Sure, there are miles of great beaches in SoCal, including a few hidden gems, but sometimes you want to cool off without sand and waves. It can be worth going a little farther to find a swimming pool that’s open to the public for recreational swimming and offers something special: Think water slides, water play features, extended shallow areas for the little ones to splash in, or even just a beautiful, peaceful setting with cocktails and wifi. Here are our favorite destination swimming pools worth a drive in LA and OC.
Latest posts by Kathie Bozanich
The beach is made for kids—the sand, the sun, the surf. That last thing can be a worry, though, when it comes to toddlers and smaller children. Parents are forced to play defense all day to prevent their little ones from being tossed, turned, and dragged by turbulent waves. Knowing some beach safety rules is a good start; but there are a few beach areas in Los Angeles and Orange counties that offer the best of all worlds: the sand and sun plus shallow, gentle expanses of water perfect for wading.
Our daughter feels like Vegas is her second home, and it’s no wonder: we've been visiting Sin City a couple of times a year since she was a baby. We fit in lots of family outings during our visits, like riding the High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel, watching the Bellagio fountains, and checking out the flamingoes at the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. My husband and I usually do the rotation thing when it comes to gambling (one of us goes and one of us stays with our daughter), but every now and then it's nice to splurge on childcare and enjoy Las Vegas as a couple.
What's summer without a good festival? And what's LA without at least 25 of them? We've pulled together 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.
Soak, slide, repeat. When the heat is on in the summer, you want refreshing water blasting from all sides in a variety of ways. With new slides and a major renovation, Knott’s Soak City is now open for the 2017 season, and as longtime season pass holders we were excited to check out all of the changes—including seven brand new water slides.
The approach of spring, for many parents, is also the beginning of the season of worrying about how to survive summer vacation. Picking the right summer camp can be overwhelming, especially if your little ones will spend a big chunk of their summer there. Our Camp Guide is a great place to start gathering ideas, and we recommend searching the listings in our camp directory, too. But what can really help narrow down the field is checking out camps in person. That's where open houses come in. They offer a fun way to get information about activities, see how your kids take to the environment, and talk in person with camp directors to see whether you've found a good fit.
Below is a list of open houses offered over the next several weeks; these are great opportunities to talk to the people who might be spending the day with your kids. Click on a camp name to get more information about the camp's programs.
Dinner happens every day, and family members are quick to remind you of its existence. “What’s for dinner?” “When’s dinner?” “Have you started on dinner?” Notice a theme?
Thoughts of it echo in your head as a busy mom, and the pressure can be especially unnerving if you aren’t a foodie. You want a meal to be quick, easy, and healthy, but the grocery store is a hassle with tired kids in tow; the fast-food window brings inevitable guilt, and you can't do Happy Hour every night.
This is why fresh meal delivery services are flourishing in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, with more are popping up all the time. Led by Blue Apron and other innovators, these services deliver either complete meal kits with the recipes and perfectly proportioned fresh ingredients, or ready-made meals to your front door. And what kid doesn't like getting and opening boxes?
Get lost in some toddler-sized blades of grass? Check. Make a dance floor change its image with every step? Check. Spin webs, create beautiful butterfly wings, get followed by a firefly? Check, check, check. We checked out the Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit at the Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana, and all the romping, climbing, creating, and dancing kids let us know it's a great place to let your little ones' imaginations roam.