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Recreation and Fun

106 Pins

Amazing packing tips and tricks! Stuff you'd never think to do!

Packing Tips and Tricks

Seaside Lagoon The large saltwater lagoon offers trained lifeguards, swimming, a large sand area for sunbathing building sandcastles, water slides, children's play equipment, volleyball courts showers. Bring a picnic lunch, use BBQs or snack bar facilities provided by Ruby's Restaurant 200 Portofino Way Redondo Beach, Ca Admission: $7 adults, $6 kids (Cash Only) Open: daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. Parking: $4.50 in the adjacent lot.

Summertime, And The Splash Spots Are Open

Eleven must-do road trips in the US - ruggedthug

Eleven must-do road trips in the US - ruggedthug

10 Adventures in Texas' Hidden Hill Country | 1. Kayak the Medina River |

10 Adventures in Texas' Hidden Hill Country

Battleship USS Iowa Museum & Tour Located at Berth 87, the Port of Los Angeles Open daily 10am-5pm tickets Adult $18 Child $10 IOWA was launched more than 70 years ago. Forged in war, guardian of peace, IOWA is now the great gray sentry of the Los Angeles Waterfront. Stroll the famous teak decks of the most heavily armored ship in the world. Tour Crew living areas, Captains Cabin, big gun exhibits, Admiril's Bridge & fantail, then take the “Victory the Dog Adventure”, a scavenger hunt for kids.

Battleship IOWA|Museum Ship of the Year

Yamashiro Farmer’s Market (Summer) 1999 N Sycamore Ave, Hollywood May 22 to Sept 4, every Thurs 5–9pm Besides the regular fresh fruits & veggies, hummus & dips, and baked treats, you can take in a beautiful view of the city while you eat dinner at the food trucks & enjoy entertainment for the whole family Parking at top is just for Yamashiro reservations, so plan to park & ride. There’s a $2 valet w/ a shuttle running every 15min 5-9:30pm at Mosaic Church 7107 Hollywood Bl. Entrance off Brea Ave

A Family Friendly Farmers Market With a View

Avila Beach California - a hidden paradise on the Central Coast, with one road in and one road out. With its boutique surf shops, amazing dining, breathtaking beaches, and activities for everyone; home to many big concerts, fish & farmers market, hiking, biking, nightlife, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, wine tours, spas, hot springs, aquarium, and much more!

Avila Beach, California

Sycamore Springs Resort and Spa - halfway between San Francisco & LA in the lush hills of the Avila Valley on California’s Coast; a truly unique location with tremendous beauty and impeccable weather year-round. Situated on more than 100 acres of forest, hills and meadows, within walking distance to the beach, this historic property is a destination like no other. Inspired by its mineral spring water and the spectacular views that surround, this one-of-a-kind resort

Vichy Springs Resort, established in 1854, is a unique 160-year old historic hot springs resort only two hours north of downtown San Francisco. A country inn and hot springs resort, offers the only naturally warm and carbonated "Vichy" mineral baths in North America. Rooms and cottages for overnight stays or day use. naturally warm and carbonated “Vichy” mineral baths, hot soaking pool, Olympic size swimming pool (in season) and 700 private acres for walking and hiking.

Vichy Spring Resort

Sturtevant Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains is one of the finest waterfalls in Angeles National Forest. The 3.25-mile hike from Chantry Flats to the falls follows a pristine creek past resort era cabins. This is one of the most popular hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. To extend this hike, continue beyond the falls on Gabrielino Trail to Spruce Grove Camp. add a side trek from Roberts Camp to Hoegees Camp or Hermit Falls. They may also be visited as part of the 9.5mile Santa Anita Cny Loop

Sturtevant Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains

Logandale Trails System :: Nevada Trails LTS contains over 200 miles of trails, suitable for a variety of OHV types. Activities: camping, picnicking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, ATVs & motorcycle riding on the eastern sand dune area, Rock Crawling using modified Jeeps... Directions: From I-15, take Nevada Hwy 169 toward Logandale/ Overton.•Turn right on Liston Rd.•Follow the road to the right, and cross the railroad track • Follow the road into the LTS.

Logandale Trails System :: Nevada Trails

Valley of Fire State Park 29450 Valley of Fire Rd Overton, Nevada 89040 702-397-2088 Entrance $10/vehicle Camping $20/night + $10/night utility hook-ups Sites are first-come, first-serve and are equipped with shaded tables, grills, water, & restrooms. A dump station & showers. Many intriguing hikes of varying length & terrain; amazing rock formations, petrified wood, 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs; visitor center & ATV tours adrenalineatvtour... Visit during cooler monthsover 100° in summer

Claremont - a pretty little college town, with shopping & eating, hiking & biking, art & more. Only an hour from L.A. …with some spectacular Spanish architecture, California craftsmen lined aves and only minutes from a desert garden and mountain skiing. With lots of coffee shops, bike lanes, trees and fair trade shops.

Restaurant: Yamashiro Hollywood Take a steep hillside road to this iconic Japanese restaurant. Steeped in old Hollywood history, the storied site has ornate pagodas, a cascading waterfall and indoor garden & a breathtaking top-of-the-world view. Yamashiro’s heritage is alive and well in its updated menu, mixing spicy sushi rolls with crispy chicken & Asian BBQ ribs. Best to make Reservations. 1999 No. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood Phone: (323) 466-5125 Online: yamashirohollywoo...

Walk Up to the Drive-In: The New Roadside Eats Roadside Eats 6374 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, Ca 90028 Phone: 323-364-0060 Online:

Apple Pan - West LA my dad took us here when we were kids

Miceli's Restaurants - Hollywood and Universal City. "L.A.'s Oldest Italian Restaurant" The first Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, Miceli’s is the most charming little place in the city. Food is cheap and the waiters have been there since the Ice Age. Pianists serenade while you eat and servers sing along. Miceli’s is old Hollywood. The real deal. (1646 Las Palmas, Just below Hollywood Blvd)

Castello di Amorosa - the only authentic medieval (12th-century) Italian Tuscan castle and winery built in America, officially lowered its drawbridge for business in April 2007. Castello di Amorosa Winery is nestled in the western hills on 171 acres just minutes south of The Napa Valley town of Calistoga. Lots to do in Calistoga: hot springs, geyser, ride pack goats, spas, vineyards, wineries...

City of Los Angeles Dep. of Recreation & Parks -Hansen Dam Aquatic Center: 1.5 acres of crystal clear water (it is chlorinated) and two huge water slides, is a true oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle. The actual lake is open for water activities like boating & kayaking while the swim lake is the place for getting wet. Built to mimic a lake, the kids can wade into the water from the sandy “beach”. 11798 Foothill Blvd., Lake View Terrace, CA 91342 Open June–Sep 11am–6pm, weather permitting

Malibu Creek State Park Rock Pool Hike trails in Malibu State Park, where movies like MASH and Planet of the Apes were filmed, to the Rock Pool which is situated at the outlet of a picturesque gorge. Sycamores and bays provide excellent shade and make this a perfect spot to have a picnic and relax by the reflective waters. 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas, CA 91302

Hitler's House in Pacific Palisades These twisted metal gates seem innocent enough, but the former Murphy Ranch offers a sinister look at Los Angeles history. The decrepit 50-acre estate tells the story of the Nazi Party's attempt to lengthen Adolf Hitler's reach into the US by creating a fascist paradise near Malibu. The sprawling estate was reportedly meant to be a self-contained wonderland for Hitler and his followers.

Discover 2 Natural Parks (Free!) Tongva Park in Santa Monica, opened 2013, and Legacy Park in Malibu 2010, are both "natural parks” where kids can learn about native plants, the water cycle & community enrichment, while still getting to slide, puddle-stomp & climb. A beautiful balance of wild touches with an ultra-contemporary, family-friendly appeal Tongva Park 1615 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica 90401 Hours: 6am–11pm tongvapark.square... Legacy Park 23500 Civic Center Way, Malibu 90265

Discover 2 Natural Parks for the Price of One (Free!)

Pinot's Palette (just opened in Valencia, CA 2013) Bring your friends, open your favorite bottle of wine and get ready to be inspired by our local artists who will guide you step-by-step through a featured painting. At the end of the night...leave with your own masterpiece. Great Date Night or Girls Night Out!! (locations all over the US and growing)

Paint * Connect * Create with Social Artworking® the perfect way to enjoy a night out (or in) with friends and family. With Social Artworking, an individual or group starts with a trendy 16" x 20" canvas art pattern and all the supplies needed to complete a canvas of their own. After a few hours of laughter and fun, they leave with a work of art that they created themselves. Make it a party with appetizers, desserts or cheese and wine, etc. There's one in Porter Ranch, CA!

Donut Friend DIY Donuts -kids will have a blast choosing a donut (traditional, vanilla, chocolate), a glaze, a filling and toppings to create their own edible masterpiece. (They don’t make a traditionally gluten free donut per se, but they do make a wheat flourless variety) 5107 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90042 Phone: (213) 995-6191 Online:

Explore Echo Park Lake: LA’s Latest Renaissance Enjoy a postcard perfect urban park outing in the heart of L.A. with the family. Echo Park Lake still has the feel of late nineteenth century leisure, but the recent re-do takes that vibe and mixes it up with a dose of contemporary, diverse, and vibrant Los Angeles life to create one super special (and unique) place. From lotus blossoms to pedal boats, playgrounds to tasty snacks, this 150 year old park has it all.

12 Playgrounds that Make You Want to Be a Kid Again in Malibu, Calabasas, Van Nuys, Burbank, Pasadena (pictured), Beverly Hills, Santa Monica & more...

12 Playgrounds That Make You Want to Be a Kid Again

Fall Apple Picking Riley’s Farm is a working apple orchard & living history farm where you can pick your own (apples, pumpkins, berries, flowers...), press your own cider, watch a blacksmith, churn butter, dip candles, throw tomahawks, learn colonial games, explore, and then eat at Hawk’s Head, an 18th century colonial public house. Willow Brook Farm - small, family run. cider press, pot belly pig & miniature horse. great apple picking. Snow-Line has cider, caramel apples, apple tasting bar...

Pick A Peck of Apples in the Desert

LAKE BALBOA (ANTHONY C. BEILENSON PARK - FORMERLY BALBOA PARK) 6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406 80 acre water recreation facility within the Sepulveda Flood Control basin. The centerpiece of the park, Lake Balboa, is a 27 acre lake. Recreation activities include fishing, boating, remote-control boating & jogging/walking. Access is from Balboa Blvd. Pedal boats are rented daily during summer. Remainder of year are rented weekends/holidays Wheel Fun Rentals- bikes, surreys, tandems etc.

Los Angeles River: Walk, Bike, Fish & Ride horses Sepulveda Basin bike loops, meander near the river & through Lake Balboa Park & Woodley Ave. Park, home to Japanese Gardens ($3 entrance fee). Picnic at one of the multiple little pocket parks along the Narrows, like Marsh Park w/ wild-life themed play area & adjacent skate park Lake Balboa is seasonally stocked w/ rainbow trout & bass while Glendale Narrows has carp, tilapia & catfish. Marsh Park also hosts monthly campfires & programs for kids.

San Fernando Valley Relics Museum is a collection of rare photos, yearbooks, documents, postcards, toys, negatives, vintage signs, books, antiques, & artifacts from the 1800′s to present, from the San Fernando Valley. “The Valley is often overlooked and simply lumped into the overall history of L.A. (but) it has an interesting & unique history all its own” 21630 Marilla St, Chatsworth. open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more info, go to or call 818-764-0230.

Chocovivo 12469 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90044 See how a bean becomes a bar, complete with illustrative cocoa pods & stone grinders for kids to touch as they taste. Kids can peer through a small Oompa Loompa window & watch chocolate pour out of the grinder. Bean to bar, 100% organic, no milk, no soy fillers, all vegan & gluten free. Dark chocolate! Tastings available by the square, 3 for $3, or 6 for $5 At The Chocolate Drink Bar choose hot/iced w/ tons of melt-in options...

Chocovivo, A Tasty New Lesson in Chocolate

Top 10 Free Days at Museums La Brea Tar Pits - 1st Tues month. Just show up. The Skirball - Every Thursday. To Get Free Tickets: Reserve timed tickets to Noah's Ark for each Thurs the Mon morning of same week. Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens - Every 1st Thurs, available for 10:30am or 1:30 pm. Under 5 free. To Get Free Tickets: Reserve tickets online on the 1st day of the month for the next month’s free day beginning at 9am. see more...

Top Ten Free Days at Museums

Secrets of Disneylands Main Street, USA

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, USA - Stairs that lead no where to confuse the ghosts

Poppy Explosion – Lancaster, CA

The Los Angeles Gun Club 1375 East 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90021 Tel: 213-612-0931 Open 7 days:Mon-Thur 3-11pm - Fri-Sun 11am-11pm 2 or more people for gun rentals Prices: $5-$10 per gun rental Amo ranges $14-$17 (50 rounds per box)

The 10 Best Bike Rides In Los Angeles

The 10 Best Bike Rides In Los Angeles

The 12 Best Classic Los Angeles Restaurants Cole's (1908) Philippe's The Original (1908) Musso & Frank Grill (1919) Pacific Dining Car (1921) Tam O'Shanter Inn (1922) Canter's Delicatessen (1931) Lawry's The Prime Rib (1938) The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel (1941) Langer's Delicatessen (1947) Dal Rae (1952) Taylor's Steak House (1953) Yamashiro (1960) honorable mentions: Clifton's Cafeteria (1935) & Pink's Hot Dogs (1939)

The Best Comedy Clubs in Los Angeles

UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE THEATRE: This bi-coastal comedy spot never stops making Los Angelenos laugh, with affordable shows seven days a week. Housing mostly improv and sketch shows, UCB also has a strong Tuesday and Thursday night stand-up following. And most shows usually sell out. Regular weekly shows in the 92-seat theatre include Harold Night, Doug Loves Movies, Spank, Facebook, Cagematch and ASSSSCAT. The recently departed Comedy Bang! Bang! show, run by Scott Aukerman, gave the biggest n…

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve (various trail options) - 3 miles south of Carmel. The Spanish called this area Punta de los Lobos Marinos (Point of the Sea Wolves) for the barks/howls of the sea lions. The trail along the dramatic rocky coastline, from Moss Cove to Gibson Beach is about 6 miles, but shorter walks are available. The trail to the Bird Island overlook is good for bird watching, Whaler’s Cove is popular with divers & the Devil’s Cauldron whirlpool bubbles & boils at high tide.

California's best coastal walks - Lonely Planet

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - located in Moss Beach, CA, 40 min south of San Francisco on Highway 1, 15 min north of the city of Half Moon Bay. Recently designated a Marine Protected Area, the rocky shore of the reserve becomes an outdoor classroom at low tide, allowing explorers of all ages to marvel at the diversity of marine life Opens at 8 a.m.; closing time varies seasonally and is posted. Free. Download a full-color two-sided brochure to use as a guide to the reefs and tidepool creatures.

Lassen Volcanic National Park - (Northeast CA, aprox 50 miles east of Redding) Bumpass Hell Trail - Round Trip Distance: 3 miles Time: 2 hours Terrain: easy 300 foot descent Elevation: 8000 feet

Belmont Park is located on Mission Beach & offers free parking & free park admission. Enjoy traditional & contemporary amusement park rides, the wave machines at WaveHouse Beach Club, laser tag, the arcade & midway games, shop and enjoy a wide array of cuisine which includes beachfront restaurants (like rooftop restaurant/bar Cannonball) as well as food court style dining like Belmonty's Burgers & The Plunge Pizzeria. Located 1 mile west of Sea World at 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Balboa Park: the nation's largest urban cultural park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens & the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts & classes. Park grounds are open 24 hours. The Visitors Center is Open from 9:30am-4:30pm daily and offers brochures, maps, audio tours, free guided tours of the Park, transportation info, dining advice, & more. 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101

Carpinteria - This little seaside town just South of Santa Barbara has become a favorite overnight getaway. With a beautiful State Beach, a unique play area called Tomol Park (inspired by Chumash culture, a Native American tribe), and Padaro Beach Grill, a restaurant near the ocean that has picnic tables scattered around a giant sandbox, we're hooked. At Padaro Beach Grill, the kids play in the sandbox, and we get to have a meal that almost feels like a date night after a fun day at the beach!

STAR Eco Station - Culver City Pet a boa constrictor, gaze into the third eye of a monitor lizard, & meet a baby crocodile where they rescue exotic wildlife and take in endangered & illegally trafficked animals...  $8 for an hour long tour. The interior is amazing--like being in the Jungle Book! That's because Hollywood set designers lent their talents to transform the Station into a wild jungle paradise. www.ecostation.or...

365 los angeles

The Grove at Christmas - Of all the malls in L.A., The Grove just might be the most Christmas-y. The "snow" that falls in the evening, a towering Christmas tree, pictures with Santa in his workshop, free trolley & a sleigh soaring high above the fountains are all sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Shops, restaurants & events: Mommy Movies, Nike Run Club, Kids Club see calendar Tip: crowded on weekends - go early on a weekday 189 THE GROVE DR. L.A., CA 90036 visit

Venice Mosaic Tile House 1116 Palms Blvd Venice CA 90291 (between Lincoln Blvd & Penmar Ave) Open regularly for tours, call for an appointment (310) 399-1469 -- $10 per person for 1 hour tour. This house is built on a foundation of love. Artists Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran transformed the house, covering the inside and outside with beautiful mosaic tile. The house also contains their artist studios...

365 los angeles

Little Toyko: a mix of old & new, built on a foundation of Japanese spirit & strength. Visit: Fugetsu-do Sweetshop, lunch at Suehiro Cafe; take a walking tour of Little Tokyo to see: Weller Court (Friendship Knot & Challenger Memorial); at Japanese Village Plaza visit neat gift shop "Bun-ka Do", and "Foot Land" near the Plaza's red tower, 'Lette's macaron shop, a mural on Central Ave/1st St, Japanese American National Museum & MOCA... also check: www.visitlittleto...

365 los angeles

365 los angeles - "365 Unforgettable Things to Do in L.A. This blog lists pictures and details of fun ideas for family day trips in and around Los Angeles. Museums, parks, eateries, gardens, play places, hikes, etc. Lots of great suggestions, with links and info.

:: The Cat House :: in Rosamond, CA (aprox 60 miles North of LA) is a non profit organization housing over 70 of the world's most endangered felines. This breeding zoo / research facility is open to the public for $7 general admission ($6 seniors, $5 ages 3-12). Unlike a regular zoo, there are no moats between the visitors and animals, so you can get as close as 5 feet away from the felines. They host Twilight Tours, Kids Day & Scheduled Tours.(Cats are more active in cooler weather & twilight)

:: The Cat House ::

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens 3500 W. Adams Blvd,LA, CA 90018 The place is an old mansion, complete with a front gate where you're buzzed in, twin lion statues guarding the entrance, beautiful gardens and fountains, and... oh yes... that labrynth. Entry is free, and on Sundays they offer free garden tours. They also serve lunch & dinner here, for pretty cheap

365 los angeles

SWEET! at Hollywood & Highland complex 28,000 SQUARE FEET OF CANDY CARNIVALITY! Urinals that dispense candy, a Ferrari that shoots gumballs out of its exhaust, a chocolate lab where you can put everything from Hot Cheetos to Bacon Bits in your custom chocolate bar... a dozen boutiques including Peace of Candy (candies from around the world), Stay Puft (all marshmallows), the Wonka Room (creative candy designed by Willy Wonka), & Sticky (handmade hard candies with customizable messages)

365 los angeles

Zimmer Children's Museum 6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100, LA, CA 90048 (located in the building housing the Jewish Federation of Greater L.A) The perfect place for tots to practice their hand at being a chef, an EMT, pilot, actor, musician, or construction worker. It's like a mini world where kids run the show! There's a ball pit, place to explore water & VIB (Very Important Baby) padded play area. Adults $8 / children $5 / under 1 yr free Check for days/hours open Also has events, classes & parties

Zimmer Children's Museum

Take a tour of the legendary 1922 Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. See what it would have been like to be in a Grauman stage show with a visit to the dressing rooms and singers' boxes. Check out the state-of-the-art projection booth and more! Discover the painstaking restoration and the marriage of modern technology with landmark Hollywood history. Tours are aprox 60 min. & start promptly at 10:30am for $5. At 11:40 see movie history film "Forever Hollywood" -55 min for $5

Vanalden Cave (Tarzana CA) You take Vanalden (just south of 101 by Tampa) take Vanalden south til it dead ends. Street parking. Trailhead marked. Simple hike - 2/5 difficulty. Holes in the top of the cave and cool wall carvings. The hike to the cave is short--roughly 30 minutes round trip. When you get to the split in the path, go left to the cave (right will lead to Mulholland Dr) There's a choice: go right for a more advanced, steep trail, left for beginners.

365 los angeles: tarzana

Big Sur Coast Highway CA

Lone Cypress, Monterey Monterey Bay Vacation Reviews - hotels, resorts, activities, and more

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary One of our nation's most spectacular marine protected areas, the Marine Sanctuary offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world! This "Serengeti of the Sea" stretches along the central coast from San Francisco to Cambria and includes pristine beaches, jewel-like tide pools, lush kelp forests, steep canyons and an offshore seamount teeming with life—from tiny shrimp to giant blue whales. 35 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Phone: (831) 421-9993

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Home Page

Sunset Ranch Hollywood | 3400 North Beachwood Dr L A, CA 90068 (323) 469-5450 Take a 1 or 2 Hour guided horseback tour through the hills of Griffith Park. From this 5,000 acre park in the heart of Los Angeles you'll see the famous HOLLYWOOD sign, Griffith Observatory & Downtown LA. Make a reservation or just come on up and we’ll take you out. Come on up for: Dinner Rides to Viva Fresh Restaurant BBQ Rides Lunch Rides Riding Lessons Mt. Hollywood Rides in the evening Kid’s Parties Boarding

Franklin Canyon Park rests on 605 acres near the center of Los Angeles between the San Fernando Valley & Beverly Hills. Within the park boundaries are chaparral, grasslands and oak woodlands, a 3-acre lake, an ADA-accessible duck pond, expansive picnic grounds, and over 5 miles of hiking trails. Park features include the Sooky Goldman Nature Center, the Sam Goldman Amphitheater, Heavenly Pond, Doheny Ranch & Amphitheater and the Eugene and Michael Rosenfeld Auditorium. Parks |

BIRCH AQUARIUM AT SCRIPPS: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037 This aquarium is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes & invertebrates, showcases research discoveries on climate, earth & ocean science and includes 5 dozen interactive elements. Exhibits: Living Tide Pools Elasmo Beach, Kelp Forest, Seahorses & more...


Irvine Park Railroad 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869 Train rides Bike rentals Paddle Boat rentals OC Zoo Pony rides & Horse rentals Hiking

Kid-friendly Tidepools in California (from Trekaroo) - Not all tide pools area created the same. Some have such high surf that it isn't very safe for kids. Others tie in rock formations that are nice and flat, easy for little ones to negotiate. Here is a list of tide pools in California that are great with kids. The top of the list starts with tide pool beaches north of San Francisco and we head south from there to the Central Coast, Los Angeles and Orange County and finally to San Diego County.

Check out our ABC of Orange County California list of fun things to do with your family besides the usual amusement park. #orangecounty #family #activities #fun #sunshinekids

Enjoy Roadside Attractions along California's Redwood Highway.

San Diego Botanic Garden Garden of Lights in December 5:pm - 9:pm The Garden is transformed into a winter wonderland w/ over 100,000 lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience. Live music fills the air nightly 6–8pm. See the “Poinsettia Garden,” enjoy fun in the snow, horse drawn wagon rides, campfires & s'mores, the Nutcracker exhibit, crafts & Santa. Mulled wine & coffee for adults, plus Pollo Loco meals.

San Diego Botanic Gardens - 37 acres; 15 geographic regions, including Australia, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, Africa, a Bamboo Garden & Bird/Butterfly Garden, to name a few. Hamilton Children's Garden has a Tree House, creek, rock hoppers & more. Seeds of Wonder interactive garden, for preschoolers, has dinosaur garden, playhouse, & miniature railroad Events: Herb Festival, Spring Plant Sales, Chocolate Festival, Fairy Festival, Insect Festival, Art, Fall Plant sale, Garden of Lights & more.

Easy Car Snacks for Road Trips Use an empty 32 oz yogurt container + a single serving yoplait for slices of fruit (like apples) and yogurt dip.

Easy Car Snacks for Road Trips Use an empty sour cream container and an empty baby food jar to store baby carrots & dressing

Easy Snacks to take on the Road Peanut Butter Jar 1/4 full of PB and filled with celery sticks.

Salvation Mountain, Niland, CA (So CA) Creator Leonard Knight’s colorful roadside attraction owes its existence to the fact that Knight decided to leave his hometown after he couldn’t launch his hot-air balloon in1984. His parting gift was to be a diminutive shrine made from half a bag of cement located on a forgotten riverbank on Beal Road. 25 years—and 100,000 gallons of donated paint later—his psychedelic sculpture is a resplendent display of flowers, waterfalls, scripture, & patriotism.

The Getty Center, Los Angeles - one of America's Top Free Attractions Maximize your time at the Getty by visiting on a Friday or Saturday, when this sprawling hillside art complex is open late—allowing you to take in sunset views. The light-filled museum interiors display an impressive collection of European and American art. Don't miss the Family Room’s interactive exhibits, giant illuminated manuscripts, an art treasure hunt and the fabulous gardens. (Parking is $15)

Mono Lake, CA boasts weird rocks formations, called tufas. Essentially, a common rock --limestone -- that forms in uncommon circumstances --underwater. A number of Mono's tufa formations are now hundreds of feet from the shore, a testament to just how much the lake's water level has fallen. The LA water department has committed to filling the lake back up to 1940s levels, which means there will be fewer tufa to check out in years to come. So visit while the visitin's good!

Calico Ghost Town - between Barstow & Baker on the 15 fwy. 36600 Ghost Town Rd Yermo, CA 92398 Open daily 9am–5pm Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. Enjoy the little shops, artifacts, restaurants, attractions, museums, and beautiful scenery. Explore Maggie's Mine, the Mystery Shack- where the water runs uphill, Gold Panning, Lucy Lane Museum and Calico-Odessa Railway ($3 per person CASH ONLY)

Noah's Ark at The Skirball Cultural Center FREE every Thursday, get reservations online, 1pm the Monday before. FREE Parking . Everything is hands on inside a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark, filled with whimsical animals, all crafted from recycled materials & everyday objects. Play, climb, explore, conduct a storm & help construct the ark. Create your own recycled animal, and check out the mist machine that creates rainbows.

Best Beaches for Families in Los Angeles

Visit three California national parks in three days via the Majestic Mountain Loop.

Bodie Ghost Town Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town (from the late 1800's). Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000. What's left today stands in a state of "arrested decay", (interiors remain as they were left; stocked with goods) and is maintained by the CA State Parks System since 1962. The park is NE of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270), 7 miles south of Bridgeport.

Los Angeles Police Museum 6045 York Bl. Los Angeles, Ca 90042 323-344-9445 Greeted with a badge, head straight to the jail & mug shot station. Hop on the police motorcycle, see cool bomb disarming robots, police uniforms & badges throughout time. Check out a helicopter (which kids can climb in), a car that was really in a shootout (bullet holes and all), battering rams, police horse transport vans & very cool giant bomb trucks. Plus 2 adult exhibits upstairs. Adults $8, under 12 free

One Slammin’ Slammer: A Visit to the Police Museum

Make Meaning The Oaks Mall 196 West Hillcrest, Suite #99 Thousand Oaks, Ca 91362 805-852-1107 A place to have fun and be creative for kids & adults. Choose from a variety of activities: Make Soaps Make Candles Ceramics Glass Crafts - rings, pendants, bases, plates, etc. Cake Decorating Book Making Jewelry Making Paper Crafts …literally, you can (will) spend the entire day here! We have many different options to meet any budget, but on average activities range from $20-$25

Manhattan Beach Pier Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium   2 Manhattan Beach Bl Manhattan Beach, Ca 90266 Hours: Mon–Fri 3pm-sunset; Sat/Sun 10am-sunset www.roundhouseaqu... The compact, efficient and folksy facility is staffed largely by enthusiastic volunteer youngsters who will delight in teaching youngsters. Saturday story time on the balcony at 11:30 am, then the “Shark Feeding Frenzy” at 12:30 pm. Guided tours 12:30 Sundays. arched walk through tank & a tide pool tank.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium 3720 Stephen M White Dr San Pedro, Ca 90731 Hours: Tues–Fri, 12–5pm; Sat/Sun 10am–5pm Admission: Free, requested donation of $1 per child, $5 per adult www.cabrillomarin... Exhibits include a huge kelp forest tank, a gray whale skeleton & a feisty live two-spotted octopus. Explore the hourly tide pool touch-tank, the kid-friendly Exploration Center & Aquatic Nursery with a crawl-under fish tank. Plus, check out microscopic sea creatures under a real microscope

California Science Center 700 Exposition Park Drive Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) SCIENCE californiascience... Located in the heart of downtown’s historic Exposition Park, the California Science Center is the largest hands-on science museum on the West Coast. With three floors of beautiful exhibit space, an Imax theater, rotating special galleries, and the fantastic themed Discovery Rooms, everyone is sure to learn something.

The Most Fun (and Free) Hands-On Kids Museum in Los Angeles

3 LA Guides available here: Museums with Free Admission All the Time, or Sorted by Day, or Alphabetically.

$10 or Less Bookstore, Northridge This store specializes in what are called remaindered books, priced at $5. However, they do also offer used books and have a selection of $1 titles. The selection is not as vast as some used bookstores, but the quality of the inventory and charm of the store make up for the limited choice. The remaindered inventory offers a great array of gift-quality books, so stock up for birthday gifts. 19500 Plummer Street Northridge, Ca 10-dollar-booksto...

Piccolo's Books has taken over former Borders & filled them to the brim with used books, all $1 each. The selection is huge and organization chaotic, so plan to dedicate a substantial amount of time to your treasure hunting. Inventory moves quick & they’re always restocking. We’ve spotted everything from vintage 1950s Golden Books to recent releases. Howard Hughes Center 6081 Center Dr. L.A. Ca 310-410-0317 101 S. Pine Ave.,Long Beach, Ca

Piccolo's Books

THE LAST BOOKSTORE 453 South Spring St Los Angeles, Ca 213-488-0599 This used bookstore is as much a steam-punk art exhibit as a bookstore. Located in a refurbished bank it's complete with authentic vault & vintage tile floor. Lots of film, art & language books. The well-curated children’s collection covers all ages & interests and is in excellent condition. For a bargain, the loft is where funkier inventory is all priced at $1! Also, they buy, sell, & trade vinyl records.

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Nestled on a wide stretch of sandy beach, Back on the Beach Café offers appetizing meals featuring local and seasonal cuisine with breathtaking views of ocean, mountain, pier, and Catalina Island. Breakfast, lunch & dinner. Indoor & outdoor seating. 445 pacific coast hwy (aka palisades beach road) santa monica ca 90402 310.393.8282

Annenberg Community Beach House, Santa Monica More than just a trip to the beach. With a playground, splash pad, pool, restaurant & tons of fun activities, you might not even make it to the ocean. You can reserve a parking spot online so you know the lot won’t be full. And Back to the Beach Cafe meets your food needs. Parking rates & activities schedule change, so check their website for updated info before your visit. 415 PCH, Santa Monica, CA 90402 310-458-4904 mailto:BeachHouse...

Paradise Cove and Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Café in Malibu - The Beach Cafe is the only restaurant in Malibu right on the sand with its own private beach & cove. Kids love the beach and giant mile high chocolate cakes! Dates love the romantic private cove, jazz nights & seafood. Delicious breakfast, brunch & lunches too. 28128 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, California 90265 310.457.2503 Beach parking $40, Walk In $20 per person Cafe Parking $6 for up to 4 hours (w/ food purchase of $30)

5 Swimming Spots (near L.A.) 1. Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park- 3.5 mile round trip hike to a sparkling rock pool 2. Eaton Canyon Falls- 1.5 mile hike to 50 foot waterfall 3. Switzer Falls/Bear Canyon- hike peppered with swimming holes. Wade in Arroyo Seco Creek, or a mile downstream near waterfalls & wildflowers. 4. Sturtevant Falls trail- a flat, shady 3.7 mile trail to a 50 foot waterfall & shallow pool 5. Hansen Dam Aquatic Center- massive swim lake & 2 huge water slides

Swimming in Nature: 5 Wonderful Water Holes