13 Outdoor Activities for Kids in Los Angeles

Let’s take all Los Angeles kids outside, engage them in some fun outdoor activities, and show places and things they may never learn indoors.

Last updated: April 28, 2024

Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
The best outdoor activities for Los Angeles kids

Top Outdoor Activities for Los Angeles Kids

In a big city like Los Angeles, kids have ample opportunities to pick up anything they possibly can. But trapped at endless music and dance classes, swimming and martial arts sessions, Los Angeles kids often spend less than an hour outdoors, doing things that children are supposed to do: run, jump, play ball, and explore things around them.

According to some studies, spending time in nature is essential to the healthy development of children. It reduces stress, increases creativity, helps battle attention-deficit disorders and develop critical thinking. This is just a tip of the iceberg of what nature and fun outdoor activities can do for Los Angeles kids.

So let’s not take it for granted. Let’s take our indoor kids outside and let them explore these outdoor places and activities in and around Los Angeles.

1. Enjoy a Change of Seasons at Descanso Gardens

Address: 1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

With two distinctive seasons and snow only 1-2 hours away from Los Angeles, speaking about letting your kids enjoy the change of seasons in the outdoor setting sounds like a big overstatement. And yet it’s not impossible. Home to lily ponds, the Japanese Garden with an arched footbridge across a narrow stream, and the skillfully arranged Rose Garden, Descanso Gardens is in the lead of showing Los Angeles kids the evolution of trees.

From barren trunks in winter to branches festooned with minute flowers in spring and covered with lush green crowns in summer only to be exchanged for a vibrant foliage in late fall, the park’s tree circle of life promises an outdoor adventure your Los Angeles kids will never get enough of.

Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Descanso Gardens. Photo by W K (unsplash) | Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles

2. Respect Other Cultures at the Japanese Garden

Address: 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys is one of the finest Asian sites in Los Angeles. It’s not only one of the best places to introduce your LA kids to the rich outdoor world, but also nurture in them respect to other cultures.

Garden’s tiny islands, curved bridges, soothing waterfalls, and a spacious teahouse at the far end of the large lake filled with recycled water will prompt little outdoor explorers to ask a lot of questions. So be ready to answer them or ask for help at the admission office.

Outdoor activities for Los Angeles kids - Roads and Destinations
Learn about Japanese culture at the Japanese Garden | Outdoor activities for Los Angeles kids

3. View Peacocks at Los Angeles County Arboretum

Address: 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

Along with different kinds of mini gardens, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden enriches your kid’s outdoor learning experiences with an opportunity to watch peacocks in their semi-natural environment.

More than 200 naturalized peafowl live in the Arboretum. Used to visitor’s attention, the peacocks showcase their opulent features in a leisurely manner, roaming freely mostly near the front of the park.

TIP: While the outdoor creatures don’t show any shyness around adults and kids, the Los Angeles County Arboretum asks its visitors to restrain from feeding the birds. Peacocks, especially male birds, can get aggressive. Give them enough space and observe them from a distance.

Viewing peacocks in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Los Angeles County Arboretum | Outdoor activities for LA kids

4. Let Your Kids Run Like Deer at Deane Dana Friendship Park

Address: 1805 W 9th St, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90732

Nestled in San Pedro, the Los Angeles Harbor Region, Deane Dana Friendship Park seems to fall behind when it comes to providing local kids with fun outdoor activities. But the first impression is not always right. Without exotic birds or lily ponds, the park entices with its green lawns, scenic ocean views, and hiking trails where children can run like deer.

5. Hike to Eaton Canyon Falls

Address: 1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107

The Eaton Canyon Natural Center is ready to impress Los Angeles kids with a rather rare outdoor activity, a hike to Eaton Canyon Falls. The year-round waterfall is 40 feet tall and sits less than 2 miles away from the trailhead.

The hike is moderately challenging. While the first part of the trail is flat and easy, a little bit of rock scrambling is required once the path runs into the woods. Yet nothing is too hard even for non-outdoorsy LA kids.

TIP: Brings lots of water and an extra pair of shoes. In spring when the waterfall is at its peak flow, the water can flood a part of the trail.

Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
When Eaton Canyon Falls looks like a trickle | Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles

6. Explore the Undersea World at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Not really an outdoor place for kids to explore in the Los Angeles area, the Aquarium of the Pacific introduces the little adventurers to the miraculous undersea world. From observing thousands of representatives of marine life to holding rainbow lorikeets and touching baby sharks, the kids won’t even notice that it’s an indoor “outdoor” adventure.

7. Explore the Animal World at Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Address: 5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

About the terrestrial animal’s world, the outdoor explorers learn at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Devote a full day (better yet two) to this place and make sure your kids find their way to such zoo’s stars as grey elephants, a shade-loving tiger, snack-demanding giraffes, oblivious zebras, and many others.

Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Los Angeles Zoo | Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles

8. Do All Outdoors-Related Things at Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park

Address: 6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406\

Kids have no end of fun outdoor adventures in Lake Balboa Park, nestled in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. From running to jogging, bicycling, ball playing, and boat rowing, this place is every nature lover’s paradise. Little outdoor enthusiasts who love animals are welcome to spy on squirrels and botta’s pocket gophers.

TIP: Feeding wild birds and animals in Lake Balboa Park is not allowed.

9. Watch Deer at King Gillette Ranch

Address: 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA 91302

If small animals are not of interest to your nature-loving kids, take them to King Gillette Ranch in the western part of Los Angeles. Yet instruct them to be quiet to not scare mule deer and not attract coyotes and bobcats.

10. Check out Tide Pools at Leo Carrillo State Park

Address: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Leo Carrillo State Park is one of the best beaches in Malibu that offers LA kids plenty of fun outdoor things to do and explore during low tide when many tide pools and their inhabitants are exposed. And the living creatures they find here surprise and often puzzle not only the little explorers, but also their parents.

So ditch your book or phone and join your outdoor adventurers in their search of sea hares, sea stars, snails, mussels, barnacles, limpets, urchins, and crabs.

Leo Carrillo Beach | Roads and Destinations
Leo Carrillo Beach | Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles

11. Spot Dolphins from Point Dume State Beach

Address: Cliffside Dr and Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265

On top of California super bloom, panoramic views, and easy trails, Point Dume allows LA kids to observe dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The large marine mammals can be spotted off California shore from December to May when they migrate from Alaska to their feeding locations in Baja California and then back to the Last Frontier. Dolphins are frequent visitors of the coastal waters throughout the year.

TIP: If you want to expose your outdoor explorers to more places with excellent opportunities to observe wildlife near Los Angeles, check out our guide to the best destinations to see marine animals along the California coast.

12. Feed Swans at the Meditation Gardens at Lake Shrine

Address: 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Don’t let the words Meditation Garden at Lake Shrine scare you away. While you are indeed asked to talk quietly, this little gem in the Malibu area welcomes the kids. Moreover, it bestows on them small paper bags with special food for gardens’ special residents, such as vibrant koi fish, sun-loving turtles, and occasional guests, swans and ducks.

13. Admire Wildflowers at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Address: 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA 93536

From mid-March to mid-April, the Antelope Valley calls all Los Angeles kids and their parents to explore endless fields dotted with orange California poppies.

The place is located a little bit farther away, about 1 hour 30 minutes north of Los Angeles. But the views of the seasonal vibrant “seas” are worth it.

Antelope Valley | Roads and Destinations
Antelope Valley | Outdoor activities for kids in Los Angeles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.