Here are the top 25 places to go in Southern California that are fun for kids and families! Some locations I bet you’ve never heard of but if you’re taking a California vacation they are the best places to visit. Where to stay and how to get free tickets to Disneyland shared here too from a family who lives locally.
I have lived in Southern California since I was six and it is FULL of things to do! There are so many places to see and experience and honestly many of them are unknown and “hidden gems” as I would call them. If you’re visiting you wouldn’t know where to start. So I made a small list here with links to over 100+ other free and cheap activities for kids in Southern California. Now that I have kids we’ve enjoyed all of the amusement parks, but we narrowed our list down to the top 25 places to go in Southern California. We share even more family travel information on our road trip blog if you’re interested. (originally published 6/17)
25 Places to go in Southern California
- Disneyland and California Adventure – Of course these are a given when thinking of attractions in Southern California. You really can’t pass these by! We share here how to get into Disneyland for free as well as how to save money at Disneyland once you’re inside.
- Universal Studios – A pretty fun place especially if you love movies and seeing where they were actually filmed!! The behind the scenes tour is amazing. Sometimes you can see an actual movie being filmed while you’re on the tram!
- Sea World – We love how they change their shows with each new season. Sometimes you get to interact with the animals at a show too (this was fun).
- San Diego Safari Park – This is a unique experience unlike a traditional zoo where animals roam free on hundreds of acres of land. It is one of our favorite places to go in Southern California because it gets you out of the city and into another world.
- Knott’s Berry Farm – Great place with lots of rides and live entertainment with an ol’ Western theme! There really is nowhere else like it.
- Discovery Science Center OC – This is a great hands-on children’s museum in Orange that rotates their exhibits regularly. It also offers shows like their Bubblefest that is amazing!
- Huntington Beach Adventure Playground – I am telling you that this is a must do during the summertime. Pack another set of clothing and shoes because your kids will get filthy dirty and love every minute of it!! It’s all about building, sliding in mud, meeting new friends and more.
- Tide Pools – There are so many great tide pools all along to coast to check out and the Ocean Institute in Dana Point is great too.
- Tanaka Farms – Great place to pick strawberries and even vegetables at this family farm. They give you a tour and allow you to taste the produce picked right out of the ground while you’re visiting!
- La Jolla – There are great little shops, lots of small beach areas, sea lions, and tide pools there. It is free to visit and you can really spend all day there. Pack a picnic and some chairs and enjoy the day there.
Looking for more places to go in Southern California?
- List of more tide pools in Southern California
- Over 100 things to do with kids in Southern California
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