Is your family overdue for a much-needed vacation? With the holiday season in full swing and the little ones about to be on winter break, it’s a good time of year to plan a great escape.
While the ideal destination varies from one family to another, we’re willing to bet you and your loved ones want to go somewhere warm and sunny. With so many locations to choose from, picking one can be difficult. This is why we suggest narrowing your options down to a part of the world where it’s sunny all year long: Southern California.
The problem with planning a family vacation to Southern California is that it’s a lot of ground to cover. It’d take more than a month just to crack the surface. Fortunately, SoCal is home to several wonderful cities, all of which have plenty of things for families to see and do.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best cities for families to visit in Southern California:
Families have no shortage of fun and exciting things to see and do in San Diego. No family vacation to America’s Finest City is complete without a day spent at the city’s world-famous zoo. But that’s just the beginning. You can spend a day at one of the area’s beautiful beaches, followed by taking one or two San Diego food tours that feature the city’s best fare. Wrap it up with a whale-watching voyage or tour of the USS Midway Museum for a well-balanced trip that touches on all the best activities and experiences San Diego has to offer.
Located about an hour’s drive north of San Diego, Carlsbad is home to Legoland California. It’s also considered the Silicon Valley of golf, with several world-class courses and state-of-the-art facilities for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels to enjoy. Throw in numerous beautiful beaches and state parks, and families will find no shortage of things to see and do in this wonderful little seaside resort town.
You won’t find any beaches in Palm Springs. That’s because it’s about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean and sits on the edge of a massive desert. But that doesn’t mean Palm Springs doesn’t have everything you’re looking for in a warm and sunny destination. Families can explore Joshua Tree National Park, take a tour of the city’s iconic Mid-Century Modern architecture, and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to Mount San Jacinto. With several top-rated resort hotels in town, you and your loved ones can also relax near the pool and let yourselves be pampered like the movie stars who used to flock to Palm Springs during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Millions of families flock to Anaheim every year for one thing: Disneyland. The world’s most famous theme park first opened in 1955 and has been a popular tourist destination ever since. There’s also Disney’s California Adventure located next door, which first opened in 2001 and, along with the original park, hotels, and shopping, makes up the Disneyland Resort, a sprawling entertainment district in central Anaheim. While you can spend the entire trip exploring the Happiest Place on Earth, Anaheim is also home to Knott’s Berry Farm, a more affordable and less immersive but nonetheless entertaining amusement park located on the north end of town.
From the Walk of Fame to Madame Tussauds to Universal Studios Hollywood, there’s no shortage of things for families to see and do in Tinsel Town. Virtually every block provides a photo op for visitors, all the while the iconic Hollywood Sign looms above, calling out to those who seek fame and fortune.
Located roughly 30 miles north of Hollywood, Santa Clarita is home to Six Flags Magic Mountain, where high-intensity roller coasters dominate the skyline. There’s also the iconic Vasquez Rocks, where many famous scenes in movies and television were filmed over the years. Don’t forget the museums and hiking trails, which offer insights into the past and beautiful views of the scenery.
Family vacations are all about spending time with those we love. Who are we kidding, it’s also about having fun! Doing so someplace warm and sunny doesn’t hurt, which makes Southern California the perfect place for your next family vacation!
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys writing about business, finance, health, and travel.