Looking for something different to do with the kids? Something bucket list worthy? How about the drive-in? Remember the double features, staying up late watching movies in your jammies under the stars, tubs of popcorn from the snack bar, and, as the night wore on, crawling into the pile of blankets mom brought? Today's kids don't need to miss out on this American institution; though not as popular as they once were, several area drive-ins are still operating, plus LA has a pop-up drive-in, too. Drive-ins are generally cheaper than movie theaters, often show double features, and let you bring your own food. We're fortunate in the Southland to have oodles of free outdoor movies in summer, but there is something uniquely magical about the drive-in.
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Laguna Beach in Orange County is a beach- and art-lovers paradise, a land of scuba diving and gallery exploring. The town was originally created as an artists' colony, known to this day for its many art festivals, but Laguna has plenty of other great amenities and events, too, that make this town a great place for kids and the whole family. Whether you are a local, a daytripper, or just looking for a SoCal staycation to please all ages, heading to Laguna Beach is a great idea!
At some point, just about every boy and girl will want to try fishing. Whether you plan to eat your haul or catch and release, fishing is a time-honored, relaxing way for kids and parents or grandparents to spend quality quiet time together—and it's a classic summer activity. Why not start with a free wharf fishing clinic, to learn fishing basics or ocean fishing, then head out to one of the spots below on your own!
Nothing is more fun on a too-hot day than some water play—just ask the kids. And if you want to give them a big surprise, take them to a water theme park. There are several water parks in Southern California, with large scale splash parks to please every kid from toddler to teen. Of course, if you're looking for something smaller, closer, or more low-key, you can always check out our list of water play features at city parks; but if you're looking to make a big splash, check out one of the SoCal parks below.
Local libraries are a key part of the parenting experience, and most of us are aware of the goings-on at our nearest branch—from toddler storytimes, to homework help, to family movie nights. Some savvy parents are even on top of the many extra perks that come with a library card. But what about venturing beyond the local branch? With so many libraries in the greater Los Angeles area, some are really exceptional and merit a visit even if they're not your local. The 10 SoCal libraries below all boast something extra that makes them worth a drive.
Vroom Vroom! Does the sound of the garbage truck coming down the street send your kids running to watch? Do they dream of grabbing a ride? Earth Day kicks off city yard open houses and recycling fair season, and these events are hugely popular with kids of a certain age. More than 6,000 residents attend an open house in an average year. If your kiddos have any curiosity about what goes on in a garbage truck, this is their chance to satisfy it.
Spring is in the air, and spring means wildflowers! This season might not deliver a superbloom, but the rain that has finally turned up at the end of winter could still paint some parched hillsides in colors worth posing the family in front of. There are several locations known for spectacular annual displays of spring wildflowers in Southern California (not to mention the famous fields of Carlsbad), and areas recovering from fire 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 display. (Don't have time to drive outside the city limits? We know plenty of local hikes worth checking, too!)
If we hear of more great displays, we'll share in our newsletter! (Have you subscribed?)
If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you probably have great memories of rockin' and rollin' at the roller rink. Birthday parties, end of year school trips, disco evenings, or just plain having fun inside on a hot or rainy day—roller rinks were the best. Even though inline skates are the outdoor skate of choice these days, we can still put on some quads at these LA- and OC-area roller rinks. Take the kids for a taste of your childhood. And, Mom and Dad, you can go ahead and skate too. It is great exercise and just as fun as you remember.