Visit world-class theme parks and learn how to surf, jam like a rock ‘n’ roll guitar hero, float in a handsome paddlewheel boat, and explore surprising wilderness.
Trip length: 4 days
CRYSTAL COVE SP (26mi/42km; 47min). Explore undeveloped woodlands and miles of pristine coast. Refuel at the bright yellow Ruby’s Shake Shack , with A+ Crystal Cove views and dynamite date shakes. INFO Crystal Cove State Park ; 949/494-3539.
DANA POINT (13mi/21km; 31min). Learn to surf in the kid-friendly waves of Doheny Beach. Girl in the Curl offers lessons for kids (both sexes) as young as five, and the gentle rollers of Doheny are among California’s best for beginners. INFO Dana Point Chamber of Commerce ; 949/496-1555
RIVERSIDE (11mi/18km; 17min). Wander among orange orchards at California Citrus State Historical Park , a Golden State homage to the orange. Summer is the season for outdoor concerts; sweet-scented blossoms are best in spring. INFO Riverside Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 888/748-7733
LAKE ARROWHEAD (43mi/69km; 57min). Tour the lake in an elegant paddlewheel boat, the Lake Arrowhead Queen . Trips are less than an hour long so the kids won’t get too antsy (tours on the hour, year-round). INFO Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce ; 909/337-3715
Disney's California Adventure Park
Knotts Berry Farm
Crystal Cove State Park
Doheny State Beach
Fender Museum of Music and the Arts, Corona
California Citrus State Historical Park
Lake Arrowhead Queen