Pick your adventure from the beach, mountains, theme parks, museums, aquariums and much more — and you’ll discover family friendly things to do in California. Best of all your vacation doesn’t have to break your budget. Check out these 5 Traveling Mom Approved, budget AND family friendly things to do in California.  

Kids love exploring aquariums while on vacation, 1 of 5 Budget and Family Friendly Things to Do in California

Kids love exploring aquariums while on vacation. Make sure to check to see if the one you visit offers reciprocity if you are a member of another aquarium or zoo. Photo Credit: Hannah Rinaldi | Fabulously Frugal TravelingMom

Some of the greatest family vacation spots can be found in the Golden State, from camping in Yosemite to exploring Tinseltown. What I love about California is that a family vacation here doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to take advantage of all the family activities. Yes, I’m saying there’s a whole lot of family AND budget-friendly things to do in California. With so much to do, you might even find a few reasons to keep traveling back to California!

5  Budget AND Family-Friendly Things to Do  in California

  1. Enjoy the beauty of California’s budget friendly many beaches

  2. Visit California’s national and state parks

  3. Learn about the museum & aquarium deals

  4. Find a list of free things to do in California

  5. Research festivals going on during your California vacation

5 California family activities that are budget friendly

5 California family activities that are budget friendly. Photo Credit:

1. Enjoy the beauty of California’s budget friendly many beaches

Even if you aren’t a beach lover, this is one of the top, not-to-miss family-friendly things to do in California. Some beaches are better suited for kids than others and you can check out 12 of the best California beaches here. Other than the price of parking, most beaches are free.

There aren’t many things better in life than watching the California sunset over the ocean with your family. It’s definitely one of the best free experiences in life!

 

2. Visit California’s national and state parks

Most of California’s national and state parks do require an entry fee, but many of them are as low as $2-4. You can even mix the beach or mountains with the parks for an even better experience and bang for your buck. Many parks, such as the Joshua Tree National Park , offer affordable 7-day car passes for only $20.  For only $25, you can see the elephant seals at Heart San Simeon National Park. National and state parks are a sure bet for family friendly things to do in California.

The Best Beaches for families in the US - 5 Family and Budget Friendly Things to Do in California

You can watch the elephant seals at the Hearst San Simeon State Beach, though keep a safe distance. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker / National Parks TravelingMom

3. Learn about California’s museum and aquarium deals

It’s no secret that some of the best zoos and aquariums in the country are in California, consistently rated among the top in the United States.

The secret here lies is that you can visit some of these museums and aquariums without spending an arm and a leg. How?  Have you ever heard of reciprocity by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums? As a member of a participating zoo or aquarium, you can receive up to 50-100% off the price of your tickets.

Another secret to saving money is to look for the membership price. You may find that it’s cheaper to buy a year-long membership for a family of 4 or more instead of buying individual tickets. The bonus is that you can then use that to get reciprocity the next time you visit a zoo or aquarium!

4. Discover TravelingMom’s list of free things to do in California

Once again, the fact that California has so much to offer only makes it easier to find free things to do. You don’t even have to search Google for a list of freebies because Traveling Mom has you covered.

5 Family and Budget Friendly Things to Do in California

There are lots of free things to do in California, such as capture views like this one. Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

Here are just a few of the cities in California that  offer lots of freebies for families:

5. Research California festivals and farmer’s markets

Experience local events such as festivals and markets for the authentic vibe of a city. It’s also fun because many festivals are free or have low admission prices, while farmer’s markets are typically free.

One example of a great festival is SnowFest in Tahoe city. Snowfest takes place over 10 days in March every year. You can find more festivals and farmer’s markets by picking up a local paper while you are visiting or checking out the visitor bureau website before your trip.

California has a lot to offer for families. To see all of the family friendly things to do in California, head here to the official Kidifornia page on Visit California’s website.

COME TO A PARTY & ENTER TO WIN PRIZES

Want to learn even more about all the family friendly activities in California? Then join us March 13th, 9-10 ET, for a California Travel with Kids Twitter party.

If you RSVP and follow the party participation requirements you’ll be entered to win a one night stay at Hotel Abrego in Monterey plus tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We will also be giving out 2 Visit CA swag gifts. 

3/13 Kidifornia Twitter Party