A castle-like building amidst a vineyard in fall colors.

California Coast Family Road Trip Ideas

Driving the California coast is a classic family road trip, with a range of attractions for kids to enjoy. While some popular destinations are very much kid-focused, other attractions such as zoos, aquariums, and unique locales are truly family-friendly, offering a bit of fun for everyone.

A sea otter holds its paws up to its face.

Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium

From the very beginning, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s mission has been conservation, and they’re not shy about it: all the exhibits you’ll see contain only local sea life. While the aquarium is fun any time of year, week, or day, some things—such as feeding time, or when rarer species such as the great white shark are on display—are worth making the effort to plan out your visit.

A lifeguard station on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier.

Best of the West 14-Day Road Trip: SF, Yosemite, Vegas, LA…

By driving in a rough loop, you can hit all the top destinations of the West—San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and LA—in two weeks. This day-by-day route begins in San Francisco, but you can just as easily start in Los Angeles or Las Vegas if that works better for you.

The colorful kitschy interior of the Madonna Inn with carved wood and brightly-colored vinyl chairs.

Best California Road Trip Stops

Going from San Francisco to Yosemite? Or Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon? Every road trip needs excuses to stop and stretch your legs, and the best California road trip stops range from true American kitsch to stunning waterfalls.