The neighboring Pacific Ocean, lush farmland, arid desert and snow-capped mountains give southern California families plenty of options for weekends away.
“California, Here I Come!” may be the cry of millions of vacationers around the world, but in southern California itself, locals like to get out and explore on long family weekends and short school breaks. And since residents of the densely populated state are affluent, adventurous and sports-minded, hundreds of hotels, resorts, RV campgrounds, country cabins, wellness retreats and other accommodations accommodate them.
That’s why within 200 miles of Los Angeles and its suburbs you’ll find a rich variety of weekend getaways. You’ll need a car to get around but this is the state that invented the road trip, so enjoy!
Short Breaks & Weekend Getaway Ideas from Los Angeles & Environs
Whether your family is looking for a short break holiday, a cheap vacation package, a fun last minute excursion to break up a road trip, or a weekend getaway from everyday routines, there are lots of options within a short radius of southern California’s major cities.
The following weekend getaway roundup includes some of our family’s favorite kids’ destinations, for those who want big city action, surfing beaches, snowsports, or a country experience. There are, of course, many other choices for spending your time and money on a short break, so we’ll just highlight some of the top local attractions, kid-friendly festivals and events that suit all ages.
Top Family Resorts for a Weekend Getaway from Los Angeles
Picture Perfect Family Getaway in Marina del Rey
Picture your family tucked into the Ritz Carlton at the Marina for a quick and easy getaway close to home.
Newport Beach for a Five Generation Reunion
When you have to entertain pre-schoolers and matriarchs in the same reunion weekend, you need a posh resort that anticipates all and delivers even more as your homebase.
Rancho Bernardo Inn
For horseback riders, golf lovers, tennis players, spa-goers and multi-generational families, this classic family resort near San Diego makes being together so much fun.
A Delightful Family Weekend at the Del Coronado
Five generations gather to share family fun near San Diego, California, at the Hotel Del Coronado, one of the country’s most famous seaside resort hotels.
Living the Hollywood LIfestyle at the Sheraton Universal Resort
Rides and attractions, backlot tours, movie stars and a great hotel make this resort getaway within sight of Los Angeles a fun and good value weekend away.
Ojai Valley Inn
Where do California families go for wellness treatments, a spa, fresh air and fun kids’ activities with no muss or fuss? For generations, it’s been the luxury mountain resort area of Ojai.
Hyat Beach Resort & Spa in Surf City: Huntington Beach
If everybody’s gone surfing, it may be because of this hip Orange County beach resort and how easy they make it to Hang Ten on the Surf City beachfront!
San Diego’s Many Family Beach Getaway Resorts
It’s a great city for history, the arts, even SeaWorld, so here’s the inside scoop on San Diego’s best places to stay for beautiful beaches and great kids clubs.
Palm Springs Family-Friendly Resorts
It’s trendy, old-fashioned, beloved by gays and grandparents — it’s Palm Springs, and it’s got great resorts with Kid’s Clubs, water slides, golf courses and more in the heart of the desert.
Renaissance Esmeralda Indian Wells Resort
Five generations came together for fun and relaxation in the prestigious desert enclave of Indian Wells, near Palm Springs.
Weekend Getaways at Southern California Themeparks
Disneyland & California Adventure Theme Parks
A guide to what’s new at the classic Disneyland Resort, including on-site accommodations and favorite rides, shows and attractions at both themeparks — our pick for holidays with your tiny travelers.
Learn about the iconic Hollywood sign, visit musuems, and be in the footsetps of legends. It doesn’t have to be as pricey as it looks, read to find out about cheap hotels to stay in.
Anaheim’s Top Family Hotels for a Themepark Weekend
You don’t have to do Disneyland to appreciate just how many great family attractions and other themeparks exist in the Anaheim – Orange County region. Here’s a hotel guide.
Weekend Getaways That Provide a Different Pace
Free Travel Fun in Santa Monica
Feeling super cheap? FTF’s guide to everything free in sunny Santa Monica, LA’s own beach town, makes for a bargain getaway.
Santa Barbara: Paradise California Style
Two California natives recommend the hotels and restaurants they enjoy when they head to Santa Barbara for its cultural attractions, museums, Mediterranean lifestyle and sophisticated scene.
A Catalina Island Outing
The sailors’ favorite Catalina Island — a car-free retreat just a ferry ride away — makes a great day trip from Long Beach or a fun, old-fashoined beach weekend with the kids.
Made for Babies: Long Beach
This southern California getaway is designed with little travelers in mind: small towns, animals, beach fun, and gentle surf. It embraces the charm of a bustling waterfront with an upbeat ambience of urban chic.
Las Vegas for Family Fun
It’s closer than you think, so here’s an age-appropriate rundown of the best attractions for kids, teens and families together in adult-oriented Las Vegas.
Rosarito Beach, Over the Border in Mexico
Visit Rosarito Beach across the border from San Diego for an old-fashioned beach vacation, a cool movie-making theme park and amazing arts and handicrafts.
Carnival Cruise With Grandkids
Thinking of taking the grandkids on a Pacific Coast cruise, without the soothing buffer of having their parents onboard? If so, you’ll need this savvy sailor’s advice. (Check the latest Carnival Cruise rates here and save).
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.