimas are the locations of California’s three water parks in the Raging Waters network. These muddy, wild dream worlds provide exhilarating water rides that guarantee family-friendly enjoyment.
The biggest water parks in California can provide you with a beautiful day of fun if splashing, diving, and tumbling are your style.
The largest, Raging Waters-San Jose, is located on 23 acres and has over 60 rides, so whether you’re searching for a rush or just somewhere to unwind, this is the spot for you.
Your group may pause for lunch and recharge for an evening of fun thanks to the on-site eateries that serve delectable snacks and meals, like pizza, milkshakes, and ice cream.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting California. It’s a beautiful, iconic structure that attracts millions of visitors annually. Whether you’re an architecture buff, a photographer, or just looking for a great place to snap some fantastic photos, the Golden Gate Bridge offers something.
You can stroll along the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, taking in the stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the city skyline, or rent a bike and make the most of your time there.
If you want to get up close and personal with the bridge, consider taking a guided tour to learn about its history, construction, and design. Whatever you decide, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is an experience you’ll never forget!
Plan a California family vacation full of fun, education, and entertainment at Legoland, California, in Carlsbad. Tailored for families with kids aged 2-12 but thrilling enough for adults who love to play, the theme park has rides and attractions for everyone.
Help ninjas defeat the Great Devourer on Lego Ninjago The Ride or admire famous Star Wars scenes made entirely of Lego bricks at the Lego Star Wars Miniland Model Display. Younger kids can enjoy playing, building, and exploring in areas dedicated to them.
Take advantage of the Legoland Water Park with its water slides and interactive play structures for a relaxed and fun time. Get ready to dive into the world of Lego and make unforgettable memories at Legoland California!
Santa Monica Pier
A renowned icon in Santa Monica, California, the Santa Monica Pier provides a unique mix of amusement and excitement. The pier juts out into the Pacific Ocean and is home to several activities, including an aquarium, an adventure park, and several eateries and stores.
The Best Family Hotels and Resorts in California
Sea Crest OceanFront Hotel
The Seacrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach, California, is the perfect spot for families with kids. You’ll love the stunning ocean views from many rooms and suites. And the best part? You’re just steps away from the beach!
The hotel offers a variety of rooms to choose from, including standard rooms, suites, and oceanfront rooms. They’re all spacious and well-appointed, with comfortable bedding, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms even have balconies or patios to enjoy a peaceful outdoor space.
At the Seacrest OceanFront Hotel, you won’t have to leave for a good meal. The restaurant serves delicious California-style cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all made from fresh, local ingredients. After dinner, head to the bar and lounge area for a drink.
For the kids, the Seacrest OceanFront Hotel has a lot to offer. You’ll love the large outdoor pool and spa, and the hotel provides beach chairs and umbrellas for lounging on the sand.
Plus, you’re close to popular attractions like the Pismo Beach Pier, the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, and the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
The Saguaro Palm Springs
The Saguaro Palm Springs awaits your arrival for a unique and vibrant vacation experience. This hotel in Palm Springs, California, will blow you away with its Southwestern-inspired design, colorful artwork, and excellent hospitality.
You’ll stay in spacious rooms and suites that are both comfortable and stylish, fully equipped with all the amenities you need for a fantastic trip.
Take advantage of the hotel’s large outdoor pool and spa area. Take a dip, soak up the sun, or unwind in the hot tub. The hotel’s restaurant and bar also invite you to enjoy delicious meals and drinks throughout the day.
The Saguaro Palm Springs puts you right in the heart of Palm Springs, making it easy for you to explore the city. You’ll be close to all the top attractions, shopping, and dining, and you can easily walk or take a short drive to many popular spots.
In short, The Saguaro Palm Springs offers you a fun and relaxed desert getaway. You’re sure to have a fantastic time with its vibrant atmosphere, spacious rooms and suites, and central location.
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
Families looking for a vacation will love the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. This hotel in the heart of San Diego boasts stunning views of the city and the bay. You’ll choose from a wide range of rooms and suites, including family-friendly options that provide ample space.
The hotel offers two outdoor pools, including a rooftop pool with panoramic city views. Stay fit and relaxed at the hotel’s fitness center and a full-service spa. The hotel’s variety of dining options, such as its casual restaurant and its fine dining restaurant, will satisfy your hunger and thirst throughout the day.
Located close to many of San Diego’s top attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and the USS Midway Museum, the hotel will please families traveling with kids. The hotel also provides a kids’ club and a game room, ensuring kids always have fun and excitement.
In short, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego offers a comfortable, convenient, and memorable stay for families in San Diego. With a wealth of amenities and activities and a central location, your family will have a fantastic vacation experience.
What’s the Average Cost of a Hotel in California?
You can determine the cost of a hotel in California by looking at several factors such as location, season, room type, and amenities offered.
On average, budget-friendly hotels cost between $75 and $200 a night, while luxury hotels can cost over $400. Tourist hotspots like San Francisco and Los Angeles usually have higher hotel rates.
To get the best deal, compare prices and research different hotels before making a reservation. Consider the hotel’s location, amenities, and room type. Also, consider the season, as prices can skyrocket during peak travel and holidays.
By being proactive, you can find a hotel in California that fits your budget and meets your needs. Whether you prefer a budget-friendly or luxurious escape, California offers a wide selection of hotels for all travelers.
The Best Places to Eat With Kids in California
Mission BBQ is a well-known US barbecue restaurant with outlets in many states, including California. The establishment is renowned for its patriotic ambiance, which involves singing the national anthem daily, paying tribute to veterans, and serving military personnel.
Mission BBQ has multiple sites in California, each providing a friendly setting and delectable food.
Anyone who likes barbecue should consider Mission BBQ, whether they’re searching for a family supper or a casual lunch with friends. The restaurant is a practical choice because it provides catering services for events and gatherings.
The term “Thai Inter” probably refers to Thai food, which is well-liked in California and globally. Thai food frequently uses spices like fish sauce, lemongrass, and chili peppers and is noted for its strong taste and aromatic scents.
Several Thai restaurants in California provide a broad range of foods, including traditional Thai favorites like pad Thai, green curry, and tom yum soup. Several restaurants offer meals that can be altered to accommodate various tastes and preferences, letting you pick your favorite ingredients and manage the amount of heat.
For foodies in California, Thai cuisine is an intelligent and delectable option, whether you’re searching for a quick lunch or a romantic supper.
Nicolletti’s Pizza California
Local Californian restaurant Nicolletti’s Pizza is probably known for its mouthwatering, hand-made pizzas. A mainstay of the American eating scene is pizzerias like Nicolletti’s Pizza, which provide informal dining alternatives for groups of friends, families, and individuals.
You can anticipate finding a wide selection of pizza toppings and varieties at Nicolletti’s Pizza, including traditional choices like pepperoni and mushroom and custom pies with distinctive materials and flavor profiles.
Most pizzerias provide a variety of sides in addition to pizza. Nicolletti’s Pizza is a fantastic option for everybody, whether getting a fast bite or having a family meal.
The Best Day Trips From California That the Whole Family Will Love
Napa Valley, a stunning and attractive location just north of San Francisco, is well-known for its rolling hills, vineyards, and top-notch wineries. Take a gorgeous drive across the valley, stopping at several wineries to sample regional wines and see how wine is made.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
On the Monterey Bay coast, you may visit this famous site to get up close and personal with the incredible aquatic life that inhabits the area. See water life worldwide, including jellyfish, sea otters, and colorful fish.
Yosemite National Park
This stunning national park provides chances for hiking, camping, and outdoor exploration and is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Camp out beneath the stars, go on a trek, or drive around the park.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Seven Flags In Valencia, California, there is a theme park called Magic Mountain. It is renowned for its spectacular roller coasters and other exhilarating activities.
More than a dozen roller coasters can be found at Magic Mountain, including the well-known “Goliath” and “Twisted Colossus,” ranked among the greatest in the world.
Magic Mountain has a range of additional activities in addition to roller coasters, such as performances, gaming, and food establishments.
Six Flags Magic Mountain is guaranteed to deliver a remarkable experience, whether you’re a thrill seeker or just searching for a great day out with loved ones.
How to Get Around California During Your Vacation
There are many possibilities for vacation travel in California. For convenience and flexibility, rent a vehicle. Take the bus or train for cheap, environmentally responsible travel. Uber or Lyft are two ridesharing services you should consider.
Use a cab, especially if traveling with a large group or at night. To tour cities that encourage cycling, rent a bike. Or go for a walk to see a city on foot. To make sure your vacation goes smoothly, do some research in advance.
The Best Ways to Get to California for Your Vacation
Getting to California for your vacation depends on where you start, how much you want to spend, and how you want to travel. Some popular options include:
The most widely used way to get to California is by air, which is perfect for long-distance journeys. Major airports, such as LAX, SFO, and SAN, are in California.
Driving is a practical choice if you live close to California. This allows you to take your car, which can be helpful for families with young kids or those who want to explore California at their own pace.
Bus or Train
Take a bus or train to California to save money and be environmentally friendly. Amtrak offers train service to cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.
If you have the time, taking a road trip to California is an exciting and memorable experience. You can visit multiple states and attractions along the way.
To ensure a smooth trip, plan and research your travel beforehand, considering any restrictions or regulations for your preferred mode of transportation.
5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in California When Visiting with Kids
Teach the Children to Gather and Stop Immediately
The terrifying moment your child dashes into a busy parking lot before you can grasp her hand is something that many parents have gone through.
In reality, it’s effortless to prevent that horrible situation from occurring. Even tiny babies may be trained to come group together when Mom calls.
Tell Your Kids to Stay Together
As your family goes through congested areas, instruct your kids to stay close to you. Inform your children that it’s their responsibility to stay up with you and that it’s not your job to keep up with them. Teach kids that they must remain able to see their parents in busy areas.
They shouldn’t ever relocate, so they can’t see their parents or change locations/rooms without you.
Supervise Children Near the Water
If they are close to a water source, constantly keep a check on them. When they are grown, train them to swim. Also, ensure they abide by safety precautions like avoiding rushing near the water and refraining from plunging into shallow water.
Children should be taught not to interact with or take anything from strangers. Ensure kids know the importance of never sharing personal information with strangers, including names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Avoid Unfamiliar Areas
Make sure you are prepared and equipped before hiking or visiting a new location. This includes taking adequate food and drink, dressing appropriately, carrying a map or GPS device, and donning suitable footwear and apparel. Stay on the path, and always share your goals with someone.
California is great for families with kids. It offers many adventures and discoveries. To ensure a safe trip, follow the tips outlined in this article.
Protect kids from the sun with sunscreen and clothing. Supervise them in water and teach water safety. Plan and inform someone when exploring new areas. Remember to always keep your emergency contact information on you and instruct your children to do the same. Ensure kids sit in appropriate car seats and educate them on first-aid and emergency procedures. Avoid high-crime areas, especially at night. Teach safe wildlife behavior.
In conclusion, California is a fantastic destination for families. Follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable trip. Proper planning creates memories that last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and go to California!