California
Family-friendly Activities

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Our most recommended California Family-friendly Activities

Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

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Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

2. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

The tour departs from Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf, where the boat sets sail into the harbor, home to breathtaking sea views. As the tour leaves the dock, catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Upon leaving the harbor, the boat passes the historic Cannery Row and then enters the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Monterey is one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to the deep submarine canyon close to shore. This is where the search for the wonders of the bay’s marine life begins. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Keep your eyes peeled as you scan the water for the abundance of marine life that lives here. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, fin whales and more. As you sail, listen to the onboard biologist provide fascinating insight into the creatures of the bay, and what is done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. You can expect to see humpback whales daily but, you may also see blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales. One of largest movements of mammals on earth happens just off the coast of Pacific Grove, CA – the south end of Monterey Bay. Gray whales pass by the coast, about a 30-minute ride from Monterey Harbor. Due to the short distance from the “gray whale super highway”, the trips can be shorter in duration for the winter time.

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Aquarium of the Pacific: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Admission

3. Aquarium of the Pacific: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Admission

Take a journey of discovery at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Discover sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Come face-to-face with the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon, hand-feed colorful lorikeet birds, and watch the Magellanic penguins. Discover Pacific Visions where you explore underwater realms and future possibilities. The centerpiece, Honda Pacific Visions Theater, features an 8-minute film with multisensory effects. The massive 180-degree curved screen and floor projection disc encompass the viewers’ full range of vision, creating a uniquely immersive experience. The theater experience is included in admission.

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San Diego: Harbor Cruise

4. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

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Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

5. Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

Enjoy world-class entertainment all in one place at Universal Studios Hollywood™. With the regular general admission tickets, you will receive full access to the park to enjoy either 1 or 2 days (depending on the option selected) of rides, shows and attractions. For those wishing to spend less time in lines, the Universal Express Ticket is also available to book. This ticket includes the 1-day general admission ticket, one-time skip-the-line park entry, one-time express access to each ride and attraction plus priority seating at select shows.* This ticket is very popular with guests, so purchase this ticket in advance here to guarantee Universal Express™ privileges! Some of the popular rides, shows and attractions you will enjoy at Universal Studios Hollywood include: The World Famous Studio Tour Go behind-the-scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore Hollywood's most famous backlot in the world's largest working movie studio. • Tour the world-famous Backlot with comedian/video host Jimmy Fallon and learn the secrets of Hollywood moviemaking.  • Visitors can experience the largest street movie set in Hollywood history built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg himself.  • Guests can see the sets from hit series and witness special effects used in blockbusters like The War of the Worlds. • Plus, you'll ride through the world's largest 3-D experience on King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade™, and sample fare from the wizarding world's best-known establishments. The Walking Dead Prepare to fight for survival in a fully immersive journey as they navigate through a world overrun by hungry walkers. Guests follow in the footsteps of the human survivors as they battle their way through nightmarish iconic landscapes that bring the most popular TV show in history to life! Despicable Me Minion Mayhem  Join Gru, his daughters, and the rebellious Minions on a heartwarming and thrilling 3-D ride.The journey starts in Gru’s home, where guests are recruited for his latest scheme – one where they’ll become an actual Minion! *Does not apply to food and retail locations or non-seated shows. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s18). Jurassic Park TM & © 2018 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. The Walking Dead © 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. ©2018 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. *Park, rides/shows/attractions, entertainment, experience details and/or access to event may be restricted or unavailable due to capacity/closures/other factors and benefits/restrictions are subject to change without notice. *Ticket is not valid at Universal Orlando Resort. Ticket is valid at Universal Studios Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, California.

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Warner Bros. Studios Hollywood Tour

6. Warner Bros. Studios Hollywood Tour

Get ready to touch, tour, and explore the 110-acre backlot that brought “Argo” and “Batman” to the big screen. From “Gravity” to “Friends,” the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood takes you behind the camera for a revealing look at your favorite TV shows and movies. Explore “Stage 48: Script to Screen,” an interactive soundstage that explores phases of the film and television production process. Re-enact a scene from “Friends” on the iconic “Central Perk” set, or climb aboard Harry Potter’s broomstick for a photo opportunity. Explore the Studio Store with exclusive merch from your favorite films and TV shows. Dine at the Central Perk Cafe and enjoy your meal amongst recreated sets like Monica's apartment, and Joey and Chandler's pad. Then, shop for exclusive Friends merch in the Friends Boutique. The Grand Finale lets you step into recreated sets from the DC Universe where you can explore superheroes and supervillains. Then swish and flick your way through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and even have your own Hogwarts house sorting ceremony.

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San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

7. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

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San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

8. San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Loop: Stop 1: Pier 41 (End of Powell St), Fisherman's Wharf Stop 2: Washington Square – Corner of Columbus and Union StreetsStop 3: Embarcadero Center – Corner of Clay and Battery StreetsStop 4: Ferry Building - 1 Market Street, between Stuart and Spear StreetsStop 5: Union Square South – Geary Street across from Macy’s Entrance Stop 6: Hilton Hotel – Corner of Mason and Ellis Streets Stop 7: Civic Center - Fulton Street between Larkin and HydeStop 8: Alamo Square/Painted Ladies - Corner of Fell and Pierce StreetsStop 9: Haight Ashbury - Corner of Haight and Shrader Streets Stop 10: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 11: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista Point Main Parking AreaStop 12: Palace of Fine Arts – Corner of Richardson Ave and Francisco StreetStop 13: Marina Neighborhood - Corner of Lombard and Gough Streets Stop 14: Lombard Street Corridor - Corner of Lombard and Gough StreetsStop 15: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal – The Embarcadero Stop 16: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf Stop 17: End of Tour - 99 Jefferson Street Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the 'City by the Bay' and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and Fisherman's Wharf.  The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key points of interest all around San Francisco. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history. You have the choice of a personal recorded commentary available in 10 languages. This is the best way to discover all that San Francisco has to offer. This unique city tour has 17 stops for guests to hop on and hop off at. From Fisherman’s Wharf to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, immerse yourself in San Francisco’s diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views. Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

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San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

9. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

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San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

10. San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

Marvel at the amazing views of San Diego Bay as you look out for sightings of marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, gray whales, and more. Your tour will be led by ocean experts as you get a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem and the sea creatures that live in it. Discover the San Diego coast on a two-story whale watching yacht, featuring 360-degree views from the main level and upper sundeck, multiple restrooms, and free guest WiFi. You will follow the whale migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. Early in the season, whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. On their return trip, northbound whales swim further out, up to 9-12 miles off the coast. Make sure to wear layers as it can get pretty cool on the bay and don't forget to wear your sunscreen and hat while on this excursion. Bring your camera to capture all the memories you'll make on this exciting adventure.

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Other Sightseeing Options in California

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What people are saying about California

Amazing experience. Staff was great and pilot was really friendly and patient and let us take lot of pictures. Our kids really enjoyed it as well.

Fun and informative commentary. We had to turn back due to weather, but got a voucher to use for another time that won’t expire.

Knowledgeable naturalists add to trip. Clean ship and great experience. Would definitely book again.

Follow the guidance by fittinf face mask and keep enough distance from others .

Food, food, glorious food. Interesting local insights. Good value.