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Top Family Friendly Day Trips in Southern California

child and father at aquarium

When many people think of Southern California, they think about spending time in star-studded Los Angeles. However, Los Angeles is not Southern California’s only highlight. Filled with history, exceptional scenery and all manner of fun for the kids, the southern part of California is a day trip mecca waiting to be discovered.  

Whether you’re in the neighborhood for a few days, or lucky enough to live in one of Overture’s unique southern California 55+ active adult communities, here are a few great choices for a fun socal day trip that will delight family or friends.

Our Favorite Southern California Day Trips

Disneyland

A tried and true southern California favorite, Disneyland will never cease to thrill the young and young at heart. Disneyland aficionados suggest buying tickets in advance online to bypass long ticket lines and get straight through to the entrance. Mickey and the gang await!

Aquarium of the Pacific 

Take a short drive from LA to the city of Long Beach and experience the Aquarium of the Pacific, Southern California’s premium aquarium attraction. After the vast assortment of sea creatures wows the kids, which features you can discuss all they learned over lunch in nearby Rainbow Harbor. After lunch, book a whale watching trip or hop on the free shuttle for a tour of the Queen Mary.

Legoland California

Just about two a two-hour drive from LA, Legoland California is well worth the trip, especially for the little ones. With over 60 rides and attractions for smaller kids, Legoland rates high on the fun scale. 

Balboa Park

A jewel in the crown of Southern California destinations, San Diego’s Balboa Park is 1200 acres of fun for everyone. The long list of attractions includes museums, hiking trails, theatres, a zoo, and gorgeous gardens. There is enough entertainment on hand to make a weekend of it. 

Calico Ghost Town

Turn back time as you explore Calico, a 19th-century mining town a couple of hours outside of LA. Calico produced over $20 million in silver in a 12-year span. By the late 1890s, the mine closed transforming Calico into a “Ghost Town.” Today, it is fully restored to give visitors an authentic Old West experience. Calico is also part of the San Bernardino County Regional Parks systems, combining its rich history with the natural beauty of the surrounding desert. 

The Pacific Surfliner—San Luis Obispo to San Diego

What could be more fun for the grandkids than hopping on a train to explore one or more of Southern Cal’s prime destinations? You can take the entire route or select a few favorite locations and spend time exploring them. You’ll spend quality time with the little ones—or your buddies—without the stress of driving and parking. 

Once you move into one of Overture’s prime Southern California locations, invite the grandkids to explore the region with you. But beware. With so much to keep them busy and engaged, they will never want to leave!