fun to do kids california   Travel for Kids
United States


From beach towns to Sierra snows, deserts to redwood forests, there is almost everything you could imagine in this state. Traveling in California with kids, stand among trees 1,000 years old, walk across the Golden Gate, ride rapids through Gold Country, visit fabulous San Diego Zoo, or boogie board or watch the waves break on endless beaches.

California Photo Album

  San Francisco

Marin County


Wine Country – Napa, Sonoma

    High Sierra - Yosemite, Lake Tahoe
    Gold Country
    Shasta Cascade
    North Coast

Central Coast – Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara

    Deserts – Death Valley
  Los Angeles – Disneyland
    South Coast
    San Diego
family hotels california
Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in California, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in California, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

San Francisco Anaheim (Disneyland)
Napa Valley Los Angeles
Lake Tahoe South Coast
Monterey Carlsbad
Santa Barbara San Diego
kids books california
childrens books Our California  
Our California
Pam Munoz Ryan

Welcome to California, from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano, Los Angeles, the Channel Islands, Monterey, San Francisco, Sacramento, Yosemite, and Death Valley. Lively poems, fun facts and sparkling illustrations, this is our home state. (Picture book)


What Was the Gold Rush?
Joan Holub, Tom Tomkinson

Illustrated history of the Gold Rush, from discovery of gold in the Sierra, to growing boomtowns, miners at work in the goldfields, tales of riches and losses, plus historical photos. (Chapter book)


what was the gold rush
if you were a kid during california gold rush  

Meet Louise and Feng, kids searching for gold to help their families, plus journey map, immigrants coming to California, tools and life in a mining camp. (Picture book)


Gathering the Sun
Alma Flor Ada, Simon Silva

Rich bounty of California harvests and those who work the land, in a Spanish and English alphabet – from arboles (trees) to Cesar Chavez, jardín (garden), zanahoria (carrots) and more. Colorful illustrations in gold, greens, reds and browns, like a cornucopia. (Picture book)

Also: Who Was Cesar Chavez?


Gathering the Sun hispanic kids california
nature childrens books california Redwoods  
Jason Chin

Discover the amazing coast redwoods of California – they live for more than 2,000 years, and are the tallest trees on the planet. Close-up illustrations, from seedling on the forest floor to treetops high in the sky, capture the wonder and majesty of the redwood forest. (Picture book)


What Was the San Francisco Earthquake?
Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

The earthquake lasted only about a minute, but fires burned for three days and night, and much of the city was destroyed. Read about April 18, 1906, and the aftermath, with crumbled buildings, fires caused by leaking gas lines, people escaping the city, excellent historical photos. (Chapter book)


what was the san francisco earthquake
lily and the great quake  
Lily and the Great Quake
Veeda Bybee, Alessia Trunfio

After the earthquake destroys their family home in Chinatown, Lily and her brother struggle to escape the burning city. Will they reach the ferry taking them to safety in Oakland, and be reunited with their parents? Gripping story of Chinese American experience in San Francisco. (Chapter book)



Count your way through San Francisco – one cable car rolls down the hill, two dragons guard Chinatown gate, four picnic loaves of sourdough bread, six sail boats out in the bay, “Bark, bark! eight sea lions at Pier 39 say hello.” (Board book)


san francisco a book of numbers
Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles  
Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles
Michael Mullin, John Skewes

Take a fun-filled trip around Los Angeles with Pete and his dog, Larry, looking at footprints of famous feet in Hollywood, running through movie studios, going to Disneyland and the Getty Museum, all the way to the ocean at Santa Monica Pier. Delightfully illustrated. (Picture book)



This is our favorite guidebook for hiking with kids in California. Every trail has a description, good map, difficulty, length and time to hike, elevation gain, best season, how to get to the trail. Scavenger hunts with photos for each trail highlight wildlife, trees, wildflowers, rock formations, waterfalls, creeks, caves, you'll see along the way. (Guidebook)


50 hikes with kids california
wake sleepy one  
Wake, Sleepy One
Lisa Kerr, Lisa Powell Braun

Bright orange poppies grow wild all over California – in deserts, on the coast and inland mountains, look fields of poppies blooming in March and April. Poppies just need rain and warmth, in spring seeds wake up and bloom with a single flower. (Picture book)

"Petals flutter softly in the breeze, balance on a delicate stem... swirling, swirling, swirling...


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