Going on vacation to Southern California doesn’t have to break the bank. Anaheim, California, offers much more than just the family-favorite Disneyland, arguably the city’s most famous attraction. Which is great for families on a stricter traveler budget because Disneyland comes with a fairly substantial price tag of roughly $119 per ticket during its peak season.
Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of entertainment options that can be visited by families with kids of all ages and are free or very budget-friendly, if you’re willing to look for them. We’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of affordable activities in and around the city.
2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA 92806
Cost: Tickets from $10+, Kids under 3 are free and don’t require a ticket
[Source: Bryce Edwards/Flickr]
Enjoy “America’s favorite pastime” by catching a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game at Angel Stadium. The stadium is the fourth-oldest active MLB stadium and can seat more than 45,000 people. Besides the typical and tasty ballpark foods, your kids will love singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” cheering on the home team, getting players’ autographs after the game and who knows, they might even get lucky enough to catch a foul or home run ball!
2002 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Cost: $13-15 for adults, Kids under 12 are free
Located just 6 miles from Anaheim, Bowers Museum boasts more than 120,000 works of art from all over the world in its collection. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also features traveling exhibitions. Adults 18 and over will enjoy Thirsty Thursdays, on the first Thursday of the month, with live music, themed food and drinks, and hands-on art making. Bowers Museum also has Kidseum, a high-tech and interactive kids museum that lets children’s imaginations run while while they explore and learn about art, archaeology and world cultures.
Newport Beach, CA 92661
Take a trip to the California coast by visiting the iconic Balboa Pier on Newport Beach. All you need is a beach towel, some sunscreen, and a picnic lunch to have the makings of a perfect beach day. Rent a bike for only $10 a day at nearby bike rental shops, and tour the streets or catch a ferry to Balboa Island for only $1. Be sure to stick around to catch an incredible sunset in the evening. Your kids will love splashing in the ocean and building sand castles, and if they happen to tire of those, head to the harbor side and ride the old-fashioned carousel.
Yorba Regional Park
7600 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92807
Cost: $3-5 parking fee
[Source: Mike’s Birds/Flickr]
Get away from the bustle of the city by escaping to Yorba Regional Park. This park is next to the Santa Ana River and contains 4 sparkling lakes, creating the perfect setting for a family picnic on one of the 400 picnic tables. There are also a couple of playgrounds your children can get their energy out on. For families with older children, Wheel Fun Rentals offers bike, kayak, and paddle boat rentals to explore land or lake. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, try biking the 20-mile Santa Ana River Trail all the way to the ocean.
1238 S Beach Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92804
Cost: $17.95 per ticket, free parking
[Source: Jeremy Miles/Flickr]
While Adventure City is one of the smaller theme parks in California, and yes, your kids will probably tell you it’s no Disneyland, Adventure City still provides all the amusement park fun your family is looking for. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable to take your family to than Disneyland. The park is ideal for younger children, but adults and kids alike will appreciate the short wait in lines. If your toddler enjoyed the Crank ‘n’ Roll or your elementary-aged son loved the Rewind Racers ride, they can jump back in line and in no time will be all smiles riding it again. Along with the traditional amusement park rides, Adventure city also boasts a rock wall, arcade, and a petting farm, which is always a big hit with the kids.
3200 E Carpenter Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
Cost: Tickets from $7.99+
Camelot Golfland is home to the largest mini golf course in the country. However, the facility offers much more than just challenging mini golf courses. You and your kids can also race each other on the Fastcar Raceway, ride bumper boats, battle in laser tag, or play at the giant video game arcade. And to recharge after all that fun, get your family the totally kid-approved pepperoni pizza and cool off with an icee or shake. Camelot Golfland is an entertaining and very affordable option for any size family with kids.
2500 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Cost: Adults - $17.95, Kids (3-14) - $12.95
[Source: John Watson/Flickr]
Discovery Cube is a science museum with more than 100 hands-on exhibits and interactive programs. You and your kids can spend an afternoon learning about the science of hockey, getting educated about recycling, taking a simulated helicopter tour over Los Angeles, and seeing planet earth like you’ve never seen it before. We can guarantee you’ve never had this much fun learning! (Just don’t blame us if your kids don’t want to go back to their regular classroom after this visit.) Also, make sure you keep on the lookout for special events like Bubblefest or Rocket Launch.
To really be nice on your bank account, be sure to book an affordable hotel as your base to all of Anaheim’s attractions. Here are a few of our top picks for budget-friendly hotels in Anaheim, California:
1240 South Walnut, Anaheim, CA 92802
Phone: (714) 535-0300
2375 W Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801
Phone: (714) 774-7370
1108 North Harbor Boulevard, Santa Ana, CA 92703
Phone: (714) 554-1177