Our California Road Trip With Teens, A Trip To LA And San Francisco


Ok, I know that seems ages away. However, in travel planning terms, Easter 2024 is not that long away. Being a crazy travel family we like to cram as much as possible into our adventures. So starting to plan our California Road Trip With Teens now, makes sense. And if you have younger kids these activities all work for families with kids too.

Why plan in advance? There is a lot to see, and we can’t see it all. Additionally we are traveling with friends, thus itineraries need to be agreed. Things will change, and some tickets need to be booked in advance.

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The plan is to do a Twin Centre Holiday after our Cruise along the Californian Coast. We aim to spend a few days in LA, before heading up to San Francisco for a couple of days, and a little more time exploring.

Our California Road Trip With Teens

Los Angeles For Families With Kids And Teens

The list is long and its been hard to narrow down to a shortlist. However we do have a shortlist! Los Angeles has such a diverse offering of attractions for families. Which is therefore proving a challenge to decide on activities that work for teenagers, and also interest us.

So here is what we have come up with.

What To Do In LA With Teens

Spend A Day ‘Or 2’ At DisneyLand California

We are HUGE Disney fans, visiting LA with teens and not paying the Big Cheese a visit would be wrong. And you can’t do Disney in 1 day! I am currently reading as much as I can about DisneyLand so we can make the most of our Disney Trip.

When we last Visited WALT DISNEY WORLD ORLANDO we had visited several times before so knew how the park worked. I am hoping it is much the same here, but with an LA vibe. With Disneyland being the first ever Disney Park it is going to feel extra special.

Current prices for a 2 day ticket for a family of 4 are $900, however this goes up to $1,120 for a park hopper ticket.

La Road Trip With Teens

Check Out Universal Studios In Hollywood

I am the biggest Harry Potter fan, and the boys are huge Universal fans. Also the rides are all that bit crazier aren’t they? Universal Orlando is built over two levels and connected by an escalator. So will feel very different to Universal Orlando.

There are also many rides we have not experienced. Including the World Famous Studio Tour, which looks truly astounding, featuring old favourites such as Jaws and Jurassic Park. And a tour of acres of movies sets.

A 1 day tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood cost from $109

Universal Orlando an incredible family day out

Visit The Hollywood Sign

Erected in 1923, I have often wondered ‘what is the best time of day to visit the Hollywood Sign?’ However the appeal of seeing Hollywood lit up below draws me to the evening. Travelling with teens means later nights are not a problem.

Although it’s something I have ever felt inspired to see. On reading its history, it feels like the Hollywood sign is an important part of history one should not miss.

To visit, catch the Dash Bus to the Hollywood Sign, which runs every 15 minutes from 10am until 10 PM and cost 50 cents.

California Road Trip With Teens

Petersen Automotive Museum

Our boys are car mad, I think most kids and teens are? I never forget the time I visited the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. All I could think was how much the boys would have loved the history and cars on show.

The Petersen Museum offers an inspiring look though America Automotive and Hollywood History. However the building itself is an architectural triumph and worth visiting in itself.

Tickets to the Peterson Museum cost $16 for and and $11 for children. Tours of the vault cost an extra $25. But allow access to a unique tour of specially selected cars that are not exhibited in the museum.

Can museum in LA with teens

Paramount Pictures Studio Tour

As I research the Hollywood blockbusters that were filmed at Paramount Studios I got goose bumps. The Godfather, Breakfast at Tiffanys and Forest Gump to name but a few. Although this is a historical tour, kids and teens love movies so will be totally immersed in this experience.

The Paramount tour is at the top of my LA wish-list. Being the longest operating and only remaining studio in Hollywood. The biggest part of Hollywood history lies right here.

Paramount offer a series of tours that take you into a world of movies and drama. Including movie sets and prop rooms once graced by Hollywood greats such at Audrey Hepburn, Elvis and Al Pacino.

Tickets for the Paramount tour start at $60 dollars per person for a 2 hour studio buggy tour.

What to do with teens in LA

Santa Monica State Beach

You can’t visit LA and not visit Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica beach is the perfect location when on a California road trip with teens. If this does not scream cool, then nothing does. With 3.5 miles of maintained golden sands. You are guaranteed the ultimate LA beach experience.

Santa Monica beach is within walking distance of cool shops and restaurants, thus offering perfect vantage points for people watching.

Teens will revel in the cool factor of Santa Monica Beach, whilst younger children will love the freedom that spending time on the beach offers.

Visiting Santa Monica Beach With Teens

Getting From La to San Francisco

From LA we intend to take the 6 hour drive to San Francisco. If you intend to stop off along the way check out this fab post, it really inspires you to take it easy and make the journey part of your California adventure.

Breaking the journey up certainly makes traveling with teens last little bit less stressful. Although, teenagers do sleep A LOT so timing your journey right is key.

San Francisco, Our California Road Trip With Teens

This part of the trip was the choice of the teenagers in the family. There seems to be some allure to exploring a prison in the sea! Whist this is great news for us as its been on our travel wish list forever.

What To Do In San Francisco With Teens.

Visit The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, California, and is nearly two miles long, reaching across the Golden Gate where San Francisco Bay opens to meet the Pacific Ocean.

Designed by Chicago-based engineer named Joseph Strauss. Construction took place between 1933 and 1937, where construction crews braved treacherous conditions to connect the cities.

Thus also creating employment between the communities. Little did those brave workers know that their efforts would become an iconic part of the landscape and indeed history.

Should you want a walking tour, they are offered free by San Francisco City Guides, a non-profit organization associated with the San Francisco Public Library. For more information and a schedule of their walks, click here!

California Road Trip With Teens

Ride The San Francisco Cable Car

This is something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. All those Hollywood movies must have had an impact on me.

Single fares cost $7, however its advisable to purchase in advance. Here is a map of cable car sales locations through the city.

If you are staying for 3 days of more the City Pass offers you access to cable cars and buses, but also selected attractions and museums. At a cost of £80.23 for adults and £63.16 for children up to the age of 11, it’s great value if you make full use of its perks.

How to book the Cable Cars in San Fransisco

Visit The Sea lions At Pier 39 At The Fishermans Wharf

The sea lions are said to have started hanging out at pier 39 shortly after the 1989 earthquake. Now you can find 100s sometimes 1000s of barking sea lions hanging out at the pier.

Fortunately the sea lions are protected, thus providing a safe environment to stay.

The Sea Lions at Pier 39

Check Out Ghirardelli Square

A short walk from Fishermans Wharf, Ghirardelli Square is the ultimate dining location in San Francisco. Originally a chocolate factory established by Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli. Ghirardelli Square still to this day hosts a Ghirardelli store, but now offers a multitude of dining options.

family San Fransisco family road trip

Explore Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island has served as a civil war fort, a military prison and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in US history. It has also been the setting of many Hollywood blockbusters.

It’s only accessible by ferry, which departs at 30 minute intervals, the crossing takes 15 minutes. From the ferry port there is a 1/4 mile walk to the prison.

A day tour to Alcatraz cost $47.90 for adults and $32.40 for children. up to the age of 11. Booking are open 3 months in advance, and it’s advised that you book tickets early.

Visiting Alcatraz with teens

And there it is, our twin centre California wish list for our road trip with our teens. I hope you find it useful, all we have to do now is wait!

Disclaimer, I created this post in collaboration with Travel Planners. However, we have booked our trip, it is happening and I can’t wait!

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LA with teens, what to do on a Californian road trip with teenages and what to see in LA
What to do in San Francisco with Teenagers

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