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25 Fun Things to do in Southern California

Beautiful Laguna Beach, California

Southern California is one of my favorite year-round vacation destinations. Beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and plenty of waterfront attractions place it high on my list for summer fun and recreation. Offering a plethora of fun, scenic, and more often than not, completely free things to do, a trip to Southern California should be added to everyone’s bucket list.

The gorgeous Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve in San Diego

The gorgeous Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve in San Diego

With so many interesting things to do, you will never be bored no matter how many times you visit. Gorgeous sandy beaches, endless fitness opportunities, fun tourist attractions, gorgeous waterfront activities, and cultural attractions are just some of the items that should comprise your Southern California to-do list. Enjoy the suggested activities/attractions and feel free to share some of your personal favorites in the comments below.

in no particular order…

25 Fun Things to do in Southern California!

Beautiful La Jolla Cove in San Diego.

Beautiful La Jolla Cove in San Diego.

1. Take a ride along “The Strand” bicycle path

22 miles of easy riding along Southern California’s gorgeous coastline awaits you on one of the best paved bicycle trails in the country. Along the route, you will pass by numerous beautiful beach towns, each with their own unique look and attractions.

Never ending views of the coast, plenty of fun stops along the way, and an awesome workout all rolled into one – who could ask for more?! Highlights along The Strand route include the Manhattan Beach Pier, Venice Beach, and the Santa Monica Pier.  To date the most fun bike path I have ever experienced! A must do on any visit to Southern California!

Address: Torrance Beach to Will Rogers State Beach
More info on the Marvin Braude Bike Path


The Strand bike path

Manhattan Beach Pier - California

The start of the Strand bike path in Southern California

2. Hike Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon is one of my favorite place to hike in Southern California. The views of Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the surrounding mountains are nothing short of amazing. You will want to bring your camera for this one! If you visit on a weekday, it really is a quiet and enjoyable place (weekends are another story!).  Take a break from the beaches and spend a perfect summer afternoon enjoying the incredible views, while also getting in an energizing workout. If you are up for a challenge, running along the hills here really kicks your butt (one of my favorite places for race training!). For a relaxing alternative, free yoga is offered daily – check the schedule for session times!

Address: 2001 N Fuller Ave Los Angeles, CA 90046
More info on Runyon Canyon

Hiking Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles, Calfornia

The Hollywood sign seen from a trail at Runyon Canyon

A view of the LA skyline from Runyon Canyon

A bit smoggy, nevertheless, a nice view of the LA skyline.


    • Robin Reavis Dall
    • January 26, 2019  at  10:22 AM

    Thank you for this list of things to do in California, everyone knows about the advertised glamour of California such as Disneyland, but you added things that I would not have otherwise thought of.

    • Annika
    • January 15, 2019  at  6:46 PM

    This is some awesome information!

    I’m only 11, and my mom just a job offer for her DREAM JOB in Fresno, California. I wasn’t too thrilled to leave home until I found out how many amazing places there are there. Can’t wait to start living there in a month. And again, Thank You!!

  1. thanks! Agreed -a great place for anything outdoors related!

  2. Great share. Beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and plenty of waterfront attractions place it high on the list for summer fun and recreation. It was a great read. 🙂

  3. Your welcome – glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Thank you for the list! We regularly update our visitors with the latest things to do in So Cal.

  5. Thank you. Yes, there are endless things to do, especially if you are into hiking and beach activities.

  6. Great post. Southern California is really a best place for a weekend getaways. You have shared such an informative post regarding the fun things to do in SoCal.

  7. Thank you! Hope you have a great time – it’s one of the best zoos in the country 🙂

    • Saul
    • December 14, 2017  at  5:44 PM

    Awesome list! I live in Costa Mesa and taking my kids to the San Diego Zoo!

  8. It’s usually pretty mild – in the 60’s or so on the coast and a bit warmer inland.

    • Heather Morrison
    • November 30, 2017  at  9:17 AM

    Just curious as to what the weather is typically like in January? Thanks!

  9. Thanks for the suggestion! I will have to check it out on my next visit.

    • Tom Miller
    • October 22, 2017  at  2:21 PM

    Visit the Huntington Library. Beautiful Gardens, several art museums (Blue boy).

  10. I don’t even understand how I stopped up here, but I assumed
    this post used to be good. I don’t understand who you
    are however certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who are not already.

    • Aliza Amir
    • August 3, 2017  at  12:11 PM

    Loved your suggestions. I will be in southern CA for the last 2 weeks of December. Do you have other suggestions for the winter, especially avoiding the snow? I also prefer history, scenery and art – no theme parks or shopping. Thanks- you really seem like an expert

  11. Thanks for the feedback – I am glad that the info was able to help you out 🙂

  12. Good info and I know this is an old post, but still helpful.

  13. Thanks for the suggestion – haven’t been out that way much! I’ll try to get out to that area on my next trip!

    • Tammy Vu
    • February 21, 2017  at  1:33 PM

    This is a decent list of things to do, however you forgot to mention Costa Mesa! As with Los Angeles, Costa Mesa has a plethora of things to do for families and romantic getaways.

    • Socrates
    • February 20, 2017  at  5:56 PM

    Broad Museum in DTLA.

  14. Thanks! There are so many beautiful places in Southern California – it is hard to narrow down the list. I only included the coastal OC cities because I prefer the beach atmosphere. I hope to be taking a trip to San Diego sometime in the next year 🙂

    • Lee
    • July 22, 2014  at  11:19 PM

    Good list of beach things.. And I good list for LA. I was confused because I read it for “Southern California” not “Los Angeles County and a glimpse of Huntington Beach” what about Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County? Just confused by the title that’s all.

  15. Thanks for the feedback. I tried to include a bit of everything that I personally enjoyed in the area. I would love to explore some more trails in the mountains, especially Santa Monica.

    • Paul Warburg
    • March 3, 2014  at  10:17 PM

    This was a fairly decent list with a few interesting things, however, what about things to do that don’t necessarily involve the beach? I am disappointed that I didn’t see places like Medieval Times, or even Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland. Also there is much to do in the mountains of Southern California.

    However, if you are the kind of person who loves the beach and that kind of lifestyle, this would be a good list.

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