Orange County, California Engages Travelers of All Ages with Arts, Fairs, Theme Parks, Outdoor Adventures, Kid-friendly Dining, Hotel Packages and More

Orange County, California is as kid-friendly as a destination can get. Beyond its world-famous amusement parks and stunning beaches, Orange County offers lots of fun-filled experiences for children and their families, ranging from free to fantastic. The OC is the perfect destination for an exciting day trip or long vacation. Check out our "Best Of The OC" section for the Best Places to Find Great Experiences For Kids.

Free Family Fun

Free Concerts on the Green at Newport Beach Civic Center - Pack a picnic dinner, blankets and beach chairs because the Newport Beach City Arts Commission will present another free series of "Concerts on the Green" at the Newport Beach Civic Center. The concerts take place on June 7, July 12, August 23, and September 27 from at 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center - Free to the public, open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (donations accepted), and is located on Laguna Canyon Road. It features interactive exhibits near the outdoor pools. It also offers Camp Pinniped, a summer day camp for 8-12 year olds.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts: Annie - The world's best-loved musical, Annie, returns in time-honored form to the Segerstrom Hall beginning May 13 through May 24. Kids can see the show for free. Receive one free kid's ticket with the purchase of one full-priced adult ticket.

Arts, Nature Parks and More

Knott's Soak City - A separate, gated water adventure park immediately adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm, Knott's Soak City offers 13 California beach-themed acres designed for thrill seekers of all ages. The water park is open from the end of May through select dates in September.

Kayak Eco-Tour - Sea kayaking provides an up-close look at reefs, private beaches, tide pools and sea life along the North Laguna coastline. La Vida Laguna conducts two-hour guided eco-tours to view hidden reefs. You can also rent a kayak from La Vida Laguna and paddle South Laguna. They also offer paddleboard tours & lessons, surf lessons, and bike tours.

OC Fair 125th Anniversary: One Big Party - "One Big Party" at the OC Fair starts July 17 and concludes on August 16. This event celebrates the OC Fair's 125th anniversary with 23 days of food, rides, shopping, exhibits, and animals.

Saturday, September 5th is the finale concert in the Music Under the Stars 2015 Summer Concert Series. Enjoy a memorable evening of live music, picnic dining and dancing together with friends, family and colleagues at the beautiful historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Night at the Mission Adventure Sleepover - Bring the entire family and your sleeping bags for an adventurous historic sleepover. Night at the Mission includes dinner, a flashlight tour, games, crafts, a pancake breakfast the next morning & much more! Don't miss out on this exciting adventure. July 17 to July 18, 2015-Friday to Saturday from 6 p.m. - 8 a.m.

Surf City Nights Weekly Farmers Market and Street Fair - Every Tuesday night in downtown Huntington Beach, Surf City Nights takes over. A weekly street fair featuring a certified farmer's market, live entertainment, fresh foods, merchant vendors, and children's activities. Try some freshly baked mini doughnuts, pick up some fresh fruits, and enjoy the local entertainment.

Orange County Great Park - The park offers fun activities with events throughout the year, a rotating art gallery along with a farmers' market every Sunday. The park features the Great Park Balloon, a 118 foot-high helium balloon that has become an OC icon; the Great Park Carousel; and the Kids' Area, which includes the Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, the Incredible Edible Farm, a walkable historical timeline and the North Lawn recreation area.

Irvine Regional Park - The park encompasses a variety of different activities, from bike, horse and paddleboat rentals, pony rides for kids, a nature center and playgrounds. The Irvine Park Railroad features a miniature train ride along with special events throughout the year including the Easter Eggstravaganza, Pumpkin Patch and Annual Christmas Train.

VIP Passport - South Coast Plaza's exclusive VIP Passport provides visitors with over 100 valuable offers from premier stores and restaurants. Present your ID at any of SCP's four concierge desks to receive a passport. Offers include a 20 percent savings at restaurants like Quattro Caffe, popular with kids for their excellent pizzas and pastas. Puzzle Zoo offers a 20 percent discount on any one item while BabyGap and Gap Kids offers a 25 percent savings on full-priced merchandise.

Fashion Island - This outdoor shopping mecca in Newport Beach is filled with more than 125 stores - featuring a great mix of boutiques, department stores, and designer outposts. Kids will love the water fountains and park areas to run around in, and there are movie theaters and restaurants for all ages to enjoy.

Hotel Packages

Montage Laguna Beach - Family Fun Package - Bring the entire family and Montage will take care of breakfast and entertainment for the children, while grownups can relax and enjoy the hotel amenities and Pacific Ocean views. Includes outdoor activities, arts & crafts and games, with a unique theme each day. Especially designed for ages 5-12. Valid through October 31, 2015.

Snoopy Tuck in Service at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel - When visitors are not quite ready to leave the fun and excitement of Knott's Berry Farm or Knott's Soak city, they can extend their stay at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel. The most exclusive of these rooms are the 16 Snoopy-themed rooms where special Beagle Bedtime tuck-in service is included with every reservation.

The Grove District Anaheim Resort - World-renowned attractions abound within a short walk or drive of The Grove District's nine hotels, making this locale particularly attractive to families visiting Southern California. Family-friendly hot spots include the original Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim GardenWalk, Angels Stadium and the Anaheim Ducks, just to name a few. Families can look forward to the opening of the Great Wolf Lodge SoCal in 2016; an indoor water park resort, which offers an exciting new vacation destination within The Grove District. Expansion plans for the 520-acre, high-profile area along Harbor Boulevard include over 1,000 new hotel rooms, several themed restaurants and entertainment venues.

Kid-Friendly Dining

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour - Farrell's is a step back in time to the turn of the century with servers dressed in pin-striped vests, old-fashioned ties and cane hats. It has won Nickelodeon Parents Best Ice Cream Shop and OC Register's Best Place for A Birthday Party, Best Family Friendly Restaurant, Best Ice Cream and Best Restaurant.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure - Acclaimed as the "World's Most Interactive Dinner Show," Pirate's Dinner Adventure takes guests on a journey with Captain Sebastian the Black as he and his crew set sail on the high seas. Visitors will be entertained with an astonishing display of special effects, aerial artistry, swashbuckling swordplay and even life-sized dragons. While enjoying the show, visitors will dine on a three-course meal that is sure to satisfy even the hungriest of pirates.

Sugar Shack - Family owned and operated since 1967, Sugar Shack is a definite local (and visitor) favorite. Try the Main Street Burrito, or for the little ones, the Mini Special. Hang out on the patio and people watch the surfers coming to and from the beach to their favorite breakfast spot.


John Wayne Airport - The gateway to Southern California and as the closest and most convenient airport to get to the family fun, adventure, luxury activities, etc. that Orange County offers. At the Ground Transportation Center, travelers can hop on the Disneyland Resort Express bus to Disneyland and neighboring hotels, charter a taxi, shuttle, limo or town car, or pick up their hotel shuttle. In addition, JWA offers a variety of on-site rental car options.


Editors Note: The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) represents more than 700 members of Orange County, California's tourism community and is the leading resource for visitor information about the county's 34 cities. OCVA serves as steward of The OC brand, recognized worldwide as the home of world-famous theme parks, unparalleled shopping, 42 miles of pristine coastline, renowned beachfront resorts, and innumerable activities ranging from watersports to world-class performing arts. OCVA promotes the destination both domestically and internationally, with tourism offices in four international cities. Orange County is located in the heart of Southern California and provides easy access to all the attractions the region offers. For more information, go to or call the California Welcome Center at (714) 523-3441. Follow OCVA on Facebook (visittheoc) and Twitter (@VisitTheOC).