Family Attractions Near Disneyland

While you visit the Disneyland resort with your family, you may consider doing other family activities in the area as well. There are a lot of different and fun entertainment and activities in the Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego area. We have compiled a list of ideas for things to do on your Disneyland trip. While Disneyland is always number one on our list, these ideas offer additional family fun in Southern California. (Note: There are other attractions to see in the area but we felt these were more appealing to families and kids)

Amusement and Water Parks

Knott’s Berry Farm

KnottsSnoopy

An amusement park that began many years ago by the company that makes the delicious jams and jellies. Now, this park offers family fun with roller coasters, thrill rides, water rides, and children’s rides. There is also fun entertainment, shopping and dining. A classic amusement park with a Peanuts theme that kids always enjoy visiting.

LegoLand

Legoland

Legoland is located about 1 hour south of Disneyland, and offers an amusement park with kids rides and attractions, as well as a water park for kids to splash and slide around in. Rides and thrills are smaller size, and there are separate tickets for the water park. If you kids love legos, they might enjoy this park made out of Legos.

Universal Studios Hollywood

UniversalStudios

This park has rides and attractions themed from movies from Universal Studios, such as Transformers, Shrek, and The Mummy. There are also character ops with the Minions from Despicable Me, Shrek and Fiona, and Curious George. This park is more appealing to older school-age kids. There is also Universal City Walk with shops and dining and that area is free.

Knott’s Soak City in Orange County

Traditional water park with water slides, tube slides, lazy river and kid’s play areas. This is connected to Knott’s Berry Farm, but tickets are separate from the park.

Animal Parks

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SafariPark

Formerly called the San Diego Wild Animal Park, this is a free-range exclosure style zoo that offers visitors to walk “among” the animals and observe them in a more natural setting. The park covers over 1800 acres of land and is one of the most amazing zoos in the nation.

San Diego Zoo

SanDiegoZoo

This more traditional zoo houses over 3700 animals! Once of the treats is the Giant Panda exhibits, and the new Australia exhibit that includes koalas. This is a huge zoo and overs a full day of animal viewing and enjoyment.

Sea World San Diego

SeaWorld

Get a chance to view marine animals up close at Sea World in San Diego. Park includes animals like penguins, sharks, dolphins, and killer whales. This park has the famous Shamu Show as well as the Sea Lion Show.

Sports Venues

Angels Stadium in Anaheim

AngelStadium

If you are visiting Disneyland from March to September, you might consider watching the Anaheim Angels play a home game at the Angels Stadium.

Anaheim Ducks

If you are visiting Disneyland during hockey season (October to April), you can catch a great hockey game at the Honda Center and cheer on the Anaheim Ducks, named after the Disney movie, The Mighty Ducks.

Beaches and Local Attractions

Orange County Beaches

huntington-beach-pier

The closest beaches to Disneyland are right within Orange County, and can be less than 30 minutes away. Some of these great family-friendly beaches include Laguna, Huntington, Newport, San Clemente and Dana Point. Enjoy some quiet time at the beach while the kids collect shells and build sand castles.

Catalina Island

CatalinaIsland

This local island is located just offshore the Southern California coastline. After a short boat ride to the island, enjoy family-friendly activities like hiking, biking, boating, mini-golf and beaches. A new zip-line has been added to the island and is available for kids age 8 and older.

Balboa Island

BalboaIsland

Another local island is easily reached by car, and offers simple family entertainment. There are plenty of beach rentals including boat and water sports, paddle-boarding, body surfing, biking and segway tours. There are also whale watching tours. Another family spot is the Balboa Fun Zone with smaller amusement rides and games as well as treats.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith_observatory

Located in Los Angeles, this iconic observatory has sweeping and amazing views from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean. The grounds are beautiful and kids will love the space programs and planetarium. During evenings, there are public telescopes to view the stars.

Malls

Irvine Spectrum

IrvineSpectrum

This open-air shopping mall offers so much more than just stores. There are over 130 restaurants, entertainment venues and shops including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Target and H&M, as well as a movie theater and IMAX theater. Kid-friendly attractions include a giant wheel and carousel.

Fashion Island

FashionIsland

This is a premier shopping location in Newport Beach with open-air dining and shopping. Enjoy beautiful scenery and fountains, and experience wonderful dining throughout the mall. Stores include Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

South Coast Plaza

This large three-level indoor shopping mall offers a wide range of stores including luxury brands. Kids can enjoy and indoor carousel. Shops include Bloomindales, Chanel, Burberry, and Saks Fifth Avenue.


While Disneyland offers plenty of attractions and entertainment for families, there are some wonderful things to do in the local area that you could add to your vacation and make it even more special!

Happy Travels!

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