Your guide to California travel with kids
With beaches, amusement parks, and a wide variety of attractions and activities, California is a great family travel destination. No matter what you do or where in the state you go, you're likely to do it in relative warmth and sunshine. California's state motto is "Eureka," meaning "I have found it," and while this is technically a reference to the bygone days of the gold rush, odds are that whatever you're looking for in a vacation, you will find in California.
Popular California Family Vacation Spots
Perhaps the most popular California family travel destination is Disneyland, which is located in Anaheim, a city on the West Coast. Like its predecessor in Florida, Disney World, Disneyland Resort consists of more than one theme park and multiple hotels, providing a wide variety of entertainment for children and adults alike. From rides to shows to shopping and restaurants, Disneyland is the premiere destination for California travel with kids.
For a somewhat more rustic family vacation, check out Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While hiking tends to be the main activity, you can also ride an old-fashioned steam engine, learn to rock climb at one of the nation's best mountaineering schools, take a guided mule tour, bike, fish, swim, raft, and even ski in winter.
The San Diego area is home to SeaWorld and LegoLand, two destinations bound to be popular with the little ones. Monterey Bay is famous for its aquarium, the Carmel mission, and Cannery Row. And San Francisco has trolleys, cable cars, and Alcatraz prison.
Of course, the signature of any California vacation is time spent soaking up the sun, and there are numerous beaches throughout the state that ensure no matter where you go, you'll always be close to sand and surf.
California Vacation Packages
Many companies and travel agents offer California vacation packages, bundling airfare, hotel, and various attractions for far less than they'd cost individually. Even if you plan to drive to California (which can make for a great family road trip), finding a hotel package that includes meals and/or admission to local attractions can save money and help keep your vacation hassle-free.
For some of the deepest discounts, check out online deals. Just be sure to read the fine print and know exactly what you're getting before you purchase—most online sites don't allow for refunds or date changes once you're locked in.