Summer is just around the corner and if your kid is anything like mine, be prepare to hear “I’m bored” about a million times, and that’s just the first week of summer vacation. Last year, I was lucky and landed Reese a spot in summer school and we found some pretty cool summer camps in California. This year I had no such luck with summer school (lucky here) so I’m on a mission to find ways to keep her entertained and still keep my sanity.
There is so much to do in California it can be overwelling so I put together this list of ideas to give you a running start. Reese is nine so most of the things on the list fall into the tween category but you’re sure to find a few things even your picky teenagers will love.
An added bonus of this list is many of these activities continue all year long, so print it out, stick it on the fridge and use it as a year-round fun bucket list. These are also great activities to plan family staycations around.
Fun Summer Camps in California for Kids
There are so many summer camps in California it’s impossible to name them all. From day camps to sleepaway camps there is a camp for almost anything. Here are a few of our favorites.
My Big List of Summer Fun
- Explore the Queen Mary (Read About Our Experience)
- Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific
- Brush up on your history at the Natural History Museum
- Have fun with science at The King Tut Exhibit at the California Science Center
- Take a baking cooking class at your local Williams-Sonoma
- Discover the art of pottery at Color Me Mine
- Catch a movie at your local Movie Theater
- Enjoy dinner and a show at Medieval Times
- Spend the night on an African safari adventure at Safari West
- Conquer your fear of heights at Skyspace Los Angeles (Read About Our Experience)
- Take a day trip to San Diego via Amtrak
- Love photography? A visit to the Annenberg Space for Photography is a must
- Spend the afternoon in the Family Room at the Getty Center
- Explore coding and robotics at the free Apple Camp
- Cool off and spend the day at your local ice skating rink. We like The Rinks in Anaheim
- Spend the day exploring an island, Catalina Island that is
- Learn about fashion with a free visit to the FIDM Museum
- Play tourist for a day on a Hop on Hop off Bus around Hollywood
- Try your hand at rock climbing at Sender One in Santa Ana or Los Angeles
- Use your brain power and test out an Escape Room, kids edition
- Explore the Grove in Los Angeles then have lunch at American Girl
- Know a movie buff? Take a tour of Paramount Studios
- Catch an outdoor movie at Moonlight Movies on the Beach or Hollywood Forever Cemetery
- Try the best fried food ever at the Orange County and Los Angeles County Fair
- Grab lunch at the Hello Kitty Cafe followed by a movie, all at the Irvine Spectrum
- Spend a day at a water park. Take your pick (Splash, Soak City, Raging Waters)
- Visit a castle…Hearst Castle
- Spend the day at the beach and ride all the rides at the Santa Monica Pier
- Go on a hike at Grotto Trails where you can play in waterfalls and explore caves
- Take a short road trip to Palm Springs where you can ride the Arial Tram
- Follow our food tour and visit the Best Cupcake, Donut, Candy & Ice Cream Shops in town
- Plan a sleepover with your friends. Check out these fun ideas
- Catch a movie at the famous El Capitan Theater
- Get your baking on. Take a baking class at Duff’s Cake Mix
- Join the circus or just take a trapeze class at Flying Trapeze
- Work on a fun DIY project. Check these out
- Get cultured in Orange County with a trip to Bowers Museum
- Get an up-close view of sea lions at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
- Spark a love of science on a visit to the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana
Get a makeover at Anna & Elsa’s Boutique in Downtown Disney then have lunch at Rainforest caféGone Out Of Business
- Visit the Imagination Workshop at Kid’s Space Museum Free on 1st Tuesdays
- Visit the oldest house in Los Angeles The Avila Adobe and then explore around Olvera Street
- Sign up for the Huntington Explorers Day Camp and hang out at the Huntington Library
- Experience life on a farm. Pick fresh fruits and vegetables at Tanaka Farms
- Test out your driving skills at K1 Speed! Perfect for older kids 48″ or taller
- Plan a summer bonfire. Our favorite location is Huntington State Beach
- Catch a few waves and learn how to surf at the Surfriders Academy
- Get up close and personal with animals at the Orange County Zoo. It’s smaller size makes it perfect for kids 6 and under
- Ride a pony, pan for gold or pet animals at Zoomars petting zoo.
While I had Reese in mind when I wrote “50 Things To Do This Summer With Kids-California Edition” (she’s 8), there are several things on the list for kids of all ages (even those pesky teenagers).
My goal is for us to tackle several of the things on this list both during the summer and throughout the year. As we check off experiences I’ll be sure to update the post with a link to the story. Look for the “Our Visit” link.