spring break destinations California

Top 7 spring break destinations in California

spring break destinations California

Palm Springs


7) Palm Springs

Palm Springs, about an hour drive from Los Angeles (LA), is a desert oasis vacation destination returning to its glory days as a Hollywood playground. Visit Wet ‘n Wild, a family oriented water park. It offers a giant wave pool, an interactive four-story family fun house, relaxing on the lazy river, and riding giant water tubes. Palm Springs also boasts world-class boutique hotels and some of the best discount shopping  in the area. One of California’s ideal spring break destinations!


spring break destinations California

Yosemite National Park

6) Yosemite National Park

For the outdoor enthusiast,  Yosemite National Park remains one of the best choices in Northern California. Yosemite’s spring time snow melt creates more luscious waterfalls and lakes without the summertime crowds. I would recommend staying at a hotel right in the park instead of driving in everyday. Hotels in the park sell out quickly in high season. During our family’s last visit we stayed at The Majestic Yosemite Ahwahnee, largely because it’s probably the most comfortable hotel in the valley to relax after a day of hiking, backpacking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. For those who enjoy a more rustic experience, there are lots of camping and outdoor lodging options available right in the park.


spring break destinations California

Image: From Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

5) Santa Cruz and Monterey

Adventurers can whale watch, hike through forests and kayak, or keep their adrenaline pumping on roller coasters and other thrill rides at the  Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz tends to have lots of boutique style hotels/motels closer to the beach. Our last visit, we stayed at the Hotel Paradox. It’s a 10 minute drive from the beach but we enjoyed its more modern sleek designs and urban forest aesthetic. Go whale watching at Monterey Bay and check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium while you’re at it. For a taste of luxury, a romantic getaway or for golf enthusiasts, the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay with its breathtaking ocean views, just 20 miles from San Francisco International Airport, is a great hideaway for Silicon Valley and San Francisco locals who need a weekend getaway close to home.


spring break destinations California

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad


4) San Diego

San Diego, about an hour’s drive south of LA offers beautiful coastline beaches at a slower pace. Carlsbad, a coastline borough of San Diego offers The Flower Fields, Legoland California Resort and the Carlsbad Premium Outlets for a great discounted shopping experience. Voted the #1 zoo in the world by TripAdvisor, load the kids up and take them on an urban safari at the San Diego Zoo.  Check out the dolphin shows at Sea World San Diego and visit SeaWorld’s Aquatica San Diego Waterpark afterwards for its over 20 fun-filled water rides.  Last time we visited San Diego we stayed at the Hotel del Coronado, one of the oldest hotels in San Diego offering lots of resort-style amenities in a family friendly atmosphere.
spring break destinations California

Golden Gate Bridge


3) San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco’s amazing choice of activities more than make up for its sweater weather.  If you like people-watching,  Fisherman’s wharf offers lots of waterfront shops and restaurants for the family. Take a short cruise for a bay view of the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz. Visit Lombard street, the “most crooked street in the world”. For the theme park junkie visit Great America, in the heart of the Silicon Valley or Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Check out 25 free things to do in San Francisco with kids.
spring break destinations California

Lombard Street, San Francisco

2) Orange County (OC)

Just a 30-minute drive from Los Angeles, Orange County offers many family friendly spring break options. Disneyland Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm theme parks alone can take up one’s entire spring break vacation. Both have hotels on-site and are not too far away from each other. Take a short ferry ride to  Catalina Island, a local island paradise. There find scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, live music, helicopter and boat tours among other fun activities.  Newport beachNewport Coast and Laguna Beach are all affluent beach towns in Orange County that also offer a tremendous array of family friendly spring break activities. Don’t forget your OC shopping options at  Fashion Island in Newport beach and luxury shopping at South Coast plaza, Costa Mesa before catching a show at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.


spring break destinations California

Image: From Disneyland Anaheim

1) Los Angeles

From spending the day at one of LA’s 8 great beaches to getting a taste of Hollywood at Universal Studios, there’s no end to family friendly spring break havens in the LA area. Take the kids out for some fun in the sun at Santa Monica Beach with its popular amusement park. Get the family some art exposure for free at  The Getty Center with its famed art collections and breathtaking views of the city. While you are there, take the kids on a college tour of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) or University of Southern California (USC). Check out a list of 100 things to do in LA with the kids. LA also offers world-class shopping from Rodeo drive shops in Beverly Hills to the  Downtown LA Fashion District. Don’t forget to explore more discount shopping at LA areas multiple outlet malls.
spring break destinations California

Santa Monica Pier

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