Three top California winter holiday destinations – with kids!

From Disneyland theme parks to snow-fun to beaches in just one week!

In February of 2020 we took a trip from Sydney, Australia to the USA with Visit California to experience three different Californian destinations. We found that an incredible USA family vacation awaits where you can travel from theme parks to snow and back again to the sunny beaches of California – all within the same American state – and in the space of just one week!

California Disneyland

Famous for its amazing beaches, theme parks and year-round warm temperatures, there’s a whole Californian winter wonderland that is just waiting to be explored! California makes a fantastic family holiday destination any time of year, but travelling during the Californian winter offers several big advantages that you may not have thought of.

Not only are there less crowds at tourist attractions and theme parks during winter, California winter holidays also happen to be less expensive due to the lower, off-peak season demand. This stretches your all-important family vacation dollar further! Year-round sunny weather means you can still have your beach holiday and add on a side trip to the mountains for some skiing too. These are just a few of the many advantages of visiting California during winter.

Watch our complete California trip in 5 minutes video!

Planes, trains and automobiles – or buses! Our California trip had it all. Watch our 5 minute video of what’s possible on an Australian family holiday to California here!


Of course there is so much more to see of California that just three locations as you can see in our video, however these particular Californian towns and cities are all stand-out holiday destinations – feature-packed with stunning sights and amazing attractions.

So without further ado, here are three amazing Californian winter holiday destinations we know you’re going to love just as much as we did!

Destination 1: Anaheim, California – home of Disneyland Resort

Disneyland castle

A family trip to California just wouldn’t be the same without visiting at The Happiest Place On Earth – Disneyland Resort!

Disneyland Resort is located in the Californian city of Anaheim, a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles.

Made up of two incredible theme parks, Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park, as well as the Downtown Disney District – plus the official Disney hotels – Disneyland Resort is an essential part of any USA family holiday.

One of the best things about Disney Resort is that even if you’ve been there before, it’s constantly changing. There are always new rides being added, new entertainment to enjoy and features to see. It’s what keeps Disney fans coming back year after year!

Disneyland Park, California


Disneyland Park, California is THE Disneyland where the Disney magic was first created by Walt Disney in 1955. It’s here you’ll find all the famous, original rides – plus some fantastic new attractions, such as the new Disneyland world, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Read and watch videos of our Disneyland Park and the new Star Wars world experiences here!

Read our tips on what to see and do at Disneyland Park here!

Disney California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure ParkDisney California Adventure Park is an exciting theme park encompassing 8 different lands full of wonderful experiences and thrilling rides.  Some of the famous Disney rides you’ll find here are the Incredicoaster roller coaster, the iconic Mickey Mouse head Ferris wheel and Cars Land – a faithful recreation of the fictional town of Radiator Springs.

Read our tips on what to see and do at Disney California Adventure Park here!

Downtown Disney District

Downtown Disney District is a shopping, restaurant and entertainment precinct located between the two Disneyland Resort theme parks.

You don’t need a ticket to Disneyland to visit Downtown Disney, which means you can access this area whenever you like for a bit of shopping or a great meal.

Downtown Disney
Live bands play at Downtown Disney

With live music and entertainment as you eat, Downtown Disney is a great place to sit back and soak up the Disney atmosphere – setting the scene perfectly for all the Disney magic to come!

Black Tap Anaheim shakes

Cali trip tip! At Downtown Disney we recommend the Black Tap Anaheim restaurant – it’s a great place to grab a delicious American craft burger and wash it down with some of the most elaborate milk shakes you’ll ever see!

Visit Anaheim

Visit Anaheim

Whilst Disneyland is a huge attraction, there’s much more to Anaheim than just Disneyland! Find out what other things there are to do and see in Anaheim, California here!

Where to stay in Anaheim

Anaheim Marriott Suites hotel
Anaheim Marriott Suites hotel

Whilst in Anaheim we stayed in the Anaheim Marriot Suites, in Garden Grove.

Located only minutes from the Disneyland Resort attractions, this elegant full-service hotel is the perfect base for your Disneyland family holiday.

Find out more about our Anaheim Marriot Suites stay here.

Destination 2: Mammoth Mountain, California

Mammoth Mountain, California

To pack even more into your California winter holiday, all you need to do – is just add snow!

Just one hour’s flight hop from LAX – or half a day’s road-trip – you’ll find California’s Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

From sun to snow holiday in just a day, it doesn’t get any easier or more convenient to enjoy the best of both worlds on your family holiday. Simply jump on a quick flight to Mammoth Lakes – and get skiing!

Mammoth Mountain ski resort

At Mammoth Mountain you’ll find a huge range of family snow fun!

The skiing at Mammoth is world-class with a huge network of ski trails and lifts to explore – plus ski lessons and great snow quality for all skiing levels.

But Mammoth isn’t just about the skiing – there’s a whole range of snow activities, traditions and fun on offer!

Read more about our adventures at Mammoth Mountain here!

Where to stay at Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth hotel hot tubs
The Village hotel, Mammoth Mountain

Whilst at Mammoth Lakes, we stayed at The Village Lodge Mammoth – a luxurious hotel set in a beautiful village complex, boasting year-round entertainment and superior shopping and dining.

The Village also has its own direct-access gondola to the skiing trails of Mammoth Mountain. This is the perfect place to base yourself for your snow holiday at Mammoth!

You can read more about The Village Lodge hotel at Mammoth here.

Destination 3: Santa Monica

Santa Monica

After all the winter fun of Mammoth, it was time to take advantage of that sunny Californian beach weather and head back to the coast – and gorgeous Santa Monica!

Conveniently located just 25 minute’s drive from LAX and 45 minute’s drive from the Disneyland theme parks, Santa Monica is a beautiful, family-friendly city.

It’s here you’ll find a miles of stunning sandy Californian beaches, fun entertainment and fabulous food and shopping – making it a wonderful all-round family holiday destination.

The iconic Santa Monica Pier takes pride of place on this sweeping coastline with its resident fun fair and iconic big wheel. Nestled beneath the Pier you’ll also find the Santa Monica Aquarium, plus several shops and restaurants lining the Pier boardwalk. A favourite tourist photo spot is at the Pier sign proclaiming it the “end of Route 66”, the famous American road trip route which snakes across the USA.

From year-round surfing lessons to skateboarding, or enjoying a family bike ride along the miles of paved bike paths, Santa Monica truly has something for everyone.

You can read all about our adventures in Santa Monica here.

Where to stay in Santa Monica

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica
Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

Whilst in Santa Monica we stayed at the stunning Shore Hotel.

The Shore Hotel is located directly opposite the famous Santa Monica Pier neon archway sign, and backs onto the main shopping precinct.

A truly green hotel, The Shore Hotel prides itself on being an eco-conscious, environmentally sustainable hotel.

You can read about our stay at the Shore Hotel here.

Book your 2021 family California holiday adventure now!

Our family had a great time in California

A winter California holiday truly is a very clever choice for your Australian family.

With exciting theme parks and world-class ski resorts only a short flight away from the mild winter climes of the beautiful California coast, you really do get to enjoy the best of all holiday worlds.

California is an incredibly beautiful, exciting and fun destination for the whole family. Why not book your own Californian family adventure now?

If you enjoyed reading this article, please give us a Facebook “Like” or comment below, to keep them coming!

This article is meant to inspire travel to California once it is safe to do to. The attractions and experiences featured in this article may be temporarily unavailable due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Please consult official travel resources and individual businesses to confirm future plans.

The Let’s Go Mum family partnered with Visit California and their supporting partners for this trip.  As always, all opinions are our own.

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Disney Resort, California


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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at!