Visitors to Los Angeles are never at a loss for things to do, but sometimes the hustle and bustle of this busy city can overwhelm the most eager tourists. Luckily, Los Angeles is surrounded by great, lesser known attractions easily within range when visiting the City of Angels. This allows travelers to experience even more of what makes Southern California such a popular destination year-round.
These side-trips are all easily accessible when visiting Los Angeles and provide heaps of family fun. Whether you have a single day or a weekend free before heading home, make the most of your trip with one of these stops.
This desert attraction offers visitors a first-hand glimpse into California’s history. This well-preserved mining town nestled in the foothills of the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert is about three hours outside of Los Angeles. Once a thriving silver mining town, it experienced its heyday 1881–1896 during the California Silver Rush. Open year-round
(with the exception of Christmas Day), Calico is free to visit but individual attractions come with their own charges. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of an actual silver mine, try their hand at gold panning, enjoy an old-fashioned train ride around the area or browse in one of the gift shops.
Just a few hours north of Los Angeles in the Santa Ynez Valley is the Danish village of Solvang. This little town is a great way to enjoy a different side of Southern California. Visitors can explore the traditional Danish style downtown with its unique boutiques filled with Danish handicrafts and delicious sweets, or schedule your trip around one of the many festivals held throughout the year. Kids love visiting Ostrichland USA, a working ostrich farm that offers tours and a chance to feed the resident ostriches and emus.
Santa Catalina Island is a perfect getaway from Los Angeles whether you want to spend a single day or a few nights. Compared to the fast pace of its big city neighbor, Catalina is quiet and laid-back, yet full of exciting activities for families. The port town of Avalon is filled with fun shops and restaurants, or you can explore the island’s natural habitats. The Catalina Island Company offers visitors the opportunity to zipline, take a jeep tour through the interior to see the island’s herd of wild buffalo or take a glass-bottom boat ride to get an up-close look at the local marine life. It’s easy to get to with boats departing several times throughout the day from the Los Angeles ports of San Pedro or Long Beach on the Catalina Express.
With cooler weather and fall colors on its way, it’s time to plan your fall family travels. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort PA Wilds in Mansfield is the perfect destination, and with both scary and not-so-scary events, kids and parents alike can celebrate the festive season with trick-or-treating, fall crafts, fun with the Yogi Bear characters and more.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Oktoberfest is not all about beer. Although beer does play a major role, many of these German-themed fall festivals include activities fun for the whole family. You don’t need to travel to Munich to enjoy the oom-pah bands, lively dances, colorful Bavarian dress and traditional German foods; you can find them in almost all regions of the United States this October. Here are some good choices for families:
Rome is a city full of musts for visitors. You must visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps. And the list goes on, all the way down to trying gelato. No trip to Rome would be complete without the obligatory sweet treat, and for good reason. Gelato is delicious, refreshing and it comes in every flavor you can imagine. But while you can find it just about everywhere you turn in the Eternal City, it’s important to know not all gelatos are created equal. The city is brimming with fakes, and once you know how to tell the difference, not only will you see the fake stuff everywhere, but you will also refuse to settle for less than authentic.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Looking for a unique, fun and educational activity for the kids during your next family travels? Well, Kidzania has you covered. Located in Dallas, Texas, this city is not only built for kids but also run by kids. It’s unlike any other entertainment parks; in Kidzania, kids learn useful knowledge, skills and experiences, all while having the chance to be independent.