California Family Destinations
This is our complete list of fun, family-friendly travel destinations in California to help you plan road trips or weekend getaways.
Click on the images or highlighted text for links to the websites for updated information.
Jelly Belly Factory Tour
Factory tours are free to the public, and offered daily.
- Updated HD/4K quality videos to give you an up-close-and-personal look at our candy manufacturing
- Interactive exhibits
- A self-guided walk along the elevated, ¼ mile long tour lane to give you a bird’s-eye view of the entire operation.
- Free samples
Whimsical storybook sets, gentle rides, friendly animals, and live entertainment.
Climb on the many unusual kid designed and built forts, boats, and towers.
Ride the zip line or hammer, saw, and paint.
San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum
San Luis Obispo
A fun place for children and families to explore, discover and learn through hands-on exhibits and programs.
Three floors and an outside playscape are jam packed with exhibits for children ages 1-10.
Avila Valley Barn
San Luis Obispo
Farm store, bakery and ice cream, animal feeding, tractor and pony rides, u-pick experiences, seasonal events.
Dinosaur Caves Park
A large unique play area is found in the park and includes a gentle dinosaur, two concrete dolphins, three beautiful dinosaur eggs, three playful seals, a tire swing, tot swing, and The USS IMAGINATION.
Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ
Fun western-themed restaurant where you can walk up to the top of a fort, eat in a jail cell and feed koi fish in the indoor pond.
Merry Go Round, Pony Rides, Train Rides, Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum, Travel Town Museum
Visitors can look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign.
Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry features world-class galleries filled with Native American art and cultural materials, film memorabilia, historic firearms, paintings, interactive areas, and more.
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
The only active urban fossil dig site in the world.
Outside, you can watch excavators carve fossils out of the asphalt.
Inside the museum, our staff prepares these discoveries in the see-through Fossil Lab.
You’ll see final result in our exhibitions: extraordinary saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, and mastodons, as well as the tiny, but scientifically significant, microfossils of insects, plants, mammals, and reptiles.
Hollywood – Universal Studios
Restaurants, shops, movies, indoor skydiving, dueling pianos
Hollywood Wax Museum
Get to know your favorite stars and pop culture icons in a way that is unattainable anywhere else.
You’ll be able to walk right up and look into the eyes of full-size wax figures that began as clay sculptures and are now life like presences.
You’ll also find props and costumes to give you just the right look for your pics with current and classic stars.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Discover the strange, the shocking, and beautiful.
Enjoy some eye-popping exhibits – you can pose with pop culture icons, lose yourself in some mind-boggling visual illusions, and even see a shrunken head!
The array of weird will leave you awe-struck.
Guinness World Records Museum
Here’s your chance to explore long-held and recently-broken world records that will inspire you, amaze you, and possibly puzzle you… think… the man who swallowed 22 swords simultaneously, or the guy who made 747 balloon shapes in an hour!
Along the way, you’ll get an entertaining up-close look at the best of the best in pop culture, sports, space, technology, animals, natural phenomena, and, of course, the limits of human potential.
California Science Center
Interactive science galleries and exhibits, IMAX Theater.
Home of the Endeavour space shuttle.
Charles Schulz Museum & Snoopy’s Home Ice
Charles Schulz Museum (creator of Peanuts comic strip)
Snoopy’s Home Ice – Ice Skating
Warm Puppy Cafe
Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop
A quarter scale railroad on four miles of track.
Each train trip lasts 20 minutes and goes through tunnels, over bridges and makes a stop at Lakeview – our miniature town and petting zoo.
Also, railroad-themed amusement rides.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Sundial Bridge, a museum, forestry & wildlife center, arboretum and botanical gardens
Railroad Park Resort
Experience our Dinner House & Lounge built inside restored antique railroad cars. Live the life of a railroader by staying in one of our caboose lodging units, without sacrificing the comforts of today’s modern conveniences.
Camp along a clear mountain creek in the pines known as Little Castle Creek. Find a nostalgic treasure in our gift shop or explore relics like the Willamette gear-driven steam logging locomotive, the 1893 Wells Fargo Car, or the wooden snow plow and flanger.
Our recommended Disneyland area hotel:
Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground
Across the street from Disneyland, huge waterpark, family rooms with bunk beds
Dinner & Tournament
See our electrifying show featuring heroic knights on spirited horses displaying the astounding athletic feats and thrilling swordplay that have become hallmarks of this unique entertainment experience.
Enjoy a “hands-on” feast as the dynamic performance unfolds before you.
Anaheim – Near Disneyland
Indoor play space with lots of slides, sport court, tot area and pretend city
Irvine Adventure Playground
Playground with concrete slides, water play, dirt and mud play, and giant building blocks
Child-size interconnected city built with rich educational intention, where children can assume various real-world roles.
Roseville & Rancho Cordova
Large indoor playground with slides, ball pits and air cannons.
California State Capitol
The building serves as both a museum and the state’s working seat of government.
Visitors to the Capitol can at once experience California’s rich history and witness the making of history through the modern lawmaking process.
26 playsets based on nursery rhymes and fairytales, a friendly flock of farm animals, two performing arts stages and several gardens
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Educational programs, displays, toy trains, and scale models of California railroads
San Diego Museum of Us
A cultural anthropology museum that explores the human experience from multicultural perspectives to spark dialogue, self-reflection, and human connections.
During your visit, you’ll explore a variety of unique, interactive exhibits that cover a vast range of human history and culture.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Journey through the history of flight.
Rare specimens of aircraft
Fleet Science Center
Explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet—and beyond
San Diego Natural History Museum
Four floors of exhibitions, a 3D theater, and a research collection of 9 million specimens.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
A children’s museum where kids ages 0-10 can engage in playful exploration.
7.5 acres of indoor and outdoor space
Yerba Buena Gardens
Playground with long, metal tube slides, bowling and ice skating center, Children’s Creativity Museum, carousel and good eats for the whole family at The Pin-Up
Aquarium of the Bay, watch sea lions, street performers, carousel, and many good restaurants.
Watch sourdough bread being made and learn about the process and history in the museum.
One of the world’s largest (over 200) privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition. (You can play them!)
A public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception.
Hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits
San Francisco Zoo
Home to over 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species and lovely peaceful gardens full of native and foreign plants.
Farm animals for feeding and petting, historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel and the 1904 miniature Little Puffer Steam Train, Elinor Friend Playground
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
More than 3.5 million specimens covering every aspect of natural history—from mammals, birds, and marine life to geology, astronomy, paleontology, and anthropology.
State-of-the-art interactive exhibits for all ages, paired with the Central Coast’s only planetarium, on 17 acres of oak woodland along Mission Creek
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
Highly interactive marine education facility offers you close encounters with marine animals from the Santa Barbara Channel
A gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests just outside of Santa Cruz.
Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned.
45 minute fully guided tour
Columbia State Historic Park
The town’s old Gold Rush-era business district has been preserved with shops, restaurants and two hotels.
Visitors can experience a bygone era watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday.
There are opportunities to ride a 100 year-old stagecoach, pan for gold, and explore the real working businesses of Columbia.
Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
History comes to life with vintage steam trains, a working roundhouse, and the timeless Sierra Railway Shops
Fun Rest Stops
Casa de Fruta
On Pacheco Pass (Hwy 152) between the central valley and the central coast
Farm stand, sweet shop, restaurant, train and carousel rides, playground, sluice, peacocks.
Kettleman City – Hwy 41 & Interstate 5
Playhouses with slides, sand box with toys, shooting gallery, interactive displays, gemstone sluice, antiques, food and gift shop.
Traver – Near Kingsburg – Hwy 99 between Fresno and Visalia
Tree house, feed animals, shooting gallery, slides, food and gift shop.
Vista del Lago Visitors Center
Pyramid Lake – On the Grapevine between the Central Valley and Southern California
Fort Tejon State Historic Park
On the Grapevine between the Central Valley and Southern California
Historic military fort with restored adobes and exhibits.
Living history demonstrations once each month.
Day Out With Thomas
Thomas and Percy’s Halloween Party
Roaring Camp Railroads – Santa Cruz
Meet and get a ride from Thomas and Percy, meet Sir Topham Hatt, many other Thomas-related activities.
California State Fair
CalExpo – Sacramento
Large fair with monorail ride, Camp Smokey, lots of entertainment and exhibits.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Cow Palace – San Francisco
Enter the winding lanes of Victorian London and immerse yourself in a world of music halls, theatres, pubs, dance parties, and charming shops overflowing with hand-made holiday treasures.
Discover holiday revelry in this lamp-lit city brimming with over 800 lively and colorful characters from the imagination of Charles Dickens, the pages of history, and the sometimes saucy world of the Victorian stage.
Children’s shows, games and activities.
The Polar Express
California State Railroad Museum – Sacramento
Enjoy hot chocolate and yummy cookies as you ride along with many of the story’s characters such as the Train Conductor, the Dancing Waiters, and a ghostly Hobo.
Once you reach the North Pole, the jolly old elf — Santa himself — will come on board to give each passenger a silver sleigh bell, the “first gift of Christmas”.
Tickets go on sale in October and sell out very quickly.