For some families full-fledged vacations aren't necessarily practical and/or affordable, but that shouldn't keep families from local mini-vacations a.k.a. Staycations! Groupon offers great hotel stay packages searched by location and often offer discounts for last minute getaways!
Here are a few So-Cal gems:
1. Visit San Diego and combine that with a trip to Legoland, Sea World, Wild Animal Park or all of the above! San Diego is a city with plenty to do and so many hotel options that prices are fair.
2. Knotts Berry Farm Hotel with theme park tickets for all registered guests to visit the neighboring Knotts Berry Farm Amusement Park. My family did this over NYE weekend and loved the price, proximity to theme park and hotel restaurant (good food option away from park crowds).
3. Hotel stay beachside in the South Bay, OC or even more popular destination, Santa Monica, CA. This is always so easy since a beachside stay is fun in and of itself.
4. Palm Springs trip combined with shopping (Cabazon Outlets). Make sure to stop by the neighboring Morongo Casino for their yummy buffet or to gamble if this trip is kid-free.
5. Spend a day in Santa Barbara where you can combine a 1/2 day at the beach with a 1/2 day at the Santa Barbara zoo. While there for the weekend enjoy wonderful shopping on State Street and tour the wonderful local university UCSB!
A couple of things to keep in mind to save on all trips: find hotel deals with no hidden fees (Expedia features these often). Look for rates that include free parking, wifi and meals. As a minimum, search for kids eat free deals. This is a great way to stay locally and save!
These destinations are easy, fun and local for So. Cal. residents, share your favorite spots, too. We'd love to learn about other staycation destinations across the nation.