Have you been looking for a fun place to take your family for vacation? You should consider packing your things and heading to California for one of the best getaways of your life.

With all the theme parks, places to ski, and wine tasting, you and your family will never run out of interesting things to do and places to explore. Just make sure you book well in advance because hotels and campgrounds tend to fill up fast. Do you need a little help with the planning process?

Here is everything you need to know about planning a California vacation that everyone will enjoy.

1. Make the Most Out of Theme Parks

You can maximize your time at theme parks by booking a hotel around where it’s located. Doing this will usually get you early access so you’ll be able to hand over your tickets at least an hour before it opens.

The only issue, is there are probably a few hotels worth of people doing the same exact thing so you should expect a wait regardless. You can shave some time off of this by buying your tickets online.

2. Book Well in Advance For Camping

Many national parks have a certain window where they allow reservations for camping. If you don’t jump on it quickly, all of the good spots can, and will get taken out from under you.

So, if you’re planning to go to California to camp in a national park, you might want to go ahead and book your trip for about 6 months in advance.

3. Attend the Junior Ranger Programs

These Junior Ranger Programs in the national parks give out fun handouts that your kids can enjoy. Typically they are given these when they first enter the park. They usually have sights that they can check off or wildlife bingo where they can mark off different species of animals they see.

These handouts are a great way for your children to have fun while you observe the sights, and learn at the same time. If you miss the junior rangers when you go into the park, you can also download the handouts online.

4. Plan to Ski

Just because California is known for warm and sunny weather, doesn’t mean it never snows there. There are actually several ski resorts. If you don’t know how to ski, the resorts offer several lessons for those of any experience level.

If you’re worried about there not being enough snow left because your child’s Spring break doesn’t happen until April or so, you should still be in the clear because there will still be plenty of snow on the ground.

5. Don’t Rule Out Alcohol Tasting

California has some of the best alcohol tastings for you to try out. For example, one of the best things to do in Sonora is the hard cider tasting. If hard cider isn’t your thing, there is also wine and beer.

If you’re worried about attending alcohol tasting because you have your kids with you, most of the wineries and breweries have an answer for that. They have fun activities and play areas that can keep the kiddos occupied.

6. Treat Yourself to a Nice Dinner

Not all restaurants in California are super luxurious and actually have really good kid’s menus. If you are scared that a restaurant doesn’t have a kid’s menu or anything your child will eat, you can always call ahead and ask before you book a reservation.

If you want to have a romantic meal alone with your partner that’s in the realm of possibilities too. Most hotels can point you in the direction of great babysitters that will come right to your hotel and watch your children while you’re out.

7. Bring Sunscreen

When you’re packing a beach bag sunscreen is definitely a given but did you know that you’ll also need it when you’re hitting the slopes? Though California gets snow it’s still sunny on a regular basis, and those sun rays have a habit of reflecting off the white snow.

This reflection can still burn you as quickly as the rays beaming down directly on you when you’re on the beach. To ensure that your vacation isn’t ruined or ends in pain, you’ll need to apply sunscreen whenever you go out.

8. Pack For Layers

You’ve probably heard the saying “I can always take put on more layers but there is only so much I can take off” from people who enjoy the winter. This is sort of the mindset you need to have when you visit California if you want to stay comfortable.

The weather in California is constantly fluctuating from one extreme to the other. Sometimes under the hot sun, it will feel 80 degrees or more and sometimes when it’s rainy or foggy, it feels 50. You can combat this by either dressing in layers or just always carrying a sweater with you.

Plan a California Vacation that Your Entire Family Will Enjoy

Planning a vacation doesn’t end with the plane ticket in your hand. It’s not something that you should wing when you get there. You need to strategically book your hotel near theme parks or buy tickets to attractions online.

Call and ask around to places to see if they have any kid-friendly menus or activities to keep them occupied while you and your partner take insights of your own. Use these tips for planning a California vacation that will keep your family happy and comfortable from start to finish.

Is California not your style? Visit our Travel & Entertainment archives for more awesome vacation ideas.

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