Skip to main content
Sunset surfing in the Pacific Ocean near the Imperial Beach Pier south of San Diego
Getty Images
1 of 1
  • States:

Sun, fun, glitz and glamour

Southern California is the USA’s sun-soaked capital of moviemaking, trendsetting style, cutting-edge cuisine and big-time family fun. Each year, millions of visitors from around the globe eagerly flock to its beaches, mountains, cities and theme parks. For families with kids, a trip to the Golden State often means a visit to one or more theme parks, and Southern California’s are among the best in the world.

Disneyland Resort in California

In the last few years, Disney California Adventure® Park at the Disneyland Resort completed a US$1.4 billion transformation and expansion capped by the opening of Cars Land, a nearly five-hectare themed area modeled on scenes and characters from the movie Cars. The best way to experience Cars Land is to buckle up for a spin on Radiator Springs Racers, a ride that starts out as a leisurely scenic drive through beautiful Ornament Valley and ends with your car whooshing over hills, whipping around corners and careening past red rock formations as you race another vehicle to the finish line. Or, depart Cars Land to take on a thrilling mission aboard Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

Disneyland Park is the original Disney Theme Park and a beloved Southern California destination where generations of families have made their Disney dreams come true. The park is also home to many classic attractions. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the first rides in the world to use robotic animatronics, remains a huge draw for visitors, as does “it’s a small world”, that colorful, musical boat ride celebrating the happy spirit of childhood. And visitors will be amazed at the futuristic thrill of Star Tours—The Adventures Continue, the “Star Wars” movie homage that hurtles riders through a 3-D, motion-simulated space flight into hyperspace.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Are you ready for the ultimate Hollywood movie experience? No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a day or more at the world-renowned Universal Studios Hollywood, where your favorite movies and television shows come to life. Go behind-the-scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore real film sets where Hollywood movies are made. Each tour is hosted by the “Video Studio Tour Guide” Jimmy Fallon, Emmy® winner and star of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Get into the action on heart-pounding rides, shows and attractions that put you inside some of the world’s most popular movies and TV shows.

SeaWorld® San Diego

SeaWorld® San Diego offers live shows and oceans of wet and wild interactive fun. Guests can enjoy the serenity of sea turtles in Turtle Reef and imagine embarking on a turtle rescue mission. Or, sink beneath the surface and watch schools of sharks gliding overhead in the Shark Encounter® tunnel, one of the largest underwater viewing tunnels in the world. Everyone has a giggling good time watching the smart, sassy sea lions – Clyde and Seamore – perform popular TV and movie spoofs. And for some blood-pumping action, visitors can soar, dive and twist on the Manta double-launch coaster, whose design emulates the underwater flight of a manta ray.

Thrills on the Journey to Atlantis water ride at SeaWorld San Diego

Thrills on the Journey to Atlantis water ride at SeaWorld San Diego
View more
More information


Kids will be tickled with a visit to LEGOLAND®, one of Southern California’s most inventive destinations. In Skipper School, kids can captain their own LEGO® boat. They also can see a real movie set, including the LEGO models that inspired “THE LEGO MOVIE”! The park’s popular Miniland USA area uses 20 million LEGO bricks to recreate such iconic American landmarks as the Empire State Building in New York City, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. From riding the Coastersaurus on Dino Island to driving a jeep through life-sized gorillas, giraffes, elephants and crocs built entirely from LEGO bricks, little ones will have a blast.

Taking family photos outside LEGOLAND California Resort

Taking family photos outside LEGOLAND California Resort
View more
More information

A Money-Saving Tip

Southern California is one of 11 U.S. destinations that offer the CityPASS program. Each Southern California CityPASS admission card saves travelers 30 percent off combined admission to four family-friendly theme parks: Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California.