October 25, 2017

Southern California for Families with Toddlers


Taking a vacation with little ones can be intimidating! How do you accommodate family fun while also keeping toddlers safe and entertained? Amidst the mass of activities for older children, what sorts of places could you take your tiny tots? We have put together a list of the best places to take your toddler on vacation in Southern California for a trip that is both relaxing and interactive! If you are wondering if there are toddler-friendly things to do in Southern California, especially around Southern California beach towns, look no further!

Beaches & Parks


Located in Dana Point near the Ocean Institute, Baby Beach is perhaps one of the best beaches to take your toddler to while in Orange County. Similar to Corona Del Mar’s Little Corona Beach, Baby Beach is perfect for babies! Because Baby Beach is located in the harbor by the Ocean Institute, the area is both shaded and without dangerous waves and completely safe for little ones. Parking is free and swimming areas are roped off for kids. Be sure to arrive earlier in the day, as Baby Beach can get crowded even at the end of summer!

Marina Park, Newport Beach

Marina Park is located in Newport Beach, and is also known as the “lighthouse” park. With a nautical themed playground, that includes a lighthouse slide, and an on-site picnic area! Marina Park is also part of the Newport Bay, where waves are very calm, making it a safe park for toddlers as well! Parking is metered or free on the street. The tide pools nearby also host a number of events throughout the year, including tide pool exploration, monthly beach clean ups, hikes, and adventure camps! Check the Newport Beach city website for more information about local tidepools.

Museums, Movies, & More

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific is the perfect place for a family trip. With over 11,000 exhibits and interactive events (like tours, a 4D film, and family oriented classes), there are endless opportunities for your toddler at this Long Beach favorite. For example, the Aquatots: Colors of the Ocean class is one of the many Aquatots classes available at the aquarium, and identifies sea creatures that represent your child’s favorite color, making it easy and relatable for children to learn something new about the deep sea. Other events this fall include Saturday Family Fun: Sea Jellies, Aquatots: Movin’ and Groovin’ Beneath the Sea, and the Family Overnight and Saturday Family Fun: Totally Turtles. Check the Aquarium of the Pacific website for current events!

General Admission starts at $29.95 for adults and $17.95 for children ages 3-11. If you live in the area, consider investing in an membership, starting at $139 per family! For a full day out you can also plan a picnic or fun family dinner at the Long Beach Waterfront !

Children’s Museum at La Habra

Travel a little further inland from the aquarium and you will find the Children’s Museum at La Habra , filled with everything from dress-up stations, to a dinosaur garden, and the Preschool Playpark! Some highlights include the Family Art Center: where daily art activities for the entire family, the Science Station: where children can see a life size dinosaur, dig for fossils, and learn about environmental choices in the Clean Energy Station, and Kids on Stage: where children dress up in costumes and perform in their very own theater gallery! Admissions is $10 per person (ages 2 to adults), and the museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday for the public. This is the perfect place to visit on your next California vacation!

Mommy Movie Monday

Ever miss the days when you could go to the movies without having to worry about your young one? San Clemente Cinema 6 has that figured out with their Mommy Movie Mondays . Open to all moms and dads with young children, this thoughtful and creative program offers convenient stroller check in, reduced sound levels, dimmed lights (for diaper bag visibility), changing stations in the restrooms, 10am show times, and early bird prices. Every week, the cinema offers a new movie and admission is free for children 0-2 years old. Ages 3 and over are only $7.50 as well! Check their website for more details on the next Mommy Movie Monday, and make it part of your next vacation with toddlers! It's a great way to relax and take it easy in the midst of a lot of other vacation adventuring!

Shopping & Dining


Taking toddlers to Disneyland can be an intimidating prospect, but our Downtown Disney district lets your family get a taste of Disney magic without committing to a day at the park! Downtown Disney is full of hands-on opportunities where kids can craft their own race cars, build with Legos, or pick out a favorite candy. The Disney atmosphere and frequent live music and other performances make Downtown Disney a fun place to visit any time of year, and ample family friendly dining make it a great place for a lunch or dinner outing. Grab a sandwich and dine outdoors at the Earl of Sandwich, customize tacos to your taste at the Taqueria at Tortilla Jo's, or pick up cupcakes at Sprinkes, sure to delight adults and kids alike. For a more immersive experience, visit the Rainforest Cafe!

Seasonal Offerings

Visit pumpkin patches in the fall, splash pads in the summer, and tree lightings during the holiday season! There are always fun, family-friendly events happening in SoCal! Check up on the Beachside Blog to see what's happening each season, or follow the adventures of other local bloggers like the OC Mom Blog to find great places to take kids all year round.

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Find family friendly vacation rentals, top beaches for families, and more on the Beachside Blog! Take a look:

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