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.

Our California RoadrtipOur California Roadrtip

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

Family Friendly California Destinations

Enjoying the California ShoreEnjoying the California Shore

Top California Family Resorts

The TripAdvisor list of the best California vacation spots for families is also good place to start when looking for ideas for a California vacation. 

Love this Family vacation documentary packed full of fascination ideas about travel and life: 

San Francisco PierSan Francisco Pier


Video Series of California Vacation Destinations

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.

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.

The California DesertThe California Desert

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

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.

Whale spotting of the California CoastWhale spotting of the California Coas

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

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.

Lake Tahoe Family Vacation IdeasLake Tahoe Family Vacation Ideas

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 .

Yosemite Ideas for FamiliesYosemite Ideas for Families

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

Don't Miss Out! See Today's Top Hotel Deals at TripAdvisor

Family Vacation Deals

 We recommend always to check reviews on TripAdvisor (use this link) before booking any travel deals. 

If we find a great family vacations deals banner for families to browse and save, we display it here:

Accorhotels -  50% off second room for kids.

Beaches Luxury Family Resorts-  65% off, free scuba and more.

BookingBuddy - Family Cruise , flight and hotel deals.  - Compare Prices  - Family hotels worldwide

Bookit - Up to 50% family vacations

Cheap Caribbean - Great family packaged deals by this network are available all over the Caribbean. Including up to 65% off.

Cruisedirect - Discount family cruise offers.

Expedia - Discounted Family Vacation packages and last minute deals. - Great deals on luxury offerings.

G Family Adventures - Rugged outdoor adventures to exotic locations made affordable

Groupon - Time for a Family Trip! See our family friendly options here.

Holiday Inn  - Kids Stay and Eat for Free

Motel 6 - Pet Friendly and budget offers.

Priceline - Save with bidding and Package Offers of up to $500 off

SouthWest - Latest discounted air and accommodation bundles.

TripAdvisor - Allows you to search by family friendly option. Go to place to read reviews. Also one of the best places to find vacation rentals.

Have A Great Vacation Idea or Experience to Share?

Do you have a great idea or activity that will help other families bond and thrive? Let us benefit from your wisdom! We appreciate it.

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Images: Torrey Pines State Beach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

File:LaJolla childrenspool.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Free Photo: Palm Springs, California, Mountains - Free Image on ... 

Palm Springs, California, Mountains, Palm Trees, Sunset.

Big Sur – Wikipedia 

Photographed by Doug Dolde along the Big Sur coastline in California. 2006.

Official Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureaus

Yosemite National Park Tunnel View Sunrise - Kodachrome | Flickr ... 6

Yosemite National Park Tunnel View Sunrise - Kodachrome

Hearst Castle By Jim G  from Silicon Valley, CA, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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