By Spencer Spellman, Blog Contributor
Spring break may just be the most difficult of family vacations to plan. Winter break is often dictated by family engagements, while summer break is often the height of travel season, if for no other reason that it usually produces the best weather. Spring break, on the other hand, can be a little bit more unpredictable in the way of weather, crowds, and other factors. Nonetheless, there are some be-all spring break destinations in America that can bring all of the perks and sentiment of summer, but during spring. And few places seem to deliver for spring break like Los Angeles, California does. So today we share seven of the best reasons to travel to Los Angeles for spring break.
The weather. Perhaps the biggest upside to a Southern California spring break is the weather, which with the exception of Florida, is unparalleled compared to the rest of America. While many destinations are still seeing snowfalls during March and April, Los Angeles is typically seeing 70-degree days, and on warmer occasions, 80-degree days. Evening temperatures will still be cool, especially at the beach, but you can expect warmer temperatures the further inland you stay in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles beaches. Warmer weather means warmer beaches! While it’s too cool to hit the beach in most states for spring break, it’s becoming prime beach weather in Los Angeles, where you have 20-plus beaches to choose from. Not to mention that the spring months typically means smaller beach crowds in L.A. Most people probably think of the likes of Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice when they think of L.A. beaches, but the southern portion of Los Angeles County, dubbed the “South Bay,” features great, low-key beach towns that includes Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beach. For a unique Los Angeles beach experience, spend the afternoon at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey, and then grab one of the fire pits for a twilight beach bonfire. BYOS’mores.
The theme parks. We’d be remiss to talk spring break in Los Angeles and not mention Disneyland, one of the busiest, most popular theme parks in the world. Located just 30 miles south of Los Angeles, Disneyland and the adjacent California Adventure Park can be done on a day trip from Los Angeles, though we recommend getting there when it opens. Additionally, do you homework ahead of time, such as planning on a FastPass, since mid-March through mid-April is historically one of the busiest times of year. Beyond Disneyland, the Greater Los Angeles area is home to a number of other great parks, such as Legoland (further south in Carlsbad) and Knott’s Berry Farm. In Los Angeles itself, there’s Universal Studios Hollywood.
Major League Baseball Opening Day. Sure, you can go to Major League Baseball Opening Day in a lot of destinations around America, but few actually feel like a proper MLB game day like Southern California. It’s not unusual to be in the 70s or 80s during the first week of April for Major League Baseball Opening Day. Furthermore, you have options in Southern California, with the Los Angeles Dodgers (which recently added a kids playground) right in the heart of L.A., or if you want to take a road trip, the Anaheim Angels in Orange County, and further afield, the Padres in San Diego. These are often the most popular games of the season, however, so get your tickets in advance.
Surf in the morning, ski in the afternoon. Los Angeles is a rare place where you can surf in the morning and ski or snowboard (and even hike) in the afternoon. A number of Los Angeles’ beaches, including those in Malibu and the South Bay, offer surf lessons and surfboard rentals daily. And just a couple hours east is Bear Mountain, which is arguably the best place to go skiing and snowboarding in Southern California, especially this year, when it’s seen a number of snowstorms during an El Niño year in California. However, traveling with kids, you may want to just surf one day, and ski another.
Urban outdoor adventures. Say what you will about traffic in Los Angeles, but one of the city’s best strengths is the accessibility to the outdoors (see above). What could take hours to access from many cities takes mere minutes in Los Angeles. If you’re staying in Hollywood, for example, you could just about walk to Runyon Canyon, one of the most popular hiking trails in Los Angeles, or Griffith Park, which has more than 50 miles of trails, and is particularly popular with kids because of Fern Dell Nature Center and the Griffith Observatory. The west side of Los Angeles has the Marvin Braude Trail, also known as The Strand, which is a 22-mile paved path that runs parallel to a number of the best beaches in L.A. It’s along many of these beaches, too, where you can easily rent bicycles, surfboards, paddleboards, kayaks, and other equipment.
Outdoor movies. This is Tinseltown after all. While drive-in and outdoor movie theaters are a thing of the past in many places, in Los Angeles they are thriving, located throughout the city. This ranges from Pacific Theatres Vineland Drive-In on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where you can bring in your own food and enjoy double features, to Street Food Cinema, a mash-up of live music, street food, and outdoor movies, which typically begins late in spring. If you and your family prefers the more modern-day way of viewing movies, Los Angeles specializes in state-of-the-art movie theaters, including a number of ArcLight multiplexes and iPic, a luxury cinema with a couple locations.
Where to stay? There is no need to book a room at a crowded or over-priced L.A. hotel. Upgrade to a whole home. HomeAway.com has more than 4,600 rentals to choose from in the Los Angeles area. Staying in a vacation rental provides superior value over hotels, enabling groups and families to spend less and enjoy more space and privacy for a truly memorable experience.