23 Fun Family-Friendly Spring Break Ideas: 2023 Edition
Flowers aren’t the only things aplenty this spring break. There are so many fun spring break activities to do in the greater Los Angeles area, where you can explore the great outdoors and the humble indoors too. Spending time with your family is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health, so connect with your teen this upcoming spring with these spring break activities for kids (and adults too!).
Note: While this guide is primarily for those in Southern California, don’t worry if you don’t live here. There are tons of family-friendly spring break ideas in this guide that can be done wherever you are!
1. Picnic in spring
With such pleasant weather, how could you not bring roll out a picnic blanket? Welcome in the new season by picnicking at your favorite park (we personally love Agoura Hills Recreation and Event Center and Juan Bautista de Anza Park).
Bring a comfortable blanket and a portable stereo to set a cozy mood.
Pair your favorite tunes with some delicious food too. Sandwiches, cookies, chips, salads, you name it. While you’re enjoying the sun, just remember to hydrate with water or your beverage of choice.
2. Go camping
California is one of the most biodiverse states in America, if not the most. Break out the old tent and sleeping bags and have your choice of beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts, lakes, and forests within driving distance. Not too hot or cold, spring break is a great time to take the family out on a camping trip. It’s a popular time of year for this outdoor pastime, so plan ahead of time and make reservations to ensure your spot at the more popular camping grounds.
3. Plant something
Turn your garden into an outdoor classroom and give your little ones a new appreciation for the environment and where our food comes from. The easiest produce to grow this season are baby greens (such as arugula and lettuce), cherry tomatoes, peppers, herbs (such as rosemary and basil), and cucumbers.
No garden? No problem. There are many ways to DIY an indoor garden, with things such as paper egg cartons, mason jars, hydroponic systems, pallet walls, etc. Just make sure to buy seeds that’ll thrive indoors, such as carrots, green onions, herbs, and microgreens.
4. Gather around the campfire
During the cool evenings, roast some hot dogs and marshmallows as you huddle up with your kids under the stars. Whether it’s after a fun day at the beach or forest, it’s sure to be a hit for the whole family. If you have some spooky ghost stories or a guitar to sing along with, even better!
5. Treasure hunting with Geocaching
Join the largest treasure hunt in the world with your family through Geocaching, an app that you can find online or through the Apple and Android store. There are thousands of “geocaches” around the world to find, tons that are probably near you! Find where “X” marks the spot through the GPS provided, and perhaps your kids will find little tchotchkes and trinkets along the way. Just remember to swap them out with a small item for the next person to find – honor code!
6. Hike the trails
Another perk of having a biodiverse state is the number of amazing hiking trails it has to offer.
Down for a mini road trip? Check out the national parks within 5 hours of Los Angeles county such as Yosemite Park or Joshua Tree.
Want something more local? The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation is the place to go with over 500+ miles of hiking trails, flat or steep. For those looking for canyons, the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve is a beautiful 5,600+ acre area full of diverse habitats and undisturbed landscapes that you can hike through.
Need something kid-friendly? The Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons near Agoura Hills has a four to five mile trail that is flat, perfect for strollers. The Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks is a tree-lined short trail that would be great for those with toddlers.
The options are endless! Fun tip: get the kids a nature guide and see how many animals and plants they can identify.
7. Knott’s Boysenberry Festival
This March 10 to April 16, Knott’s Berry Farm is throwing its iconic Boysenberry Festival. It’s a fun family-friendly event that highlights the park’s historic roots through a lineup of foods, desserts, and drinks featuring the unique little berry. On top of this, the festival hosts local crafters, live music, and fun activities for guests of all ages.
8. Get your thrills at an amusement park
Speaking of Knott’s Berry Farms, check out the numerous theme parks of Southern California. Experience the world-renowned magic of Disneyland and hang out with your child’s favorite character. For the more daring kiddos, feel the adrenaline rush as you ride the towering, fast rides at Six Flags. Immerse yourself in your favorite movies with the motion rides at Universal Studios.
9. Enjoy wildflower season – maybe even a superbloom?
Superblooms are incredibly rare (they usually only happen every 10 to 15 years) but officials are preparing for another one this year! There are still certain conditions that need to be met before expecting breathtaking wildflower blooms, but the general wildflower season is still a sight to see. Try to see all the wildflowers you can distinguish when visiting places like Paramount Ranch, a popular wildflower-viewing spot in Agoura Hills.
10. Board game night
You know the drill. It’s hard to beat a night with your favorite board games and your favorite people. May the best player win!
11. Cook or bake your heart out
Spend a day in the kitchen either passing down family recipes or looking up new ones together. It’s a great way to not only have fun but to teach nutrition and healthy eating habits.
You can also mix it up a bit by making it a cooking competition! Whoever has the best dish of the night, wins.
12. Go out (or in) to the movies
Who says the whole movie experience can only be at the theaters? For more COVID-conscious individuals, don’t be afraid to get creative when starting your movie marathon.
Make your own ticket stubs with your kids. Have a concession stand stocked with your favorite snack. Pop some popcorn and make it gourmet by flavoring it with spices or sweeteners. Build a blanket fort for the coziest seating.
13. Read together
Quiet doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Have the household take a trip to the bookstore and pick a new book to dive into. Or better yet, start the same book together. You can read out loud the chapters together and discuss what you liked and didn’t like, like a book club. The perfect cozy and educational family-friendly activity.
14. Dance party
Sometimes you just need to dance it out. On the days you’re feeling restless and just have nothing to do, load up your best dancing playlist on your stereo and dance battle your family members.
15. More plants at the arboretum
For the plants you haven’t found on your own, the greater Los Angeles area has some great botanic gardens with some amazing greenery. Not only can you learn more about the ecosystem we live in, but arboretums typically also have activities and events that you can check out. Think concerts in the park, bird watching, yoga, gardening, etc.
16. More animals at the zoo, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries
There are so many animals to discover! Los Angeles County is filled with zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries. The LA Zoo itself is home to more than 270 different species along with an array of plant life.
17. Whale watching in Malibu
Call yourself Ishmael and find your Moby Dick through the whale-watching tours hosted seasonally at the harbors of Southern California. Year-round, take a cruise to spot the majestic humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, and orcas — a unique experience for all ages. You might spot some dolphins on the Malibu coast too!
Los Angeles is widely known for being a cultural hub, and you can easily tell from the expansive range of museums our county holds. Historic, scientific, artistic, children’s; you name it, the greater Los Angeles area’s got it. Any area of interest your teen might have, a museum here is sure to match it.
19. Horseback riding
So you’ve heard of hiking through the mountains, but have you tried horseback riding through them? You can enjoy the stunning views of the Californian terrain either by the equestrian trails of the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, or by a guided tour with the Los Angeles Horseback Riding ranch. Located in Topanga, you can enjoy the trails in groups of six to eight.
20. Pick your own fruit
The only thing that can beat shopping for fruit at the farmer’s market is picking the fruit at the farm yourself. Many self-serve farms in the greater Los Angeles area also offer kid-friendly activities on the property, such as wagon rides, horseback riding, farm tours, petting zoos, etc.
In case you were wondering, it’s strawberry-picking season!
21. Bike riding
Southern California has some of the coolest bike trails around. Some of the best biking trails for kids and teens are Malibu Creek State Park and Chandler Bikeway with many tourist attractions and sights to see. For those who want to bike next to a gorgeous sunset on the lake, Anthony C. Beilenson Park at Lake Balboa is a wonderful family-friendly option with bike rentals in case you need them.
22. Indoor Olympics
You heard us right.
We’re talking about balloon tennis where your rackets are paper plates tapped to wooden spoons. “Laser maze” hallways where you have to quickly and nimbly make it past the hallway without touching the streamers or painter’s tape strewn across it. Paper airplane races where your carefully crafted airplane must make it past a certain distance or obstacles. Just walk down the dollar store aisle and think of all the possible games you can create (and dominate at).
Awarding medals at the end is non-negotiable. It is the Olympics after all.
23. Get in touch with your crafty side
Thankfully, we live in the era of the Internet where many arts and crafts recipes are just at our fingertips. For the little ones, you can make crafts like paper animals and beaded bracelets (possibly matching ones for the whole family?). For your teens, consider pursuing more advanced crafts such as crocheting or painting.
There you have it, 23 activities for spring break 2023 all full of family-friendly fun. Like we said, vacation days and social support from family time can be a great way to positively affect your mental health but sometimes we need a little extra help. If you’d like to learn more about helping your teen care for their mental health and how Hillcrest’s programs and services can benefit them, contact a member of our admissions team today.