Family vacations in California have much more to offer than Disneyland - although your children would never forgive you if you crossed the Magic Kingdom off your itinerary! Make sure you explore the golden state beyond LA, visiting cities like San Francisco and San Diego, as well as the wealth of national parks, which make for perfect family weekend getaways in California.
Explore California from north to south
The city of San Francisco is a great family vacation destination in California. Kids will love boat trips in the bay, many of which take you to the infamous Alcatraz Prison. If you have younger children, the Exploratorium science and art museum is great fun. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the main attraction is the SeaWorld theme park, though animal lovers will also enjoy the famous San Diego Zoo. Families can also delve into history on a tour of the USS Midway navy vessel. Afterward, you can unwind on Moonlight State Beach, a wide, sandy beach with volleyball courts and playgrounds.
Los Angeles is the state's largest city and a great destination for California family vacations. In Anaheim, home to the magical theme park Disneyland, you can also spend time at the Santa Monica beach and pier, with its 100-year-old carousel and aquarium, or hike up to the iconic Hollywood sign and take a tour of the homes of the stars. If your kids are older, Universal Studios or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter might be better alternatives.
Of course, family vacations in California are also about the state's natural attractions, particularly the stunning coastline and national parks. Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway is the best way to access coastal towns and beaches, including Monterey and Big Sur. Further inland, national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia feature educational centers and hiking trails through California's gorgeous redwood forests. Here visitors of all ages can explore the environment and sleep under the stars.