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Places to go in Southern California

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.

places to go in southern california

I have lived in Southern California since I was six. It is FULL of things to do! There are so many places to see and experience. 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. I made a list of places to go in Southern California for you. Find this and more travel information on our road trip blog. (originally published 6/17)

If you want to take the ultimate California road trip this is a good guide for the bottom part of the state. There is SO much to do in this area so we just focused on this are to begin with. Well I lived here for 30+ years too so I do have a lot under my belt as far as suggestions in this area goes.

For an entire list of places within the entire state I have a California bucket list for you to print out too. Then your family can check off each thing you do and aim to visit them all. 😉

california bucket list

Places to Visit in 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.

free disneyland tickets

Places to Visit in Southern California with Family

  • 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).
Places to go in southern california

Day Trips in Southern California

  • 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!

  •  places to go in southern california

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.

family travel blogger

Looking for more places to go in California beyond just the bottom of the state? I know, there is so much more to talk about but we are just touching on a few of them here.

Places to Visit in California

Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with or visit my Etsy shop?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!

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