If you're raising a kid who loves a good rush of adrenaline, and roller coasters barely scratch the surface, maybe it's time for a family outing in the tree tops. Zip lining is a thrilling, exciting, and safe activity that is great for adventurous kids and their parents. There are several zip line locations around Southern California, and most feature a a 2–3 hour tour with several different lines.
The locations below are all day trips or weekend trips from LA. It is possible to zip a bit closer to home with some advance planning; Malibu's Shalom Institute has a zip line in the woods, available for use at any of its annual festivals (like the Family Hanukkah Festival), and Ventura Ranch Campground near Santa Paula has a fairly thrilling zip line available for camping guests.
Zip lines have minimum and maximum weights, so make sure everyone in your party fits within the limits. Some have height maximums as well—and no adrenaline junkie wants to have to watch the action, including dad. You are best off purchasing or reserving your tickets and tour time in advance, as tour groups top out around 10 participants.
Zip line companies provide gear and helmets, but be sure to go in comfortable shorts or pants (no skirts), closed-toed shoes (sneakers are ideal), tie back long hair, and apply sunscreen first thing. And don’t forget your GoPro and chest strap or helmet attachment!
Big Pine Zipline Tours
6047 Park Drive
Big Pine offers more than just zip lines. There are 2 different tour options, or you can do both for an all-day experience. There are zip lines, sky bridges, sky stairs, and controlled freefalls, as well as short hikes between activities. These tours are more physical, requiring good health and basic fitness. Minimum age is 10, and zippers must be between 90–250 pounds.
Action Tours Big Bear
41693 Big Bear Blvd Ste A
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Action’s zip line tour features nine different lines, as well as a jeep ride and suspension bridge. Weight must be 75–250 pounds. There is no height minimum, but the height maximum is 6’5”.
SkyPark at Santa's Village
28950 California 18
Skyforest, CA 92385
SkyPark has a little of everything—a fun zipline for the whole family as well as rock climbing walls, mountain biking, ice skating (in season), archery, a train ride, and other entertainment. There is no specific age restriction on the zipline, but weight limits are 60-250 pounds.
Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour
1 Descanso Canyon Rd
This zip line tour features 5 zip lines, beginning in the hills above Avalon and descending through Descanso Canyon. Tour guides give short history, ecology, and nature presentations at stops between lines. Tour is about 2 hours. Weight 80–240 pounds (230 for evening/night tours), riders under 80 pounds or aged 5–9 must ride tandem with an adult (max. combined weight 235 pounds, 225 for evening/night tours). See the website for the Zip and Ship package.
La Jolla Zip Zoom
22000 Highway 76
Pauma Valley 92061
As of September 2015, La Jolla Zip Zoom has the longest zip line in California, at over 2500 feet. Your ticket gets you a 2-hour guided tour, with 4 lines of varying lengths (all have parallel cables so you can share your experience). Wind will close these lines, but you can zip line in the rain here. Riders must be 65–275 pounds, and there is a 48” height minimum.
San Diego Zoo's Safari Park Flightline Zip Line
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
619-718-3000 or 1-800-407-9534
This zip line is an add-on ticketed experience at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, and be sure to purchase in advance. The Safari Park offers something no other California zip line tour can—it takes you over the park's exotic animals. This tour takes about 1 hour.
Skull Canyon Eco Experiences and Zipline
13540 Temescal Canyon Road
This 160-acre park features 2 zipline courses. The Original Course features 6 lines, and has a weight requirement of weight 60–250 pounds. The Extreme Course has 5 lines that are higher and longer, and a weight requirement of 100–250 pounds. The Speed Run option features one tandem line—the last in the Extreme Course (100-250 pound weight).
Looking for more ways to keep your kids' hearts pumping? How about going for a squealing good ride in a Sunny Day Scoot?