4 Affordable Summer Day Trips for Kids in Southern California
Top kid-friendly summer day trips in SoCal. By Sophia LaMonica
Take your kids on a fantastic adventure in SoCal. (Flickr: Visit St. Pete/Clearwater)
As June gloom gives way to sunny summer days, now is the time to pack up the little ones and escape the city for some good old-fashioned fun. Here are four kid-friendly day-trip ideas within an hour of Los Angeles that will save you some greenbacks and beat those mid-summer blues.
Medieval Times in Buena Park (Flickr: AngryJulieMonday)
Chivalry, rivalry, and revelry abound at the Buena Park Castle of Medieval Times. Partake of a two-hour tournament complete with authentic sword fights and jousting atop pure Spanish horses while dining on a multi-course medieval feast. With the Summer Knights series, this grand swashbuckling is especially affordable. Parents get $20 off their admission and $6 off each kid by booking online and using the code SKWEB, now through July 31st (Monday through Friday only).
Catalina Island (Flickr: JM Rosenfeld)
The Catalina Express is celebrating “the year of you” with a free round-trip ride to Catalina Island on your birthday, a high-speed voyage that makes for an exciting treat in itself. For kids 2 through 11, that’s $59 saved (and for parents with a summer birthday, it’s a $75 present to yourself.) A fleet of sleek modern speedboats departs regularly from the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro, and takes just an hour to reach this idyllic island off the coast of Southern California. Once a hub for smugglers who hid booty in the island’s countless hidden coves, Catalina was turned into a tourist destination by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in the 1920s. While spending the night on Catalina might set you back a pretty penny, many of the island’s kid-friendly activities can be enjoyed during a day trip, and are easy enough on the pocketbook. Mini-golf in the main town of Avalon, explore colorful marine life without getting wet on a glass-bottom boat tour, and spot wild buffalo on a guided expedition to the center of the island. To redeem your birthday pass, register online in advance.
Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu (Flickr: Mark Muller)
Named for the actor who played Pancho on Cisco Kid in the 1950s, Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu has been a key location in many popular films including The Karate Kid, whose Mr. Miyagi inspired a generation of would-be martial artists and car washers. These days, our kids can have buckets of fun exploring Leo Carrillo’s tide pools, discovering its hidden sea caves, beachcombing for treasures, swimming, and body surfing. On summer weekends through Labor Day, the Visitor Center’s Junior Ranger program teaches kids ages 7 through 12 about the plants, animals, and history of the beach, including interpretive displays on tide pools and gray whales- and, it’s free with a $12 day pass. Leo Carrillo is located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1).
Splash! in La Mirada, CA (Splash La Mirada)
Now through September 1 (and through September 28th on weekends), the Buccaneer Bay at Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Water Park is open for wet, slippery fun under the sun. Kids love zipping down the park’s three two-story waterslides and splashing around in the zero depth play structure while parents can meander down the lazy river and kick back in the warm water spa. A day pass for kids 48” and taller is only $18.95, while Juniors and Seniors (under 48” and over 60 years of age) are just $13.95 each. Twenty miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles, Splash! is located at La Mirada Boulevard between Rosecrans Avenue and Imperial Highway.
Sophia LaMonica contributed this to MiniTime.com.