101 Reasons to Love Summer in SoCal

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I’ve lived in Southern California for 30 years and my favorite thing about living here, is summer. I could say there’s no better place than SoCal to spend your summer vacation, but that would be biased. There is fun to be had everywhere you look, and many of the attractions are free.

101 Reasons to Love Summer in SoCal

Here’s 101 reasons to love summer in SoCal.

11 Reasons to Visit a Theme Park

Definitely not free, but definitely worth checking out!

  1. Disneyland – Main Street Electrical Parade
  2. California Adventures – Summer of Heroes
  3. Knotts Berry Farm – Ghost Town Alive
  4. Six Flags Magic Mountain – Kwerk, Screampunk District Streetmosphere and Full Throttle Nights
  5. LEGOLAND – RoboTECH Camp
  6. Universal Studios Hollywood – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  7. LA Zoo – Roaring Nights at the LA Zoo
  8. San Diego Zoo – Africa Rocks
  9. San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Roar & Snore Safari
  10. Aquarium of the Pacific – Shark Lagoon Nights
  11. Sea World – Electric Ocean

28 Reasons to have Fun in the Sun

  1. Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival
  2. Balboa Island Blue Whale Migration
  3. Corona Del Mar Pirates Cove
  4. Huntington Beach US Open of Surfing
  5. Newport Bay Gondola Rides
  6. Laguna Beach Tide Pools
  7. Newport Back Bay
  8. Crystal Cove State Park
  9. Heisler Park
  10. Catch up to 30 foot waves at The Wedge
  11. Newport Beach Bike Trail
  12. El Matador
  13. Malibu Beach Pier
  14. Muscle Beach in Venice
  15. Santa Monica Pier
  16. Coronado Beach
  17. Mission Bay
  18. La Jolla Cove
  19. Sun & Sea Festival
  20. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  21. Catalina Island
  22. Big Bear Lake
  23. Lake Tahoe
  24. Irvine Lake
  25. Whale Watching
  26. Raging Waters
  27. Soak City
  28. Aquatica


19 Reasons to Keep Learning Through the Summer

  1. Ronald Reagan Library – This Library features the actual Air Force One that flew US Presidents from 1973 to 2001. Plan to spend a whole day here!
  2. Huntington Library – This massive library and 3 art galleries house rare books. There are also 16 beautiful gardens you can spend hours on. The first Thursday of every month is free, with advance reservations.
  3. Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum – Sit behind the President’s desk at the Oval Office replica, or step aboard Army One. The helicopter used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
  4. Griffith Observatory – Clear summer skies allow for great visibility. Admission is always free.
  5. Getty Center – Seriously one of my favorite places ever. You can learn more about the founder J Paul Getty here.
  6. Getty Villa – Houses more of Getty’s collection, in Malibu. Admission to the Getty Center & Getty Villa is always free.
  7. La Brea Tar Pits – Features a glass enclosed fossil-lab. The museum is built right on top of an excavation lab, so it’s the perfect place to witness fossil research and excavation.101 Reasons to Love Summer in SoCal
  8. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – The largest art museum in the western US. Admission for children 17 and under is free.
  9. National History Museum of LA County – My favorite of all, very likely because this was the first museum I visited in Southern California. Free admission on the first Tuesday of every month besides July and August.
  10. California Science Center – This is the home of the space shuttle Endeavor, offers interactive exhibits and hands on learning opportunities. Admission is free.
  11. USS Midway Museum – Former Navy aircraft carrier, with 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft. Probably the best place to celebrate Independence Day.
  12. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) – Commemorates those who perished & honors those who survived. Admission is always free.
  13. Norton Simon Museum – Features works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Goya, Manet, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and more. The museum offers various family and children activities on Thursdays. Admission for children 18 and under, students with ID and active military is free.
  14. San Diego Air and Space Museum – Located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, offers multiple STEM opportunities.
  15. Kidspace Children’s Museum – The one museum where children are encouraged to touch everything, get wet and muddy. Enjoy free admission the first Tuesday of every month from 4:00 to 8:00pm.
  16. California Surf Museum – Surfing is a way of life out here. Admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month.
  17. Hammer Museum – Located in the UCLA campus, features contemporary collections and summer programs for kids. Admission is free all year.
  18. The Broad – Features contemporary art and is located in Downtown LA. Advance ticket purchase is recommended, otherwise you’ll have plenty of time to make new friends on the stand-by line. Check out some of the amazing exhibits here.
  19. Fleet Science Center – Ton’s of hands on learning opportunities and extra summer activities for all ages.
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28 SoCal Landmarks You Have to See

  1. Hollywood Walk of Fame
  2. Mount Rubidoux
  3. Pacific Coast Highway
  4. Sunset Strip
  5. Rodeo Drive
  6. Olvera Street
  7. Hotel Del Coronado
  8. The Mission Inn
  9. Gaslamp Quarter
  10. Point Fermin Park & Lighthouse
  11. Downtown Disney
  12. Mission San Juan Capistrano
  13. Exposition Park
  14. Dodger Stadium
  15. Staples Center
  16. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden
  17. UCR Botanical Gardens101 Reasons to Love Summer in SoCal
  18. YouTube Space LA
  19. Santa Ana River Trail
  20. Walt Disney Concert Hall
  21. Hollywood Bowl
  22. Star of India
  23. The Queen Mary
  24. Balboa Park101 Reasons to Love Summer in SoCal
  25. Tanaka Farms
  26. Riley’s Farm
  27. Joshua Tree National Park
  28. The Original Farmer’s Market

12 Events You Can’t Miss

  1. CBU Courtyard Shakespeare Festival – A fantastic way to spend a warm California evening.
  2. Harvest Crusade – This is a long-standing family tradition. The Harvest Crusade takes place in Anaheim in mid to late August.
  3. Switchfoot Bro-AM – Surf contest and free concert on the beach, celebrating community,  raising awareness and funds for San Diego youth organizations.
  4. Supergirl PRO – Female surf event and festival in Oceanside.
  5. Orange County Fair – Just good’ol county fair fun.
  6. Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off – Biased opinion alert. Tustin is my home town, and nothings says home more than this street fair.
  7. Sawdust Art Festival – Features handicrafts and fine art created by Laguna Beach residents.
  8. Orange International Street Fair – Try food from 15 different countries in one central location.
  9. Night of the Luminaries – Visitor created luminaries and lanterns light up the Rose Haven Heritage Garden in Temecula welcoming the beginning of summer.
  10. Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social – Ice cream, homemade lemonade, and music, in the style of the late 1800’s.
  11. Pageant of the Masters – Experience masterpieces like you never imagined. Artists re-create classic and contemporary works of art with real people.
  12. Shakespeare by the Sea – 10 weeks of free performances throughout LA, France and Ventura counties.
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3 Reasons to Love SoCal All Year

  1. In-N-Out
  2. Mickey Mouse
  3. Wearing flip-flops is socially acceptable year round.

Thankfully the flexibility of homeschooling allows us to enjoy many of these attractions throughout the whole year. How do you plan to spend your summer?

101 Reasons


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