Fun Places to Go in California with Kids

If you’re planning a trip to California with your kids, Catalina Island offers an impressive array of fun things to do year-round. Whether it’s an intimate bonding experience or a thrilling outdoor adventure you’re looking for, you’ll find everything here at one of the most kid-friendly islands on earth. You can thrill to parasailing and snorkeling one day, then go witness mighty bison and tread chaparral hills the next.

Catalina Island’s diverse terrain and seascapes await you and your family. From water sports and scenic hikes, to wildlife tours and submarine rides, the island caters to travelers of all ages. Also dubbed as “Kidalina” for its kid-friendly vibe, the island has been named one of the country’s all-time favorite family destinations.

From rustic cottages to luxurious waterfront inns, the island also boasts various lodging options, so you can unwind after an exhilarating, activity-filled day. Catalina’s quaint waterfront city likewise serves up sumptuous cuisine and a vibrant nightlife, both of which are noteworthy “must-experience” island offerings. Plus, the local community has built a strong network of tour outfitters, committed to supplying your family with lifelong, picture-perfect memories. This means that you don’t have to miss out on a single Catalina-style adventure! Check out our list of family-friendly activities on the island.

Family on Catalina IslandCatalina Island is geared up for family fun and is now Kidalina!

Catalina Island is the ultimate destination for kid-friendly vacations. A wonderfully diverse and lively island just 22 miles from the mainland, it offers a variety of thrills as well as opportunities to relax. If you’ve been looking for fun places to go in California with your kids, look no further. Read on to see what “Kidalina” has to offer.

Catalina Island Family Activities

Bison at the Catalina Island Conservancy

Bison at the Catalina Island Conservancy

1. Catch a Glimpse of Bison

Did you know that Catalina Island is home to bison? These amazing animals were brought to the island during the 1920’s for filming and they never left! They still roam free on lands owned and maintained by the Catalina Conservancy. Take a eco-tour to view this and more of the wildlife on the island.

2. Relax with a Day at the Beach

Catalina Island has 3 beaches to choose from in Avalon. South Beach, Middle Beach and Step Beach are public beaches along Crescent Avenue They are only steps away from Avalon’s many hotels, shops, restaurants, restrooms and recreation. one of the last private beaches in California, Descanso Beach is located just beyond the Catalina Casino.

Zip Line Catalina

Zip Line on Catalina Island

3. Take a Zipline Tour

Catalina has an spectacular zipline tour with soaring views of the island. It’s the only zipline in LA and Orange County and travels 500 feet through Descanso Canyon. The five ziplines travel over three quarters of a mile and almost 30mph.

4. Glass Bottom Boat Tours

Kids will be thrilled by native ocean life on a glass bottom boat tour. On Catalina Island boat tours, your family will experience the many species of fish and marine life that dwell in the kelp forests along the island.

Kid and Family Fun on Catalina Island

Photo Credit: Catalina Island Company

5. Ride in a Submarine

Let’s face it, submarines are cool and two of the coolest, the Nautilus and the Seawolf, are found on Catalina Island! Expert guides will educate your family on the ecology and history of the island – make this a part of your itinerary for your island vacation with your kids.

Snorkeling on Catalina Island

Snorkeling on Catalina Island

6. Get in Some Snorkeling

Who knew you could snorkel on an island in California? Catalina Island specializes in some of the best snorkeling this side of the border.

7. Parasailing

What island adventure would be complete without parasailing or tubing? Whether rising high above the water for amazing views of the coastline or speeding along in a tube, kids 5 and older will have a blast on these water adventures.

Catalina Island Flying Fish Tour

Photo Credit: Afishinados Charters

8. Go Fishing

Catalina Island fishing is some of the best in SoCal! One of the fun trips for kids is the evening “Flying Fish Tour” from Afishinados Charters.

9. Play a Game of Miniature Golf

Did you know that Catalina Island Miniature Golf Course is an award winning mini golf course? And it’s open every day of the year, weather permitting.

Family Kayak Catalina Island

Family Kayak on Catalina Island

10. Rent a Kayak, Paddleboard, Pedal Boat or Motorboat

A kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat rental offers a unique way to enjoy the pristine waters of the Catalina Island harbor. For a more personal and self-guided way to enjoy the island, your family would also enjoy the view from a motorboat.

11. Rent a Bike or Golf Cart

See more of Avalon at your own pace by renting a bike or golf cart.

12. Take a Hike

Catalina Island hiking offers some of the most scenic hikes in SoCal. For an easy, family-friendly hike, try the Avalon Bay Trail that starts out from Avalon and features beautiful wild flowers.

13. Challenge your Family in an Escape Room

Do you have what it takes to beat the clock? Find out in one of our escape room attractions – one of the hottest new activities around has arrived in Avalon, and it’s fun for all ages!

14. Make Your OWN Catalina Tile

Visit Silver Canyon Pottery for a Catalina Island experience that will appeal to everyone in your party (even teenagers and husbands)!  Learn all about the history of Catalina geology, archaeology, and cultural history all while  creating your own tile souvenirs. NO experience or artistic skill required. It’s easy and FUN.

Click here for Catalina Island Family Packages!


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