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Call 1 (800) 434-7894 to speak with a Travel Planning Expert  ·  7 Days a Week  ·  International Callers +1 (619) 546-5622

Holiday Fun Guide for Families Visiting Southern California

Southern California
Southern California is the premier holiday vacation place for families looking to have fun in the sun. SoCal has great weather, beautiful beaches, and tons of attractions that will excite and wow every member of the family. It has something for everyone; if you like splashing there are great water parks, and if high-speed thrills are your thing there are a number of incredible coasters in the various theme parks. A relaxing day at the beach is still waiting for you if you get burned out by the parks. Don’t wait! Dive into right into your holiday family vacation in Southern California!


You think Disney when you think about endless fun and magical memories. Come visit the park in sunny Anaheim, California. You will have an absolute blast whether you are visiting or coming to stay. Before you visit be sure scope out deals on select rooms and other goodies if you are staying overnight at the park.

Disneyland® has so much in store for you and your family! The die-hard Disney in your crew will be delighted to meet the characters from their favorite Disney stories and tales, from Mickey Mouse™ to the Disney Princesses™. Characters will be around all over the park for meet and greets and photo opportunities. Collectors will also want to be aware of the special Disney pins that can only be found at Disneyland® and other Disney parks! These add an extra fun bonus to exploring the park along with the fantastic rides and attractions.

Disneyland® has no shortage of sights and thrills within the park. Thrilling rides and experiences await those brave enough to dare them. There will be rides and play areas for the little ones in your crew as well. Hurtle down plunging desert ravines in the Big Thunder Mountain® roller coaster. It’s the wildest ride in the wilderness! Go to the high-speed rocket ride Hyper Space Mountain® is space is your jam. The ride whips around sharp corners and dips down daunting divots while completely staying inside the indoor space environment. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT® is sure to spark adventure for the Marvel™ Superheroes fans that you might be traveling with. This thrilling ride has big drops and is not for the faint of heart, as you team with the Guardians of the Galaxy™ to escape from the menacing Collector’s™ vault.
If coasters are not your thing there are plenty of other rides around the park that are more fun than thrilling. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters® has you join up with Buzz and the rest of the Space Rangers™ to stop the evil emperor Zurg™. Slide and whirl through multiple stages of baddies as you blast your way to victory and become a true Space Ranger™! Take a break from space and journey to the depths of the sea with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage®. There you will see all your favorite fishy friends and explore the mysteries that lie beneath the waves. You won’t even have to hold your breath! The classic Haunted Mansion® offers the best in delightfully spooky experiences. Walk into a room that seems to keep growing taller and dance your way through the haunted halls of the Mansion in this spine-tingling adventure. But beware! You may end up taking one of the hitchhiker ghosts home with you!

Disneyland® also features special zones with rides, restaurants, and activities that fit the theme. Race on down to Radiator Spring™ at Cars Land® and meet your favorite heroes from the hit animated series Cars. Race with Lightning McQueen™ or have a jamboree with Tow Mator™. New to the park is Galaxy’s Edge® which is a wonderland for Star Wars fans and sci-fi lovers alike. Go inside the infamous Millenium Falcon™ and even build your very own lightsaber!

LEGOLAND® California

Calling all master builders! The LEGO® adventure of a lifetime awaits at LEGOLAND® California in warm Carlsbad, California. Welcome to the land of bricks where the fun is gone as far as your imagination. The park features special LEGO® themed rooms based on your favorite characters like LEGO® Ninjago. This is also a great park to visit for a day of family fun and adventure.

Marvel at the different LEGO® builds decorating the park as well as meet your favorite characters like the Ninjas and Emmet and Lucy from the LEGO® Movie. You can get in on the fun as well and buy your own LEGO® character costumes to truly immerse yourself in the experience at the park. Experience exciting 4-D movies like LEGO® City: Officer in Pursuit and other fun films. Minifigure trading is the absolute goldmine for the LEGO® fanatics in your family. Just go up to a park staff member with a complete Minifigure to ask them to trade for one of yours. Staff members will be glad to accept your bargain, so if you see a figure you like, don’t be afraid to ask to trade. There is even an entire section in the park dedicated to customizing your very own unique Minifigure at the Minifigure Market! Another bonus for avid builders is that the LEGOLAND® store has all the LEGO® sets you could possibly imagine, even the really hard to find ones that are not usually found at other retailers.

LEGOLAND® has some great rides aside from being the best location on the planet to get your LEGO® fix. These rides are great for both younger kids and tweens and will have them smiling from ear to ear. The LEGO® Technic coaster offers twists and dives as your roll along a track that looks like it is made out of LEGO® Technic pieces! The Dragon coaster found in the medieval section of the park is another signature thrill ride at LEGOLAND® that you will want to ride again and again. Marvel at dinosaurs constructed out of LEGO® bricks as you curve around them on the Coastersaurus. Knight’s Tournament lets you choose from five levels of difficulty at LEGOLAND® ‘s most daring coaster. Be prepared to pass the giant dragon and go flying over the moat.

LEGOLAND® also features a number of fun and wild attractions and adventures. The Adventurer’s Club will take you and the gang on an unforgettable LEGO® odyssey through the icy Arctic, Ancient Egypt, and the mystical jungles of the Amazon rainforest. Kids 6-13 will even have the opportunity to earn their LEGOLAND® driver’s license at the Driving School. Commandeer your own LEGO® car and go zooming through the city streets. All you need to know is that red means stop and green is go.

Do not forget to visit LEGOLAND® water park as well for a splashing good time in the California sun. You can even customize your own water rafts with specialized bricks to give your water ride some added flair and pizzaz! Feeling competitive? Riptide Racers allows six to go down at once on a water mat and vie for the fastest time. The water coaster Pirate Reef is sure to soak you as you sail through a heated pirate battle where cannonballs fly.

SeaWorld® San Diego

SeaWorld® San Diego is the perfect blend of high octane coasters and lovable sea life that you can see in action. Adventure is always near with some of the fastest and steepest coasters in the Southern California area. Prepare to have your jaw drop as you witness the power of mighty orcas and have your heart melted by cuddly otters.

SeaWorld boasts a number of incredibly stupefying coasters that will have your heart beating a mile a minute. The little ones may want to sit a few of these rides out, as intense speed and barreling drops abound. The Electric Eel is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in all of San Diego and is featured at Seaworld®. You will be rocketed through multiple launch points sending you careening down twists and loops, plus an inverted heartline roll! The launch points will also send this absolute beast of a ride forwards and backward as if the rest wasn’t already enough to get your blood pumping! Drops reach heights of 150-feet so make sure you don’t get queasy from being up super high. The Tidal Twister is as unique a roller coaster as you will find anywhere. It includes dueling coasters feature as two lines of cars race across a figure-8 shaped track that includes an awesome zero-g roll in the center. You will feel what it’s like to ride the actual tides of the rip-rolling ocean. Pack your towels if you plan on going on the big drop water ride Journey to Atlantis. Journey through the ancient lost city and brave the jolting plunge at the end of the ride. Don’t be afraid to get wet! Take the whole family and hop aboard the Shipwreck Rapids for more splashing and water fun. A raft that fits eight twists and whirls down a raging river and stays afloat across dips and dives. Plumes of water will splash and slosh into the raft absolutely soaking the riders.

SeaWorld is also famous for hosting some of the most fantastic sea life that you could ever hope to lay eyes on outside of the ocean. See the world-famous orcas up close with underwater viewing. These creatures are both majestic and powerful and undeniably beautiful. You and your family will never forget coming face to face with the Orcas. There will not be a single frown to be seen when the dolphins are around. These playful sea mammals will play and frolic right before your eyes. The experience gets even better with interactive points where guests can learn more about the dolphins from their own trainers and even feed and touch the friendly animals. It’s hard to tell which are cuter, penguins or otters, but both are available to visit at SeaWorld®. The park cares for nearly 300 penguins, with species including the Emperor Penguin, Adelie, Gentoo and Macaroni penguins. The otters are also extremely active and playful making them an absolute joy to watch. They will show off for visitors and love attention.

Best beaches in Southern California

Beach days are a fantastic option when you need a break from the non-stop action of the parks. Southern California is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world and has tons of things to do aside from the obvious swimming and sandcastle building.

Laguna Beach in Orange County is like a picture of paradise. The waters are very clean and are colored with a stunning sapphire blue. The surf is generally quite calm making this beach perfect for relaxing on a towel with a good book or dozing off in the warm sun. Laguna’s white sands are perfect for walking or throwing a frisbee or getting a game of beach volleyball going.

San Diego’s famous Coronado beaches are host to beautiful white sands and plentiful sun, as well as the opulent Hotel Del Coronado. The stretch of beach also allows for a good look at some of the incredible homes that line the coast of Ocean Boulevard. North Beach is the place to be for surfing, and Dog Beach allows your family’s canine companion to be let off the leash and join in on the fun.

El Matador Beach is widely considered to be the prettiest beach in already gorgeous Malibu, California. The beach is relatively secluded from the regular hustle and bustle of Southern California and features a lot of territories to walk around and explore. If you pay close attention to the tide schedule you can also have a lovely picnic or dinner at sundown.


The Santa Monica Pier is truly loads of fun even if you have seen it in the movies tons of times. The beach itself provides good swimming and your standard beach fun, but the addition of the boardwalk and pier really seals the deal. There are rides and carnival games and food, as well as incredible sunsets to close out each day.


For special offers, amazing savings on packages and hotels, and some of the lowest prices on travel call 1 (800) 434-7894 (international callers use +1 (619) 546-5622) to speak with an aRes Travel planning expert seven days a week, or book online now.

LEGO® Technic coaster

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