Plan Your Next Family Vacation in Southern California

Though still likely many weeks or months away from happening, it’s about that time of year to at least start thinking about the next family vacation. For those in search of a way to narrow down the list as quickly as possible, consider zeroing-in on Southern California. From San Diego up to Los Angeles, this stretch of state has everything a family needs.

A family vacation in Southern California isn’t complete without a visit to the Legoland California Resort. Legoland is a theme park of miniatures, a water park, and an aquarium. Areas of the park include Heartlake City, Explorer Island with its Coastersaurus, Castle Hill, and Pirate Shores; a splash park with water rides. The water park next to Fun Town features attractions that include:

  • Splash Zoo
  • Pirate Reef
  • Lion Temple Wave Pool

Sea Life Aquarium

When visiting Carlsbad, the Sea Life Aquarium is an attraction for kids of every age. Discover some of the most exotic marine life from oceans around the world. The aquarium is the habitat for more than 350 species and 6,000 aquatic animals. Among the interactive exhibits at the aquarium are:

  • Shipwreck Exhibit
  • San Francisco Harbor
  • Jellyfish Discovery
  • Kingdom of the Seahorse Exhibit

The aquarium’s animal experts offer educational talks and feeding demonstrations so visitors can learn more about the animals. One of the favorite attractions for kids and adults is the Dive Show. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the aquarium hosts Animal Encounters.

If Carlsbad already sounds like a great choice for your next family vacation, consider the city has much more to offer. When arriving, you can check out the Carlsbad visitors center to get caught up on the latest attractions and events.

Family attractions for families are plentiful in other cities around Southern California.

San Diego

With 70 miles of shoreline, attractions that kids and adults love, and beautiful, sunny weather all year, San Diego is ideal for a family vacation. Balboa Park, the country’s most massive urban culture park, features 85 attractions. The 1,200-acre park is home to:

  • San Diego Zoo
  • Balboa Park Carousel
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater
  • Fleet Science Center
  • Natural History Museum
  • Miniature Railroad and Model Railroad Museum

San Diego Bay is the location of the USS Midway Museum. The Maritime Museum of San Diego features old sailing ships and tall ships that fascinate kids.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs has so many attractions for families; you won’t know where to begin. The Children’s Discovery Museum features interactive exhibits that encourage learning. The Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens is the habitat for a variety of desert animals and features beautiful, botanical gardens and trails for hiking. The zoo also houses the most massive model train display in the country.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway travels to the summit of Mount San Jacinto and offers spectacular views of Palm Springs. During the summer, the summit’s hiking trails are an ideal way to spend the day and get a break from the heat. If you love hiking and peaceful, natural surroundings, Indian Canyons has hiking trails, crystal blue creeks, waterfalls, and incredible scenery.


The first attraction you may think of in Anaheim is Disneyland, which is a must-visit attraction for families. One way to beat the crowds is to reserve the Minnie and Friends Breakfast. The kids will love it, and it allows admittance to the park a half hour before the park opens. After a day of rides and meeting Disney characters, don’t miss the fireworks display before the park closes. A helpful tip is to leave the park and watch the fireworks from the Main Plaza which makes it easier when you want to get back to your car.

Other attractions the kids will love are Camelot Golfland that has miniature golf and water slides. Adventure City is another amusement park for families; not as spectacular as Disneyland, but a lot of fun for younger kids. The theme park has a lot of kid-friendly rides and a petting farm. The Honda Center hosts musical and sports events and is the home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Check the schedule to see what’s happening during your visit.