There is more to SoCal than just Los Angeles; only slightly farther afield families can indulge in the balmy breezes of Santa Barbara. A hundred or so easy miles away, the seaside community is equally convenient for a day trip or weekend getaway. Santa Barbara is chock full of educational outings for kids and adults and a great option for a vacation in our back yard. Day-trippers can make it even easier by taking the Amtrak train from any of the LA or OC stations then riding Santa Barbara's downtown and waterfront shuttles—or the water taxi—to enjoy the local attractions below.
Latest posts by Audrey
Ziplining is about as socially distanced as an activity can get. If you're raising a kid who loves a good rush of adrenaline, maybe it's time for a family outing in the treetops. Ziplining is a thrilling, exciting, and safe activity that is great for adventurous kids—and their daring parents. We've pulled together several zipline locations that make great day trips or weekend trips from LA; the following treetop tours are currently operating unless otherwise noted.
Summer 2020 is turning out to be a retro summer, and taking kids fishing fits right in with going to a drive-in movie, playing in the back yard, and pitching a tent for the weekend. Whether you catch and release or fry it up over a fire, there is something timelessly relaxing about fishing—especially as a way for kids and parents or grandparents to spend quality time together. The fishing lakes below are great spots to learn to fish within easy reach from Los Angeles, and all are open so far this season.
Every time we run out of milk unexpectedly, I find myself wishing for a good old-fashioned milkman who would simply deliver while I slept. Oh, sure, there are all sorts of ways to order groceries online, or subscribe to dinners online, but that's not quite the same thing as just knowing, like our moms did, that when they got up in the morning they could just reach out to the milkbox and find what they needed. Well, guess what? There actually are milkmen in LA!
Milk and other dairy (or non-dairy alternative) delivery is available from a few SoCal companies. Best of all, home delivered milk is fresher than what you find at the grocery store. Typically, it has been out of the cow for no more than 48 hours—often less. It's the freshest you can get without touching an udder.
Spring is the time for enjoying wildflowers! Even when LA doesn't get enough rain for a hashtag-worthy superbloom, our hills in March and April look more like Ireland than Southern California. You won't have to go far to see carpets of flowers. There are several locations known for spectacular annual displays of spring wildflowers (not to mention the famous fields of Carlsbad), and areas recovering from recent fires can surprise us by bouncing back beautifully. Large displays typically last two to six weeks, so you need to make plans quickly when word comes of a good one. (Don't have time to drive outside the city limits? We know plenty of local hikes worth checking, too!)
Think you know mini golf? Just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about this classic game, along comes glow-in-the-dark mini golf: indoor miniature golf, lit with black lights. It's a whole new twist, and it works day or night, rain or shine, little kid or teen. We found five cool spots near Los Angeles that crank up the day glow effects to set the stage for mini golfers. Wear plenty of white or clothes with glow-in-the-dark designs and take the family to one of these luminous, eye-popping destinations that can rescue a dull afternoon, or maybe set the stage for a great birthday party.
The sticker price for kids' birthday celebrations can be huge, but did you know there's lot of free stuff to do with kids on their birthday? Many SoCal businesses offer birthday clubs, treats, and freebies for kids on their big day. As the parent, you will need to register the birthday kids—and oftentimes yourself, too, before adding your children as family members. Check the age ranges on the offers below, as they vary. Go ahead and sign up now, and the coupons and emails will start rolling in while you are busy planning a birthday party.
This is LA, so of course there are summer acting camps! And since there are different types of acting - stage acting (classical and modern), film acting, comedic acting, improv - there are also different types of acting camp. Acting camps are not just for children who want to study theater, though; they also increase public speaking skills and build self-confidence. If your child is new to the world of drama, a camp that covers many different topics can offer a solid foundation and allow your child to discovers strengths and interests. Other camps offer focused concentration on Shakespeare or acting for film, for example.
Though many of these camps offer some instruction in singing and dancing, be sure to see our Musical Theatre Camp Round-Up for those kids who enjoy Broadway-style performance. And for your other kid - the non-dramatic one - we have a bunch of other summer camps to suggest, too!
Note that summer camp information for the 2020 season is changing daily. Please click the links to the individual camps below to see which ones are offering programs this year.