Southern California

Looking for some fun things to do in Southern California with your kids? You’ve come to the right place! We have compiled comprehensive guides to some of the best activities for families in Southern California. From theme parks to Southern California Zoos & Aquariums, Botanical Gardens, and Museums, there is something for everyone here. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next family adventure today!

Southern California is a very large area, so we’ve broken things down into local City Guides. Check out our Local City Guides for Los Angeles, Malibu, South Bay, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and more. Going on a Road Trip? Check out our Guides for San Diego, Palm Springs, Temecula, and more. Below are just a few of our favorite activities to do with kids in Southern California.

If you are lucky enough to live here, there are plenty of places to explore and activities to keep you busy 365 days a year. There are so many things to do in Southern California that it can be a little overwhelming. No worries! We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our “Best Of” Guides at the bottom of the page!

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Southern California

Outdoor Fun

Southern California is a great place to live or visit. With year-round sunny weather, breath-taking beaches, State Parks, the best hiking, and natural wonders it is no wonder SoCal is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Southern California is home to some of the state’s most scenic State Parks, National Parks, and beaches. Whether your family enjoys hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking, or bird watching, there’s a park for that. Or if you want to just relax and enjoy the scenery, there are plenty of ideal parks for that as well. In fact, California as a whole is home to nine national parks which is more than any other state in the United States.

Amusement Parks & Zoos

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a popular destination for families with kids and for good reason. The L.A. Zoo is home to a diverse collection of 1,400 animals representing 270 different species, 58 of which are endangered. Its lush grounds on 133 acres feature various plant species from around the world. If amusement parks are more your thing, SoCal is home to Knott’s Berry Farm Amusement Park, Disneyland Park, Universal Studios Hollywood, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, Sea World San Diego, Disney California Adventure Park, and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Science Centers

Southern California has some wonderful science centers including the Western Science Center in Hemet, California Science Center in LA, and Discovery Cube in Santa Ana to name a few. If you have a chance to visit the Griffith Observatory it is a very worthwhile day.

National Historic Landmark & Historical Sites

History buffs will find plenty to see and do in Southern California. Take a ride on Angels Flight Railway or visit the historic Old Town in San Diego. Go see the USS Iowa Battleship or Fort Tejon State Historic Park. There are a total of 29 National Historic Landmarks in California State Parks many of with are in SoCal.

Museums & Art Galleries

Southern California is rich with museums. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is a must for families. If you want inspiration for your future Picasso, see European art amid modern architecture at Getty Center. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is very family-friendly with special activities for kids, including teen art classes.

Family-Friendly Beaches

California’s Pacific Ocean is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Go for a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway or stop by one of SoCal’s gorgeous beaches. Some of the most popular beaches for families are La Jolla Cove, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach.

Be Tourists for a Day

The Golden State is well known for landmarks and popular tourist attractions such as the Hollywood sign, Griffith Park, Rodeo Drive, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame with its many street performers. Spend a day doing all of the fun touristy stuff!

Plan a Day Trip

There are so many awesome day trips to be had in Southern California. One of our favorites, Palm Springs, is a popular day trip or weekend destination for families. Visit Joshua Tree National Park, Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and The Living Desert Zoo while you’re there.

Here are some of our top pick guides for things to do in Southern California with kids: