Palos Verdes

12 Kid-friendly Beaches for Families in Los Angeles & Orange County

Beach is what SoCal is all about, but with so much sea and sand around it can actually be hard to choose which is the best spot to stake the family beach umbrella. In the years when sand-filled diapers and tired little legs feel challenging, you want to be sure you've chosen a beach that will pay off with those great summer memories. You could head for a beach with a playground (we know some good ones), but for just enjoying the wonderful Pacific Ocean with easy parking, bathrooms, snacks, or other amenities, we love to return to the dozen beaches below. Gather the shovels, sandwiches, and sunscreen, and go west, young families!

27 Festivals and Fairs: Must-Do Fun for Summer in LA and Orange County

What's summer without a good festival? And what's LA without at least 25 of them? We've pulled together more than 25 of the best summer festivals in Los Angeles and Orange County, from June through September. Whether it's celebrating community or something more specific—like salsa or lobster!—fairs and festivals are an essential part of a Southern California summer. Here's our guide to help your family make summer plans to bond over fried food, carnival rides, art, boats, and lots of outdoor music

Best Summer Horse Riding Camps around Los Angeles and Orange County

It's hard to believe that only a few decades ago many LA kids could pat and even ride horses in their own neighborhoods. My friend who hails from Brentwood remembers feeding carrots to front yard horses just blocks from the now bustling and trendy San Vicente Blvd. Wouldn't that be nice? If you have a little rider-wanna-be but no riding ring next door, don't despair: there are many horseback riding summer camps with lessons for kids right around the corner.

Along with our recommendations for the LA area's best art camps, classic outdoor summer camps, and science camps, we offer our picks for LA and Orange County's best summer horse riding camps. Be sure to check our camp guide for more camp ideas!

Celebrating Purim at Carnivals All Over Los Angeles

Not too sure what Purim is? Imagine something between Hebrew Halloween and Middle Eastern Mardi Gras, and you'll more or less have it. Jewish families know Purim as a time of uncharacteristically raucous rabbinical revelry, marked by costumes, noisemakers, interactive storytelling, triangular pastries, and enough drink (for the grown-ups) to muddy the lines between good and evil. Gentile families generally don't know it at all. But Purim is worth knowing. Its story has all the best elements: a party-hearty king, a beautiful and courageous queen, a resourceful good guy, and a bad guy so hateful that everyone drowns out his name with noisemakers at community carnivals all over town. Check out one of the events below for classic Purim activities, costume parades, and boisterous retellings of the Purim story.

And if you know of a celebration we've missed, please let us know!

Breakfast with Santa Claus: Where LA Kids Can Share a Bagel with Father Christmas

Doing lunch might work for some LA types, but Santa Claus does breakfast. So before you take a train with Santa, see The Nutcracker with Santa, do some holiday shopping with Santa, wave to Santa on a boat, call Santa on the phone, or take funky LA photos with Santa, first you, your kids, AND Santa all need a good breakfast. The holidays are a busy time of year after all.

Most (though not all) of the events below require reservations, and some fill up surprisingly early. It's worth making the effort, though, if for no other reason than to see how good some people's table manners can be when the man at the head of the table is wearing a red suit and wielding a list.

Best Kid-Friendly Hotels for a Los Angeles Family Vacation

Finding bliss and relaxation on vacation is so much easier when the kiddos are happy. Whether you're visiting Los Angeles, housing out-of-town guests, or indulging in a staycation (though we can recommend some kid-friendly hotels all around the world), why not choose a hotel that caters to the smallest guests? These LA resorts offer a little slice of paradise, family-friendly amenities, and unique experiences that might make you want to ditch that faraway destination and spend the weekend in SoCal. The best part is watching the kids have a blast, too.

Indie Toy Stores: LA's Best Spots To Shop for Toys

Toys. Kids love ‘em; parents wish they would put them away. But in this the age of electronics, we can all agree that a good old-fashioned manipulative beats a device with a screen any day. With even big toy store chains like FAO Schwartz and Toys 'R' Us closing shop, it's time for us to rally and support the local toy stores we love if we want them to be here next year—particularly the ones where you find an unusual gift just when you need it.

What's Purim and Why All these Carnivals and Festivals?

Not too sure what Purim is? Imagine something between Hebrew Halloween and Middle Eastern Mardi Gras, and you'll more or less have it. Jewish families know Purim as a time of uncharacteristically raucous rabbinical revelry, marked by costumes, noisemakers, interactive storytelling, triangular pastries, and enough drink (for the grown-ups) to muddy the lines between good and evil. Gentile families generally don't know it at all. But Purim is worth knowing. Its story has all the best elements: a party-hearty king, a beautiful and courageous queen, a resourceful good guy, and a bad guy so hateful that everyone drowns out his name with noisemakers at carnivals all over town. Check out one of the events below for classic Purim carnival activities, costume parades, and boisterous retellings of the Purim story.

And if you know of a celebration we've missed, please let us know!

18 Great LA Parks for Birthday Parties Kids Will Rave About

Lucky for us, hosting mostly free kids’ birthday parties at the many glorious parks around Los Angeles is available year-round; and with our famous weather, it’s a pretty safe perk to gamble on. From rustic to scenic to built-in activities, the city’s bounty is near limitless. And the best part: no sticky floor and dirty fingerprints to scour afterward. Be sure to check whether there are additional fees around parking or other rules; LA City parks, for example, require a permit fee for bounce houses (we have an entire post just on parks that allow bounce houses). Read on for some of our favorite party parks, with ideas for themes at each one. And check out these other parks with barbecue grills and parks with gated playgrounds, too.

Great Summer Horse Riding Camps near Los Angeles

It's hard to believe that only a few decades ago many LA kids could pat and even ride horses in their own neighborhoods. My friend who hails from Brentwood remembers feeding carrots to front yard horses just blocks from the now bustling and trendy San Vicente Blvd. Wouldn't that be nice? If you have a little rider-wanna-be but no riding ring next door, don't despair: there are many horseback riding summer camps with lessons for kids right around the corner.

Along with our recommendations for the LA area's best art camps, classic outdoor summer camps, science camps, and cooking camps, we offer our picks for LA and Orange County's best summer horse riding camps. (Be sure to check our camp guide periodically for more camp categories being added all the time!)

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