California Vacation Ideas for the Family

Looking for some great California Vacation Ideas for an amazing family road trip? We have put together our top vacation ideas for families with children that will make for memories that last.

California Road Trip for Families

This great California road trip takes families from San Diego Zoo past Lego-Land out to Palm Springs, does Disney, then through the amazing achievement that is Hearst Castle, travels through Big Sur, Yosemite and ends near Napa.

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Overview of California for Families

Not only is California the natural wonder of National Parks like Yosemite and rugged coastlines like Big Sur, it is also a bigger economy than most countries in the world with glorious cities like like LA and San Francisco. From the wine valleys to Disneyland, there are more than enough attractions to keep busy. We take you through a journey of some of our favorites.

San Diego For Families

Home to the world famous San Diego Zoo which is a long established world leader in the open landscape it provides for it's animals. This is a non-brainer for families with children.  San Diego also has many great beaches which are supervised.  Learn More about San Diego Family Vacations and the best San Diego Beaches.  On your way north make sure you check out Lego-land on the way.

Palm Springs Family Vacation Ideas

Palm Springs also boasts a lot of family activities you may not expect to find in a desert. While we hold this as an optional part of  your California family road trip we do recommend you do at least consider the option.

For Amusement there is:
Knotts Soak City Water Park Palm Springs.
Boomers! Palm Springs has Miniature Golf, an Arcade, Rock Wall, Go Karts and Bumper Boats and more.
Oasis Water Resort has 13 water slides.

As far as Museums go check out:
Palm Springs Air Museum
Ruddy's General Store Museum which recreates a store out of the 20's and 30's.

Palm Family Vacations Video Below

For heritage visit:
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
ot take the Palm Canyon Drive

Also see;
San Jacinto Mountain
Hike the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons
or catch The Fabulous Palm Spring Follies performances.


See Palm Springs Family Vacations and Accommodation


Hearst Castle 

California's most treasured family destinations is Hearst Castle located at San Simeon. A good ideas to include this in your road trip as you begin the trip up the Big Sur. Se more on Big Sur vacation ideas.


Big Sur Family Vacation Ideas

Big Sur is a haven to enjoy the coastline with your family through horseback riding, coast tours or hiking. Where the natural forests meet the shoreline the area has a laid back atmosphere and has long been the haunt of artists and poets attracted by the tranquility. From San Simeon to Carmel there and including Ventana Wilderness area and the Los Padres National Forest this is a quality option for families. Go to our Big Sur Family Vacation Ideas.

Family vacation to Big Sur during spring break, 2010


Lake Tahoe Family Vacation Ideas

Located on the Sierra Nevada at over 6000 feet, Lake Tahoe and its pristine waters that span out across the horizon offer a host of amazing winter and summer activities. 

The video playlist below provides a few ideas to get you started looking for great Tahoe ideas for your family below. But why not check out the line up of activities for families by Lake Tahoe.

Scroll through video of the Tahoe vacation ideas - click playlist  above.


Yosemite Ideas for Families

One of the original vast wilderness areas of deep valley falls and meadows, Yosemite is etched into the psyche of the American people as a frontier wilderness utopia in the High Sierra . One of the top strategies required to navigate a family vacation to Yosemite vacation is a beat the summer traffic approach. We guide you through this as well as some of the better places to visit, when to go,  where to camp, and things to do as a family are are all listed on our Yosemite Family Vacation Ideas.

We also have a review of the best family camp sites in Yosemite.

This video below captures a little of the serenity the family can derive from a Yosemite vacation if you get it right.

Click playlist button above on the video to view more of the Yosemite Family vacation ideas videos above.


Napa Valley Family Vacation Ideas

You may have not considered taking the kids of a wine tour of the Napa Valley but that is not all there is to do there. A few things families may find of interest in the area are:

Castello di Amorosa - this is a 13th century Tuscan-style castle and apart from the wines there are horse-drawn vineyard tours.
Skyline Wilderness Park

Calistoga natural Springs and frontier country
Scientopia Discovery Center has exhibits, recycle arts and crafts
Scientopia at the Napa Science Fair Video


Napa Valley Family Vacation Packages and Accommodation


California Road Trip Collaboration Map

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Family Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals offer the family great flexibility and usually an upgrade in quality. Compare of vacation rentals for families to the vacation packages available BEFORE you book. 

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Top California Family Resorts

Looking for some great California Deals on accommodation for your family?

Los Angeles

San Diego

Napa Valley

Palm Springs

Lake Tahoe

California Ski Resorts

Big Bear Lake Ski Resorts