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The Kid-Friendly Southern California Travel Guide

October 5, 2022 By CityPASS

Southern California is a vast travel destination with its sunny weather and amusement parks. We have compiled a Southern California travel guide for families traveling with children. These destination spots, from zoos to water parks, will surely be a hit with the kids. We hope this travel guide is helpful for you and your family. While there is no way to do it all in one trip, let's dive into some of the best places in Southern California to visit with kids — and you can choose the perfect spots for your family.

1. Stay and Play at a Popular Southern California Theme Park

Suppose you're planning a family trip and are looking for things to do in Southern California with kids. In that case, you must bring your family to a couple of the top theme parks. LEGOLAND California Resort is a hit with the younger kids. Disneyland® Resort is also a must-see for any child who wants to spend the entire time pretending to be a princess or another magical Disney character. There are ways to beat the long lines at these parks, but it will cost you a bit more. Let's look at each one more so that you can see what's in store for you and your family at these popular theme parks.

Disneyland® Resort

Generations of people have enjoyed visiting Disneyland to experience some of the magic from the movies. Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened in 1955 and has two parks: Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park.

If you stay at a Disney-owned hotel, you can get an Extra Magic Hour. This Extra Magic Hour allows hotel guests to enter the park an hour before everyone else. The two parks offer magic hours on different days, so be sure to check the schedule. If you get in the park early, try to hit up the most popular rides, like Space Mountain, before the lines get too crazy. Between both parks, however, there are rides and shows that younger children will enjoy, and more extreme rides for the big kids and you.

LEGOLAND California Resort

The Legoland Hotel is excellent for younger kids. And if you have a little one who loves to build, they can make castles until their heart's content. There are more than 60 rides at Legoland California for everyone of all ages to enjoy. They also have a water park on 10 acres that offers a build-your-own raft to ride down the lazy river and more.

2. See Exotic Animals at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

Suppose you and your family are looking for animal adventures. In that case, going to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park is for you. The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals; the Safari Park is an 1800-acre reserve where herds of animals roam sprawling savanna habitats. A two-visit pass is an economical way to go. You'll get one visit to the Zoo and one visit to the Safari Park, or you can visit either the Zoo or the Safari Park twice if you prefer. Keep in mind that driving time between the two parks can range from 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Enjoy a Wide Variety of Attractions at SeaWorld

SeaWorld's parks are across the United States. The first one, SeaWorld San Diego, opened in 1964. The park offers exhilarating rides, animal shows and presentations, and much more. If you have younger children, don’t miss the Sesame Street Bay of Play, with rides and play at their level. If you want, you can take a swim with the dolphins while you're here, too (for an additional cost).

4. Stroll Through Downtown San Diego and Stop at a Museum or Restaurant

There's a little fun everywhere, from golden sand beaches to historic downtown. If you like fine authentic Italian food, then check out The Godfather restaurant. Located in downtown San Diego, it offers steak, chicken, calamari, pasta and more in a classy environment that the whole family can enjoy.

Suppose you're looking for an educational day. In that case, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is an excellent place to check out that kids will enjoy. It is known to be the world's largest museum of its kind. From the museum, you can view some of the most exquisite landscapes in the area from an eagle's-eye point.

5. Take a City Cruise Trip and Look Out for Real Marine Life

With City Cruises San Diego, you can experience some of the ocean's majestic marine life. Travel up the Pacific coastline and into the San Diego Bay on a Whale & Dolphin Watching Adventure cruise. In addition, there are one- and two-hour Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventure cruises available. They're good if you're looking for a shorter excursion but still want to see marine life in its natural setting. A city cruise is a must-add to your Southern California itinerary with the family.

6. Build Sandcastles at Any of Southern California's Stunning Beaches

One thing that Southern California is known for is its stunning, sunny, and iconic beach towns. Some of SoCal’s major cities, like San Diego and Los Angeles, are home to beautiful beaches. Crystal Cove State Park, located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, has excellent beaches for the younger kids to enjoy. The tide is calm, and there's plenty of space and sand for your kids to build sandcastles. There are also tide pools where you and the family can view fantastic, diverse wildlife.

Newport Beach is another family-friendly beach to visit. You can spend an entire day swimming, boogie boarding, and even watching for dolphins at the pier. If you get tired of the beach, some playgrounds are nearby.

Spend More Time and Less Money in Southern California

As you can see, there are many different places to visit in Southern California that are kid friendly. Hopefully, some of these fantastic places will be on your next road trip itinerary.

In addition, there are ways to enjoy all that Southern California offers without paying top prices. CityPASS® ticket bundles will save you money on Southern California’s top theme parks. With San Diego CityPASS® tickets you can see the top theme parks and attractions in San Diego for up to off.

As a result, you and your family can spend more time in beautiful California, creating life-long memories without spending a fortune. Before you hit the highway for your Southern California travel plans, check out our discount offers.

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