Although in LA County we are under orders to wear face masks outside, over the past week, a lot has opened for Angelinos to start enjoying more outdoor activities. Our utmost priority right now is safety. But many are ready for a change of scenery from our neighborhood walks. And if you have children, you have also been trying to find ways to keep your kids active. The good news is, if we are safe and vigilant, we can venture out and get some much needed mental clarity in nature.
Los Angeles County has rolled out a five-stage roadmap to relax restrictions from Stay-At-Home orders. We are now in Phase 2. Wherever you are going in LA County, you must maintain a social distance and wear face masks. Check specifics for each location, however, many require face masks for children older than two. Here’s everything to do in Los Angeles with your kids right now!
South Coast Botanic Garden (Palos Verdes)
South Coast Botanic Garden, which is located in the beautiful Palos Verdes Hills, is now open by reservation. A neighbor of mine visited last week and said there is plenty of room to stroll and enjoy the grounds without being near others. I immediately made an appointment for our family visit.
Visiting the Botanic Garden earlier this year
Los Angeles Arboretum (Arcadia)
The Los Angeles Arboretum is open to the public with advanced tickets to preserve social distancing. This expansive 127 acres in the foothills is marked by wide roads, which makes it easier to stay apart from other visitors. Amazingly, the Arboretum has managed to stay open during the stay at home orders. They are one of the few gardens in the nation that has stayed open and are a model to botanic gardens.
The Arboretum is known for its famous peacocks who are currently strutting, posing and gawking around the gardens during peacock mating season. I can’t wait to take the kids to see the peacocks against the backdrop of California poppies, irises and huge trees. All visitors, including members, must book advance reservations.
Descanso Gardens (La Cañada Flintridge)
The flowers are blooming at Descanso Gardens and they are open to visitors. Roses, azaleas, camellias, irises and various California wildflowers are all blooming in May. Limited tickets for non-members are released weekly on Tuesday’s at 10:00 am in an effort to keep capacity at or below 30%. Members can enter without tickets.
Descanso is filled with lush gardens, woods and trails to explore. I visited Descanso Gardens with a few close friends with kids in February. Even with the kids, I still felt zen walking around the beautiful grounds. The kids had a ball running around and discovering new things.
Griffith Park (Los Angeles)
Griffith Park is known as one of the best locations in Los Angeles for children and families. Located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America. The observatory, Travel Town, train rides, pony rides and merry-go-round may be closed, but there is lots of open space to explore. Griffith Park alsso has many hiking trails that are perfect for families. Check out a few recommendations below.
Underwood Family Farms (Moorpark and Somis)
Come to Underwood Family Farms’ to enjoy wide-open space and “Pick Your Own” produce while maintaining social distance. You may pick a variety of fruits and vegetables and enjoy the grounds. As with many locations, tickets are required for entry. Two rows of distance between groups while picking is required. However, weekdays are easier for social distancing. The animal center is currently closed, but tractor-drawn wagon rides to the fields are included with admission.
LA County Beaches are now open to recreational use. This means you can walk, run, swim, surf, swim, kayak, paddleboard and body surf. Beaches are also open (with many restrictions) in Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties. To curb numbers, most beach parking lots are closed in an effort to encourage people to stay within their own walking neighborhoods. LA County’s piers and beach bike paths are also closed. Here is a helpful list to keep track of beach restrictions.
We live close to the beach and I drove by Redondo and Torrance Beaches on Saturday. It was busy. If possible, I recommend going during the week.
Many of us have been dreaming of walking down a lush green trail and feeling lost in nature. Thankfully, LA County hiking trails are now open, subject to certain restrictions. Forest officials will also begin gradually reopening campgrounds, picnic areas and other “developed recreation” sites that have been closed.
Here are a few trails that are good for families and kids:
- Kenneth Hahn State Recreational Area (Los Angeles) – Waterfall Bowl or Trail Loop
- Eaten Canyon Natural Area (Pasadena)
- Aliso & Wood Canyons and Wilderness Park (Laguna Nigel)
- Griffith Park (Los Angeles) – Charlie Turner Trail or Fern Canyon Trail
My favorite bay fig tree at South Coast Botanic Garden