Orange County

The Best Los Angeles Area Hiking Trails for Families

We've all found ourselves—on long weekends, spring breaks, sick days, you name it—feeling like we might be ready to climb the walls. If that's not an option, maybe it's just time to take a hike

We've compiled a list of some of LA's best hiking destinations for you and your little cherubs (though if you're pushing someone up that mountain, you may want the stroller-friendly hikes). Each of the self-led hikes below is an LA classic. Of course, if you like to add a goal to hike toward, you might try this list of hikes with waterfalls, or maybe even do a little geocaching along the way.

Free in January: 15 Free Things To Do with Kids In Los Angeles

The holidays are over, and we all deserve a long winter's nap. But just because the decorations are getting packed up doesn't mean the fun has to stop. There are still plenty of free things to do this January, when all those Christmas & Hanukkah gifts start to lose their luster. From moon gazing to dance parties, if you're looking to keep busy without breaking the bank, we've got you covered. So grab the winter coat, and put away the checkbook, because who says you can't have fun on a budget? 

New Year's Day in Los Angeles: 19 Fun Things To Do with Kids for 2019

The last holiday of winter break or the first holiday of the new year—however you look at it, New Year is a day for family time; and if you opt for a kid-friendly New Year's Eve activity, you could even have the energy for an early start. You might just choose an outing from our list of 47 Things To Do While Everyone Else Is Out of Town, but how to know if it's an option on the holiday? All of the outings below are great choices for a New Year's Day activity—in fact, some of them can only be enjoyed on January 1st. Happy New Year!

47 Things To Do around LA When Everyone Else Goes Away for Christmas

Shhhhh. Do you hear that? Wait—I think.... Yep! They're gone! All those people whose families live on the east coast, in the Midwest, in the Bay Area—they're all standing in their socks at airport security, telling their kids to hurry up and knock back that juice box before they miss their plane. Doesn't it make you glad to be in LA?

The marvelous secret I never knew in my childless, travel-at-will days is that for roughly 10 blessed days in December every year the highways of Los Angeles open up—and I'm not talking the San Andreas Fault way. While all those other Angelenos are away, you can do anything, anywhere, and it need not take you more than 20 minutes to get there. Have friends you miss in Burbank? Never get to the beach? Now is the time to start checking items off our 100 Things To Do in LA Bucket List, or try a few of the far-fetched and fun outings below that won't feel nearly so far during LA's true Holy Week!

What's Open on Christmas Day in LA: 25 Fun Things To Do

Not everyone spends Christmas Day opening presents and singing Christmas carols. If Christmas at your house feels much like any other day but without as much to do—or if your family are just really fast unwrappers—Mommy Poppins has you covered with everything from whales to festivals, and someplace to eat at the end of the day. Ready for 25 suggestions of things to do and places to go on Christmas Day that have (mostly) nothing to do with chestnuts or open fire?

There Are Fairies Living in this Orange County Park—And Kids Are on their Trail

There's a small park in Orange County with a big secret: fairies. Loads of them. The Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo, aka The Oso Creek Fairy Trail, offers a delightful way for young kids to explore nature and reinforce a belief in magic. The picturesque hiking trail is one of the most popular destinations in south Orange County thanks to countless "fairy sightings" reported by families with small kids.

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Worth Paying or Driving for this Christmas

An after-dinner drive to take in one of LA's classic neighborhood holiday light displays is a treat all families should indulge in. It's an easy, cheap way to get in the Christmas spirit (or just enjoy someone else's). Of course, counting on other people to decorate their lawns is only so reliable. To be sure of a full evening of light and good cheer, sometimes it's worth splurging on a pay-to-play light display. Several local destinations indulge us in our desire to see grand-scale holiday lights, from Zoo Lights to walks in the woods. The bigger the group you can round up, the more festive—but also the more expensive it can get. It helps to know which of LA's big public light shows are worth the ticket price this holiday season.

December GoList: Best Holiday Events and Activities for LA and OC Kids

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the daily, backward-counting dose of chocolate known as Advent begins. Suddenly we have barely three weeks left to squeeze every bit of holiday fun out of this city that we possibly can—with a week left over to decide whether we should try to celebrate New Year's Eve with our kids, or elusively without them. There are amazing holiday light displays to take in and loads of free holiday extravaganzas. There are Santa photos to snap, trees to light, and Nutcrackers to see; and Hanukkah looms large on the lit horizon, too. In short, no matter how hard you try to do it all, there is more epic fun stuff going on than anyone could possibly do in a month. If you had to choose, though, below are the dozen December events we suggest you make time for.

Where To Donate Toys for the Holidays: Toys for Tots, Spark of Love, and More

The holidays can be a particularly rough time to be in need, and this year's terrible fire season has put far more families in this position than usual. Showing our kids how the community rallies is important. We can make time to volunteer with our kids—a great holiday tradition—and kids can also experience the joy of giving by passing along some of last year's gifts, sharing the old with someone new before finding out what Santa delivers this season. When we pursue the parental thrill of buying super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making our kids' day on Christmas or Hanukkah, maybe we could add just one more for a child in need. We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations—new and gently used—to spread around some of that holiday joy.

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