California Kids Vacations - Kid Vacation Ideas

California kids vacations are like ocean waves  filled with opportunity. They are exciting, unpredictable and beautiful to feel, watch and enjoy. They offer learning experiences and bonding opportunities for Kids traveling with mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, relatives and family friends.  What do kids want in a vacation? California theme parks such as Disneyland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Six Flags (2 of them), Knotts Berry Farm, San Diego Wild Animal Park and attractions are a few of the vacations kids clamor for. Impressing less jaded youth on a vacation is sometimes as simple as a visit to a sandy beach with a shovel and pail, however. Low key California kid vacations  also allows adults to soak up some California sun, unwind and experience the 1000 miles of great beaches (note: the best sunbathing beaches are located in a region stretching from from San Diego to Santa Cruz.)

It's not difficult to come up with family getaway or weekend escape ideas. But to look at the picture as if children lived in bubbles would be unrealistic. First, over 50% of children live in families of divorce, and vacations take on new meaning when you factor the element of children flying from one city to the next to see parents on weekends. Add to that the overzealous mom, dad or step-parent trying to please and gain acceptance from kids, and your California kids vacations can spin out of control. Many savvy children fly more than their parents from one city to the next. Their idea of vacations can be totally different than the adult's perception. And what kids tell the travel experts time and again is that they want quality time with parents. You don't have to give them candy, ship them on an amusement ride or hire a band to perform for their birthday. Just give them love and attention.


Another issue is travel with disabled children.  It's an issue that can't be ignored, and is on the rise with an alarming increase in autism and disabilities among the population. Traditional ideas of travel don't always fit the needs of special kids and their families.


It isn't easy packing all the great travel opportunities into a youth's busy schedule. Allowing children to see and explore the world that surrounds them is one of the greatest gifts you can give a kid. So the next time you are tempted to get away minus the children, try to remember that they'll be grown up and gone sooner than you'll realize and they won't have time for you. If you heed our advice, maybe you shouldn't read the issues surrounding travel with kids on flights.


Below are some thumbnail images and links to great kids vacation ideas. We have so many on this site, that we had to split them up into two sections. On this page you'll find the generic state-wide opportunities ranging from the California theme parks, aquariums and zoos to free activities such as beach swings, playgrounds, beach bonfires, free public pier fishing, skateboarding, frisbee golf, volleyball and even surfing. We have something fun and new, too. The Kid Videos include five Disneyland ride videos and other great California kids vacations to watch and enjoy.


Kids vacations also include Catalina Island, San Diego, Jelly Belly Factory, an ostrich farm in Buellton and many other local ideas in regions throughout the state.  The holidays bring out the best in families traveling with children, which is why we came up with a guide for traveling with kids on Valentine's Day. OK, it's not going to be well-received for all the parents out there.


Theme park amusements, attractions, beaches and zoos, kiddie rides, thrills, and tactile experiences are plentiful in California. Oftentimes you'll muse that your child likes putting money in a hotel soda machine more than anything but don't ignore hotel swimming pools and swing sets at a beach or in a park, proven pleasers to assure a successful kids vacation. In an effort to maintain the interests of older kids and adults on vacation, most California theme parks have sections and amenities geared for all ages. Some possible suggestions for a California Kids Vacation can include the Disneyland theme park vacation combined with other experiences such as Hollywood, the beach, San Diego SeaWorld or even Las Vegas.  Here's something of interest from a recent study about what children want to do most on vacation with their folks. Kids' top activity for a vacation is to sit down with their parents and share a meal, according to Peter Yesawich of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell.


Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family members looking for some fresh ideas to entertain the kids simply need to look to the California beaches. Look at the museums. Visit the theme parks, the zoos, aquariums and enjoy all the wonderful things California has for kids to explore.  As we travel the California coast, we find kids' activities in nearly every city. And something that was right in front of our faces, but we totally forget was the shopping mall with kids carousels and play stations.  So many are discovering that moms have time during the day to shop and keep the kids entertained, why not combine the two interests in family-friendly mall places?   Fashion Island in Newport Beach is one special outdoor mall with splash fountains for children (one they can walk in), a carousel and koi pond with beautiful, big fish.


Holidays lend themselves to California travel with kids. Halloween is a favorite season to show children farms, barns, hay rides and festivals celebrating harvests. The easiest holiday to provide this fun experience is Halloween.  What is Halloween without children? The city offers numerous commercial events and activities, but for some real fun, get out and explore California's agricultural heritage.


Newport Beach kids vacations


Kids pumpkin patches


Fishing Derbies


Museums, History



Sand Volleyball


Solano County 
best for kids


Ostrich Land


Lake Shasta Caverns


California Surfing


Roaring Camp
Train Rides


Huntington Beach
Kids Vacations


Pismo Beach Kids Vacations


Adventure Playground


Jelly Belly
Factory Tour


Mothers Beach
Long Beach


Belmont Park San Diego Slide Show


San Diego Kids Vacation Hotels


Tours - Hollywood Boats, Ghosts!


Catalina Island

Crazy Attractions
California Skate Parks
Disc Golf Couses
Free Fishing
Duck & Bird Events
kids vacation sandcastles
Hot Deals
Save on Tickets


Universal City

Discount Disneyland Tickets


catalina express
Long Beach, Dana Point

Catalina Flyer

Newport Beach

Discount Disney's California Adventure tickets


Knotts Berry Farm
Buena Park

Discount Medieval Times tickets

Buena Park

Discount Pirates Dinner Adventure tickets

Buena Park

Discount Legoland California tickets


Discount San Diego Zoo tickets

San Diego

San Diego

Discount SeaWorld tickets