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Spend an Affordable Family Day in Santa Monica, California

by Angelique Platas

Jan 31, 2020

Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com


One thing most first-time L.A. tourists do when they arrive in the city, at least the sun-loving ones, is plan a beach day. Well, that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. L.A.’s premier beach locale is famously Santa Monica — see countless songs and movie scenes — and for a few days or more with the family, it’s definitely worth the hike.


While getting there is no easy feat, staying can be budget-friendly if you have a savvy head on your shoulders and a beach-loving crew in tow.


First thing’s first, hit the beach. The Santa Monica Pier and sandy beaches are all free to enter, so beach, play, surf and explore until your heart’s content. Borrow some beach blankets from your Airbnb or hotel; if they have a pool, they can be pretty accommodating. If you want to explore more than the sandy shores, head to the Pier for some old-fashioned boardwalk fun with the kids.


Once on the Pier, there will be a few tourists traps —  avoid them. Don’t fill up on cuisine and claw machines (fine, maybe one game or ride) just yet, there’s more do in Santa Monica worth your hard-earned cash. Walk along the boardwalk, take your pictures and move along — save your appetite for later.


Santa Monica Beach. Photo: Masaru Kai | Dreamstime.com


One of the best ways to experience Santa Monica’s cuisine is by finding a local food truck, which your teens and adult children will be impressed with. If taco night is a favorite in your house, you’re in the right place. Walk along Santa Monica Boulevard in search of Ruben’s Tacos Truck, El Paladar Oaxaqueno Taco Truck or the mecca, Santa Monica Food Truck Lot. All eats are incredibly affordable, authentic and delicious.


With a full day of beaching, dining on tacos and wandering through town, you’ll find streets of shops, some pop-ups with discounts and sales, and others high-end for window shopping only. The kids will love the dependability of live music along the streets, long sunny days and incredible sunsets at night — think of the family photo ops with the sun setting behind the Pacific as your backdrop.


Enjoy the city at your own leisurely pace; it is a laid-back beach town, after all.


Depending on when you visit, the city always has something going on, some even free. Check out the calendar here and see if your visit coincides with any local, free fun your whole family can get in on.


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Destinations / North America
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Keep an Eye Out for These New Roller Coasters Coming to Orlando

If you are a lover of thrill rides and rollercoasters, you better start thinking about a future trip to test out some new ones in Orlando, Florida’s, theme parks. Throughout the next year, some theme parks are expecting a number of thrilling additions and experiences for willing guests. From two long-anticipated coasters slated to open next year in Walt Disney World to a yet-to-be-announced Jurassic Park roller coaster set to open in Universal Orlando, thrill-seekers and coaster fanatics will be in awe.

Culinary Artistry

By Hainan Airlines

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Binge-Worthy Treats to Not Feel (Too) Bad About

In times of stress, boredom and even enjoyment, some of us find ourselves reaching for a treat or two — or a dozen. When you need the crunch or sweetness of a snack, but not all the guilt and remorse to follow, registered dietician Lisa Moskovitz, founder and CEO, New York Nutrition Group, recommends these not-so-bad snacks — they’re also great in kids’ lunches or as after-school snacks!

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Last-Minute Summer Daytrips from Pennsylvania

With summer coming to an end and schools restarting, don’t let the end of your summer go to waste. Make the most out of it and embark on one of these perfect daytrips from Pennsylvania.


This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.

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Morgan’s Wonderland Theme Park: A Place for All of Us

The first refreshing aspect of Morgan’s Wonderland is its inspiration; a real person instead of a cast of cartoon characters. The second, all the more innovative and meaningful, her parents channeled her resilience and zest for life into a destination of pure family fun, designed to be more inclusive than some of the most-visited theme parks on the planet.