Family Holiday Vacation Guide for Beach and Water Park Lovers
Fun in the sun and splashing for hours in the water is what vacations are all about. No family holiday vacation is complete without quality beach time and trips to your favorite water parks. Whether you and your crew are relaxing in sunny SoCal or on the soft Florida sand, you should know where the best beaches and water parks are near you so that you can find the best places to add to your family’s vacation memories.
Attractions near and around L.A.
For iconic beaches, there is no better place than Los Angeles. The City of Angels and the surrounding county boasts a myriad of fantastic beach day destinations and some great water parks.
Adventurous and photography-inclined families will not want to miss El Matador State Beach. There are huge rocks for climbing, and sea caves to explore and spelunk in if that’s your style. The view alone is worth checking out on this picturesque beach. Parking for El Matador is situated on a bluff overlooking a magazine-worthy panoramic view of the deep blue Pacific Ocean.
There is space for breakfast or lunch, as well. The bluff has picnic tables and grassy areas to play frisbee or other games. El Matador State Beach offers the opportunity for great family pictures and plenty of adventures.
If there are any surfers in your squad, you have to visit Zuma Beach County Park. This renowned beach sports a gorgeous three miles of Pacific coastline and is conveniently located near the Pacific Coast Highway, making access a breeze. Zuma Beach County Park is easily one of the most popular beaches in L.A.
The beach is sandy without many rocks and has many volleyball courts, swing sets, and ample parking. One of the biggest draws is the surf lessons available right off the beach. There is also a fully functioning snack bar and restaurant available for when the family needs to take a break from all the fun. Another added bonus is that a lot of sea life is often seen from the beach, like whales, dolphins, and seals.
The two beaches that you have probably seen in the movies are Venice Beach and Santa Monica State Beach. Both are beautiful and idyllic year-round, and they are both located near shops and stores if you and the kids are looking to pick up some souvenirs. The famous Santa Monica Pier adds an extra layer to the experience, offering rides like roller coasters and a Ferris wheel, and carnival-style fun with games and food stalls.
Water park days are always favorites with the kids, so go all-out with the biggest waterpark in California. Raging Waters® Park contains 50 acres of slides, and there is also a space for safe play for the smaller members of the family. Chill in the Amazon Adventure lazy river or dare to brave the thrilling Dragon’s Den slide. For some of the best attractions and electrifying experiences in L.A., be sure to spend a day at Raging Waters® so you can hit all the slides and pools.
Attractions near and around San Diego
Chasing unbelievable scenery and unforgettable views is easy in San Diego. The area has some of the most beautiful beaches around and plenty of fun water activities to keep you and your family cool during your sunny holiday vacation.
Ocean Beach, north of downtown, is San Diego’s classic California beach neighborhood. With groovy ‘70’s architecture and VW vans lining the streets, this popular surfing destination is one colorful stop. The Ocean Beach Pier is one of the longest on the west coast, and you can fish from it without a license. This beach is extremely dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry family members. There are great restaurants nearby, like the legendary burger joint, Hodad’s.
La Jolla Shores is considered one of the best family beaches in the area. The beautiful blue waters are great for catching some waves, so there will be surfers carving it up out there. It is also an ideal location for scuba diving because of the sandy bottom and direct access to the ocean. The grassy areas make for a great picnic area and are also a popular destination for yoga classes and enthusiasts.
Imperial is the southernmost beach in California and is only a short drive away from Tijuana, Mexico. This beach is great for swimming and surfing alike and has some other fun attractions as well. Over 300 unique species of birds roost in the area, making it one of the best bird-watching locations in the nation. The beach pier is another nice fishing location, but even more impressive is the view of the Los Coronados Islands that are visible from the pier.
Aquatica San Diego® is a great water park to visit if you are traveling with smaller children. There are lots of pool play structures and slides. The Walhalla Wave slide features a family-sized raft hurtling down a 78-foot length of twists and turns. The park is also adjacent to SeaWorld® and features a popular 2-in-1 ticket option for double the fun.
Attractions near and around Orlando
Orlando’s central Florida location gives access to both coasts in just a 1-2-hour drive. The drive to either coast is worth it. Soaking up the famous Florida sun is paramount to any family vacation to Orlando.
Cocoa Beach is the closest beach to Orlando and its numerous other attractions. The Ron Jon Surf Shop flagship location is here along with the Ron Jon Surf School. There are plenty of opportunities for beach volleyball and other community events closer to the pier, but if your family is looking for a quieter beach-going experience, Lori Wilson Park area is the perfect place to just kick back and relax.
The most famous beach in Florida, Daytona Beach, is only an hour away from downtown Orlando. Aside from swimming and regular beach-going activities, Daytona offers the chance to see a thrilling NASCAR race. The boardwalk also features plenty of shops and fun activities, and the pier is fishing friendly. Florida’s tallest lighthouse is also nearby, standing at a towering 175-feet tall. You will have the chance to climb the stairs to the top for a fantastic view.
Clearwater is a must-visit location for fans of the popular Dolphin Tale movie series. The beach itself is very family-friendly, and the gorgeous waters of the Gulf of Mexico make it a great swimming destination. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of the Dolphin Tale star Winter, who swims with a prosthetic tail, makes a great addition to the fun to be had on the shore. The fine white sand and fair weather make Clearwater a premier beach destination.
Unlike traditional water parks, Discovery Cove gives guests the bucket-list opportunity to swim with dolphins. Visitors have up to 30 minutes to swim and play with the incredibly friendly aquatic creatures. Experienced trainers are always nearby to supervise to ensure a safe and fun time for you and you and your family, along with the dolphins.
For the ultimate water slide experience, Universal’s Volcano Bay™ is an incredible adventure destination. Easily recognizable by the 200-foot “volcano” mountain in the center of the park, it features thrilling 70-degree slides and massive pools for endless swimming and splashing fun. The bravest members of the family will want to check out the Ko’kiri Body Plunge, which sends you through a trap door into a 125-foot plunge. There is also a relaxing lazy river for those who prefer leisure to thrills.
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