California Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended California Family-friendly activities

Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

1. 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. 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.

San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

2. San Diego: 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.

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

3. 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.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

4. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

From top to bottom, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway delivers a scenic and educational journey as you travel through 5 transitional zones. Some have compared it to taking a ride from Mexico to Alaska in just 10 minutes. See for yourself as you ride up to the top, where spectacular views await! The 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) ride from the Valley Station (elevation 2,643 feet, or 805 meters) to the Mountain Station (elevation 8,516 feet, or 2,596 meters) transports you from the warm desert sands to cool mountain air, with temperatures that are generally 30-degrees cooler than on the ground. The tramway is the threshold of the 14,000-acre Mt. San Jacinto State Park, a natural place with some of the last pristine wilderness in Southern California. In the winter, try cross-county skiing or snowshoeing. Rental equipment is available at the Adventure Cether, snow conditions permitting. During the summer months, camping, guided nature walks, and 54 miles (87 kilometers) of hiking are available. There are 2 dining options at the Mountain Station: Peaks Restaurant offers upscale contemporary cuisine with a spectacular view of the desert floor, and Pines Cafe is a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers a casual dining experience. Also at the top are gift shops, a Natural History Museum, and 2 documentary-style movies on the history of the tramway and the Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

5. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being 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. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for 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 at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

LEGOLAND California Resort: Theme Park 1-Day Admission

6. LEGOLAND California Resort: Theme Park 1-Day Admission

Ready, set, explore! with more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions designed for kids to take the lead, awesome awaits at LEGOLAND®  California Resort Theme Park! Rides & Attractions: LEGOLAND® California is filled with more than 60 kid-powered, kid-tastic rides, shows and attractions all built for fun and geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12! Inside LEGOLAND, you can enter a world of knights and princesses to conquer the Dragon Coaster. Kids can drive their own cars at Driving School. Shows & Activities: Don't miss out on character meet and greets, live shows and 4D movie experiences!  Dining: Bring your appetite! We have all of your favorites from cheeseburgers, pizza, a wide range of sweet treats and freshly prepared choices from tasty salads and fried chicken. Popcorn, novelty ice cream and cold beverages available at carts weather permitting. Shopping: Get your favorite LEGO® toys, LEGOLAND® California Resort apparel and much more in the many diverse shops found throughout LEGOLAND California Resort. Holidays at LEGOLAND (Nov 19 - Jan 8): Experience the Holidays at LEGOLAND where the entire Resort is bursting with holiday cheer. LEGO® Santa is ready for hugs, pictures, and selfies, and there’s a 30-foot LEGO® Christmas tree that twinkles to holiday tunes in Fun Town!On December 31st, 2022 we will launch our Kids’ New Year’s Eve featuring kids’ bands, party favors, fireworks and a 6pm giant brick drop!

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

7. 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.

San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

8. San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

Discover the underwater world at SeaWorld San Diego, with animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and thrilling rides. Get up close to marine life and enjoy educational animal presentations for the whole family to enjoy. Upgrade your ticket to include a dining pass to eat all day at SeaWorld. Experience thrilling rides such as Electric Eel with its high-energy twists and loops, or Manta, with two thrilling launches that send riders soaring in the spirit of the world’s largest ray. For kid-friendly fun, enjoy Tentacle Swirl, Sea Dragon Drop, Elmo's Flying Fish, and so much more. Admire the animals at SeaWorld such as beluga whales, walruses, penguins, sharks, and orcas as you learn about these incredible creatures. Enjoy interactive exhibits such as the Explorer's Reef Touchpools and Sea Lion Point. Explore the Sesame Street Bay of Play where you can meet your Sesame Street friends. If you choose to upgrade to the all-day dining bundle, you can get an entree, a side/dessert, and a drink every 1 hour at Shipwreck Reef Café®, Calypso Bay Smokehouse, Mama Stella’s® Pizza Kitchen, Big Bird's Bistro, Coral Market, Shark Market, Orca West Market, and Pretzel Shop.

Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

9. Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover the diverse wildlife of Monterey Bay on a guided dolphin and whale watching boat cruise. Feast your eyes on massive gray whales, watch playful dolphins leap from the water, spot turtles skimming underneath the waves, and learn about the ecological landscape of the bay's oceanic habitat. Begin your tour by meeting your captain and boarding the boat at the Old Fisherman's Wharf. Sail into Monterey Bay, watching for birds and otters along the wharf's shallow banks. Learn about local efforts to protect what is considered to be one of the most ecologically diverse bays in the area. As you sail further away from the shoreline, watch for harbor seals, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, elephant seals, and even sharks. Catch sight of gray whales leaping alongside the boat and curious killer whales, with their characteristic black and white coloring, swimming nearby.

Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

10. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Get ready to touch, tour, and explore the 110-acre backlot that brought the films Argo and Batman to the big screen with this guided tour of Warner Bros. Studio. From the film Gravity to the TV show Friends, go behind the camera for a revealing look at your favorite cinematic creations. 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. Recreate scenes from the DC Universe where you can explore superheroes and supervillains.  Swish and flick your way through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and even have your own Hogwarts house sorting ceremony. Between December 22 - January 1, 2023, you’ll also be able to explore a special stop at the Midwest Street Backlot, known by Gilmore Girls fans as the set location for Stars Hollow.  Enjoy holiday-themed trivia, guided tours of Stars Hollow, and behind-the-scenes stories from Gremlins, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday favorites.

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What people are saying about California

I was so impressed with the Midway Museum. Even our 15 year old grand daughter loved it. To walk in the shoes of sailors and pilots was quite the experience. We took our time and was there about four hours. Be prepared to go up and down a lot of steps. Wheel chairs are allowed, but you don't get to go down into the belly of the ship with a wheelchair. The tour was laid out so you never got lost. I don't know how sailors never got lost on that ship.

Amazing trip, great value and well worth the money. We saw hump backs, a great blue as well as dolphins and the inevitable sea lions! Highly recommend

Great way to see everything. Was a bit cold on top but cozy downstairs. Definitely recommend. Staff friendly & helpful

Really great, even though we couldn’t see the Wales they offered us a discount for our next booking

The experience was great but the dining is subpar. Eat before you head up to the mountain.