Have You Taken Your Kids to One of These 40 Must-Visit California Destinations?

Yes, Disneyland made the cut … but there’s so much more.

For my mom, the yearly summer pilgrimage was to King’s Beach in Lake Tahoe. For my uncle, it was collecting shells on the sandy coast of San Clemente. My best friend never went a summer without a visit to Balboa Island. For any kid that grew up in California, summer was the best time to explore the state with your folks, be it a tried-and-true destination or something fun and new. But what are today’s must-visit places in the Golden State for young people? Disneyland, sure. But there are plenty of natural wonders, museums and hidden gems to explore. SF Gate put together a list of 40 spots that every kid should experience at some point. Here are a few of our favorites:

Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino

Highlights of this institution established by railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington include letters and manuscripts by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln; Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy”; Thomas Lawrence’s “Pinkie”; and the largest Chinese garden outside China.

Avenue of the Giants 

The scenic State Route 254, running through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, is lined with towering trees. Along the way in Leggett, you can pay to drive through the Chandelier Tree.

California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento

Learn the stories of the dozens of beautifully restored trains housed in this museum.

California Missions

The 230-year-old San Juan Capistrano is especially well-preserved and the surrounding gardens are beautiful.

Death Valley National Park

Nighttime is when the desert wakes up. Go for a moonlit walk in the sand dunes and you might see kangaroo rats and kit fox.

Read more about all 40 must-see kid faves here.

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