image: Getty/Samuel Antonio
Best time of year to go: at 70°F and sunny year round, you can’t go wrong, but opt for March through May and September through November for fewer crowds.
Where to stay: Embassy Suites San Diego Bay – Downtown
Why kids love it: the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld are a must! Save a day for each. Aviation fans will enjoy a visit to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier too.
Why parents love it: shops, dining, and art in the Gaslamp Quarter; dozens of museums, attractions, and gardens in Balboa Park.
Don’t miss: a visit to Coronado Island for beach time, a boardwalk stroll and ice cream at the MooTime Creamery, a vintage 1950s ice cream parlor.
Insider’s tip: save money on visiting multiple San Diego attractions with discount cards like the Balboa Park Pass, San Diego 3-for-1 Pass, or Go San Diego Card.
image: Getty/Geri Lavrov
Best time of year to go: visit in the late summer and fall for the best temps; late fall through spring if you want to give your kids a taste of the college town when students are in session.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites San Luis Obispo
Why kids love it: learn & play at San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum or see over 250 exotic animals like water buffalo, peacocks, and zonkies (a mix of a zebra and donkey) at Lazy Arrow Outdoor Adventures.
Why parents love it: explore the SLO Mission, visit Hearst Castle, visit Caly Poly, and taste at over forty area wineries.
Don’t miss: Thursday night farmer’s market with dozens of vendors, food stalls, bands, and street performers. Come hungry!
Insider’s tip: save a free evening to see a flick at the family-friendly Sunset Drive-In that shows two feature films a night. Bring a car picnic or buy dinner at the affordable concession stand.
image: Getty/Jordan Siemens
Best time of year to go: visit in the fall for the nicest weather or November through March if you like your redwood hikes cool and damp.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites, Arcata
Why kids love it: visit one of the five visitor centers for ranger talks, interactive exhibits, and to pick up your Junior Ranger booklet where you can earn a Redwood Park ranger badge. Also visit the nearby Mad River Hatchery to watch the salmon jump the ladder or the Sequoia Park Zoo for red pandas.
Why parents love it: turn off the family’s tech devices and watch everyone get lost in the grandeur of the world’s tallest trees. After your hike, warm up with a visit to the Finnish Country Sauna & Tubs (with kids or without) for a latte and a soak.
Insider’s tip: check Humbolt State University’s calendar to avoid visiting the first weekend before school starts or graduation weekend when hotels fill up.
image: Getty/Rick Gerharter
Best time of year to go: visit in fall for the best weather or December to experience the city decorated for the holidays.
Where to stay: Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Why kids love it: cable car rides, Exploratorium, taste-testing at the Ghirardelli Chocolate flagship store.
Why parents love it: shopping at the Ferry Building, art at SFMOMA, hiking at Muir Woods.
Don’t miss: a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and dim sum in Chinatown.
Insider’s tip: skip the ticket line for your cable car ride and just pay six dollars cash to the driver when you get on (per person, one way).
Best time of year to go: though the Santa Monica Pier stays open year round, some of the shops close up in the winter. Aim for weekdays in the late summer through fall.
Where to stay: Hotel MdR Marina del Rey – a DoubleTree by Hilton
Why kids love it: roller coasters, carousels, street performers, and carnival games at the Santa Monica Pier.
Why parents love it: gorgeous sunsets, family fun, and easy driving distance to Los Angeles International Airport, Third Street Promenade, Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles.
Don’t miss: a sunset ride on the Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel.
Insider’s tip: skip the parking hassle and reserve a spot near the Santa Monica Pier in advance on ParkMe.
This post was sponsored by Hilton