4 Great Southern California Coast Activities for Families

Southern California’s Pacific Coast is the go-to place for families looking for some aquatic fun. Sea World in San Diego is a great way to get to know the local marine life, but more adventurous travelers will find greater satisfaction hitting the water in person.

From surfing and body-boarding to whale watching and deep-sea fishing, there is no limit to the activities. Let the following list be your starting point for exploring some of the great choices Southern California has to offer and remember there is more to the beach than just building sand castles.

Dolphin cruise in Pacific Ocean

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Take a Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

There is nothing quite like observing animals in their natural habitat and marine animals are no exception. Children of all ages enjoy seeing dolphins playing in the surf and racing alongside a boat, while spotting a massive whale breaching the surface is an unforgettable experience. One of the easiest ways to see these majestic creatures is by booking a trip on one of Southern California’s many whale watching cruises. San Diego Whale Watch offers trips all year long with a whale sighting guarantee — if you don’t spot a whale or dolphin during your paid cruise, they’ll give you another chance, free of charge. Dolphins and sea lions are typically seen year-round but the type of whale you may see depends on the season.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

Whether you are an avid fisher or a first-timer, spending the day fishing in the deep-blue waters of the Pacific Ocean is a perfect way to get some fresh air, some Vitamin D and some family bonding time. Join a group fishing trip or rent a private boat with a company like Davey’s Locker, which departs daily from Newport Beach Harbor. Whether you bring your own equipment or rent some, you can pick from a variety of excursions and have a chance to catch yellowtail, barracuda, sea bass and more.

kids surfing on the beach

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Take Surfing Lessons

Surfing is a Southern California tradition. Just because you don’t live there doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in the local surf culture during your stay. Learn to Surf LA has professional surf instructors ready to teach you all the basics you’ll need to get up on your board and catch a wave. There are three classic Los Angeles locations to choose from — Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica or Venice Beach. All the necessary equipment is provided for you; all you need to bring is your positive attitude and a bottle of sunscreen.

Take a Gondola Cruise

Can’t afford to travel to Venice? No problem! Just head to the harbor at Newport Beach and sit back to enjoy a relaxing cruise while your gondolier serenades you. Companies like Gondola Adventures of Newport Beach offer a variety of cruise options like lunch cruises or gourmet dinner cruises. It’s a perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or just enjoy some time on the water. Gondolas can accommodate up to six people and children under five ride free of charge.