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The Best Things for Families in Orange County

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There are so many kid-friendly activities in Orange County California and I have a list of some of the best that you can do with families below!

10 Things to do in Southern California with kids that aren't Disney

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There’s no doubt that Southern California is one of my family’s favorite vacation destinations.

One of the reasons that I love it so much is that there is so much to do. Even if you visit frequently, you can have a different experience each time.

Snoopy meet and greet Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

I am going to share all of the fun things we did and yummy things we ate on our recent visit to Buena Park, California!

Family Activities in Orange County

John’s Incredible Pizza

John's Incredible Pizza Buena Park Fun Card

John’s Incredible Pizza is located at Buena Park Downtown which is a large shopping mall, a few blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm.

A family eating pizza John's Incredible Pizza Buena Park

They offer an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, arcade games, and rides and is one of the best family-friendly things in the area.

My boys had so much fun at John’s Incredible Pizza, it was hard to get them to come back to the hotel to go to bed!

A boy with prizes he won at John's Incredible Pizza

If you have the chance to play there, make sure to try the churro donuts!

Knott’s Berry Farm

Entrance to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park California

I love Knott’s Berry Farm amusement parks and it is a popular spot for families in Orange County! My all-time favorite roller coaster, Ghost Rider, can be found in this fun theme park.

It is the longest and fastest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast. All I can do is laugh the whole time I’m riding it!

I grew up coming to this park with my family and am happy that my kids love it as much as I do.

Ghost Rider Roller Coaster at Knott's Berry Farm

Thrill Rides

My husband and older boys LOVE thrill rides and roller coasters like Xcelerator The Ride®La Revolucion, Silver Bullet, and Montezooma’s Revenge.

Xcelerator Roller Coaster Knott's Berry Farm Buena Park Caliornia

Kids Rides

Young kids will love exploring Camp Snoopy. His favorite adventures were Linus LauncherCamp Bus, and Rocky Mountain Trucking Company

Linus Launcher in Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California

Family Rides

I also love that Knott’s Berry Farm has attractions and shows that our family could experience all together

Calico Railroad at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park

Calico Railroad, which is an authentic Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge train used in the early 1900s, is a great attraction for everyone..

It’s fun to ride around the theme park, and you might even meet a couple of cowboys on your journey!

Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars was another favorite. It is a classic bumper cars ride that will have you twisting and turning all over the place.

Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm

The Timber Mountain Log Ride has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. There is nothing more exhilarating than making the final drop and creating a giant splash!

If you happen to visit during the summer, be sure to check out Knott’s Soak City Water Park as well!

Knott’s Berry Farm Dining

Fire roasted corn on the cob at Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm offers a couple of different dining passes for their guests. The All-Day Dining and the Single Meal Deal.

Fireman's Brigade BBQ at Knott's Berry Farm

Our family had the Single Meal Deal for lunch and we choose to redeem it at Fireman’s BBQ located in the heart of Ghost Town.

Ribs, Corn on the Cob, and Boysenberry Punch at Knott's Berry Farm

I definitely recommend the Ribs, Fire Roasted Corn on the Cob, and the Boysenberry Punch. Don’t forget to check out the famous Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant near the entrance to the park, if you get the chance.

Pirates Dinner Adventure

Pirate's Dinner Adventure Buena Park California

The Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, California can be classified as an attraction and a restaurant in one.

When entering the adventure, you are immediately immersed in everything pirates.

Kids and a pirate at Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park California

From the pre-show activities, to the entertainment, and dining, there is no way your entire family won’t have a great time!

What’s for Dinner?

Inside the theater, there is a large replica of a pirate ship complete with a lagoon surrounding the stage.

Red flag from Pirate's Dinner Adventure

When you are assigned your seat for dinner, you are seated in a section and given a color. 

Each person is given a flag that represents your pirate and color.

Two Kids at Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, California

Dinner consists of a three course meal. A salad or soup to start, a chicken and shrimp entree for the main course, and chocolate cake for dessert.

My kids were given a hamburger slider, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and fruit.

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Show

The show we got to see was the Christmas version. Santa is kidnapped by bad pirates and it is up to the other pirates to save him, Mrs. Claus, and Christmas!

Santa, Mrs. Claus, with Pirates for the dinner show

The pirates do a great job involving the audience as well. I was able to toss little basketballs up to our pirate so he could try to win a challenge.

Kids helping in the show at Pirate's Dinner Adventure Buena Park, California

My son was chosen to ride in a boat around the stage while another pirate sat in his seat and began to eat his dinner. It was hilarious!

Sign for Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, California

To check out available dates, times, prices, and to purchase tickets, visit

Ralph B Clark Regional Park – Interpretive Center

Ralph B Clark Regional Park in Southern California

If you’re looking for a place to relax and be active at the same time, Ralph B Clark Regional Park is a great place to visit!

Boys on a bridge atRalph B Clark Regional Park

I have three energetic little boys who loved taking a break and getting a little fresh air during our visit to Southern California.

Fishing atRalph B Clark Regional Park

There is truly something for everyone at this park from hiking and biking trails, fishing, tennis, baseball, and volleyball courts to play grounds, shaded picnic tables, and lots of open space that my boys used to play soccer.

Playground atRalph B Clark Regional Park in Southern California

For more information and driving directions, visit

A boy on a toy arch atRalph B Clark Regional Park in Southern California

Big Air Buena Park

Big Air Buena Park entrance sign

My family LOVED Big Air Buena Park! I knew my boys were going to love it, but I didn’t know how much fun my husband and I were going to have as well.

Jump Socks from Big Air Buena Park

Big Air is located at Buena Park Downtown mall and is not just an average trampoline park. Here are some of the fun things you can experience:

Galactic Gladiators Battle Beam at Big Air Buena Park
  • Zero-Gravity Court
  • Martian Mountain
  • Space Slam (the favorite of my boys)
  • Haley’s Dodge-It
  • The Launch Pad
  • The Big Bull (my husband’s favorite)
  • Galactic Gladiators Battle Beam (my favorite and a great way to get out some aggression)
  • Lil’ Air which includes fun-size versions of the bigger attractions specifically for little ones
Foam Pit at Big Air Buena Park

Medieval Times

Medieval Times is also one of those attraction/dinner experiences in one and is a great experience for the whole family.

Medieval Times Dinner Show in Buena Park California

Before the Show

Before the dinner show begins, you have the opportunity to dress up and have a medieval-style photo taken of your family.

Two kids in crowns for the Medieval Times dinner show in Buena Park California

You will then enter the lobby where you may purchase drinks and souvenirs that can be used during the show.

Indoor Stables at Medieval Times in Buena Park California

You can also take a peek at the horses that are used in the show as they prepare for their performance in the indoor stables.

We had the best time seeing these majestic animals up close!

The Show

Medieval Times Dinner Show in Buena Park California

You will be seated in a section that is assigned a color, similar to the Pirates Dinner Adventure. We were in the red section and cheered for the Red Knight.

Knights on Horses at Medieval Times in Buena Park California

The Knights take turns showing off their skills in jousting competitions and hand-to-hand sword fights and you will see amazing tricks performed by the talented horses.

Medieval Times Dinner

Menu for Medieval Times

Our three-course meal consisted of tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, herb-basted potato, garlic bread, sweet buttered corn on the cob, and ice cream for dessert.

Roast Chicken from Medieval Times

More Orange County Activities:

Read my Disneyland Resort tips and tricks here. Heading to San Diego? Find out the Best things for kids in San Diego here.

Where to Eat in Southern California

Amber Waves Restaurant

Amber Waves Restaurant in Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

Amber Waves Restaurant and Bar is located inside of Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. They are a full service restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast buffet at Amber Waves Restaurant in Southern California

We were treated to the breakfast buffet before our day at Knott’s Berry Farm and it was delicious! There were a variety of offerings including yogurt with assorted toppings, pastries, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy

Pastry from Amber Waves Restaurant inside Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

Kids under 11 eat free with a paying adult each day for lunch and dinner which can definitely be a big savings.

Snoopy greeting guests at Amber Waves Restaurant in Buena Park California

And Snoopy greets guests at the restaurant nightly from 6:00 – 6:30 and 7:00 – 7:30. He even made an appearance while we ate breakfast!

Porto’s Bakery & Cafe

Porto's Bakery and Cafe in Buena Park California

I don’t know how I have never been to Porto’s Bakery & Cafe before! It is definitely a destination all by itself.

Menu for Porto's Bakery & Cafe in Buena Park, California

The Buena Park location is huge and can be a little overwhelming at first. Luckily, there is a nice employee at the entrance who is ready to direct you where you need to go.

Bakery area of Porto's Bakery & Cafe in Buena Park, California

We actually ate at Porto’s twice on our trip to Southern California. Once for breakfast and again for dinner. Both experiences were amazing and we found it the perfect place to grab a bite to eat with kids.

Cuban French Toast from Porto's Bakery & Cafe

For breakfast we sampled raspberry cheesecake, carrot cake, apple strudel, and Torrejas (Cuban Style French Toast) and it was all amazing!

Cafe area of Porto's Bakery in Buena Park California

For dinner, my Italian Sub Sandwhich was delicious, but I definitely had my eye on the Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup in a bread bowl that my husband was eating!

Take home box from Porto's Bakery & Cafe


Portillo’s is actually one of my favorite dining spots in Southern California!

Portillo's in Buena Park California

They are a Chicago-style restaurant that is famous for their hot dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches. I have had both and they are delicious!

Dining area of Portillo's in Southern California

My meat-loving 10-year-old son opted to get a 1/2 rack of ribs and they definitely did not disappoint! The portion is huge and their sauce is amazing.

A boy who ate Ribs at Portillo's in Buena Park California

No trip to Portillo’s is complete without a slice of their decadent chocolate cake. But, my favorite way to enjoy the cake is to order a large Chocolate Cake Shake.

Portillo's Dog hot dog from Portillo's in Southern California

The Chocolate Cake Shake is exactly what it sounds like. A milkshake with an actual slice of chocolate cake shake mixed in.

Chocolate Cake Shake from Portillo's in Buena Park California

The best part? Sometimes there are big chunks of cake that you find in the ice cream. It’s like a delicious surprise!

Menu from Portillo's in Buena Park California

85°C Bakery Cafe

We visited 85°C Bakery Cafe for breakfast on our trip and loved everything about it!

To go box from 85 C Bakery where to eat in Southern California

The goal of 85°C Bakery Cafe is to provide 5-star quality desserts at affordable prices.

Dessert Case from 85C Bakery in California

I can assure you that they are reaching this goal based on the delicious chocolate strawberry cake I shared with my 5-year-old.

Chocolate Strawberry Cake from 85C Bakery where to eat in Southern California

We also enjoyed a variety of other pastries as well including the Caramel Danish, and Apple Almond Danish.

Mango danish from 85C Bakery where to eat in Southern California

If you’re looking to pick up something sweet for breakfast, or any time of the day, I definitely recommend you stop by 85°C Bakery Cafe.

Read about all of my favorite places to eat in Orange County here.

Where to Stay in Southern California

Front Desk of Knott's Berry Farm Hotel where to stay in Southern California

Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel

We loved our stay at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. It is just a few steps away from Knott’s Berry Farm theme park and is very large and spacious.

Lobby of Knott's Berry Farm Hotel Where to stay in Southern California

It was so nice to wake up in the morning, grab a quick breakfast, and walk for five minutes to our adventures at the park!

Hotel Rooms

Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel has 5 room options to choose from. That makes it easy to find a space that will work for your family.

Camp Snoopy Room Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

Camp Snoopy Two Queen

  • Personal Visit From Snoopy to tuck kids into bed
  • Special Snoopy-themed decorations
  • 300 Square Feet
  • Two Queen Size Beds
  • Maximum Occupancy: 4
  • Cable TV
  • Wi-Fi
  • In-Room Safe

Single Queen

  • 280 Square Feet
  • One Queen Size Bed
  • Maximum Occupancy:2
  • Cable TV
  • Wi-Fi
  • In-Room Safe
Pull out couch oversize queen room Knott's Berry Farm Hote

Single King

  • 300 Square Feet
  • One King Size Bed
  • Sleeper Chair
  • Maximum Occupancy: 3
  • Cable TV 
  • Wi-Fi
  • In-Room Safe

Oversized – Two Queen

  • 400 Square Feet
  • Two Queen Beds
  • Sleeper Sofa
  • Maximum Occupancy: 6
  • Cable TV
  • Wi-Fi
  • In-Room Safe
  • Wet Bar
  • Mini Refrigerator
Two Queen Beds Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

Standard Queen

  • 300 Square Feet
  • Two Queen Beds 
  • Maximum Occupancy: 4
  • Cable TV
  • Wi-Fi
  • In-Room Safe
Splash pad pool at Knott's Berry Farm Hotel

Hotel Amenities

  • Pool
  • Splash Pad
  • Complimentary Shuttle to Disneyland
  • Spa
  • Lighted Basketball Court
  • Lighted Tennis Courts
  • Fitness Center
Knott's Berry Farm Hotel Complimentary Shuttle to Disneyland

For more information and to book your stay visit online Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel HERE.

More Places to Stay:

I hope this post gives you plenty of ideas of things to do in Southern California with kids! Have a fun trip!

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