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Top 10 Family Friendly Outdoor Adventures in Southern California

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Southern California is known for its balmy weather, gorgeous beaches, and fun attractions for people of all ages, making it a top choice vacation destination. In fact, there’s so many possibilities, narrowing down what you should add to your next trip might feel overwhelming. Have no fear – this list looks at ten outdoor attractions perfect for families looking to get away to Southern California. Additionally, these possible destinations are currently open – some with limited capacity – and allow for social distancing! Sit back, relax, and look no further for your family’s next favorite memory.

Outdoor Adventure Southern California

1. Marina Beach (Marina Del Rey)

This beautiful beach is also known as Mother’s Beach due to its popularity with families. Consisting of a calm, roped off swimming area, as well as a playground, it’s no wonder it’s picked up this reputation! Due to the location of the beach, the swimming area is protected from larger waves or dangerous currents. For even more peace of mind, there are lifeguards on duty during the summer season.

Marina Beach (Marina Del Rey)

2. Redondo Beach Pier (Redondo)

Redondo Pier offers activities that will interest the whole family! The pier offers some gorgeous views of the ocean and the famous Southern California sunset – if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the “Green Flash”, an optical phenomenon sometimes visible shortly after sunset. Additionally, the Pier offers several outdoor, socially distanced dining options.

Redondo Beach Pier (Redondo)

3. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Los Angeles)

The animal lovers in your family will go wild for this option! The Los Angeles Zoo showcases a variety of exotic animals, including gorillas, tigers, and elephants. It’s also home to many gorgeous gardens located throughout the zoo. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens are currently open to the public via reservation.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Los Angeles)

4. Griffith Park (Los Angeles)

Griffith Park is home to several hiking trails of vary length and difficulty, as well as a variety of other activities including bike rentals, horseback riding, and swimming. It is a popular destination featuring some breathtaking views of the city. Some attractions may be closed due to COVID-19 currently, but many are still open and waiting to be your next adventure destination!

Griffith Park (Los Angeles)

5. The Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (Los Angeles)

Some exhibits are Natural History Museum of Los Angeles are still closed due to COVID-19, however, it’s magnificent “Butterfly Pavilion” is open to the public. The Butterfly Pavilion boasts over 20 species of beautiful, magical butterflies, sure to delight family members of all ages.

The Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (Los Angeles)

6. Check out some of L.A.’s Farmer Markets (Los Angeles)

L.A. isn’t just full of movie stars – it’s also full of several unique, family friendly farmer’s markets. Whether you’re interested in picking up some fresh, organic produce or purchasing handmade jewelry, the various local farmer’s markets will have you covered.

If you’re looking for larger market, check out the Original Farmer’s Market, a historic market home to all manner of shops. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit smaller, Melrose Place Farmers Market has a great selection of fresh produce as well as various handmade goods. 

L.A.’s Farmer Markets (Los Angeles)

7. La Jolla Cove and Underwater Park (San Diego)

Another great option for viewing some breathtaking sunsets, La Jolla Cove offers a variety of other reasons to drop by as well. Children will enjoy the tidepools, as well as the cove itself. More adventurous family members might want to rent snorkeling gear or a kayak and check out the La Jolla sea caves. Or, for those not interested in a water based approach, one of the largest caves can also be entered from The Cave Store. Lifeguards are on duty overseeing the cove.

La Jolla Cove and Underwater Park

8. Balboa Park (San Diego)

Another San Diego option, Balboa Park is home to a variety of attractions, including restaurants, museums, and some gorgeous gardens. Some indoor attractions, such as the art museums, may be closed currently, but the park itself is open to the public.

Balboa Park San Diego

9. Huntington Botanical Gardens (San Marino)

Consisting of over 100 acres of stunning themed gardens, this is a must see for sure! Families with young children may enjoy the peaceful environment, as well as the gorgeous views. Some of the themed gardens include the Lily Ponds, the Rose Garden, and the Children’s Garden.

10. Crystal Cove State Park (Laguna Beach)

Crystal Cove State Park boasts an assortment of attractions, including hiking trails, beaches, and campgrounds. It’s also known for its tide pools, where children and adults alike can enjoy seeing a variety of sea creatures, including sea anemones, star fish, and crabs!

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