There’s something for everyone in sunny Los Angeles, discovers Karla Courtney, who road-tests roller-coasters and ice-cream sandwiches on the perfect family trip.

Hit the sand

Santa Monica and Venice beaches top most sunseekers’ lists. They’re definitely worth visiting – no kid can resist the Santa Monica Pier. But if you travel a bit further to El Matador State Beach (32350 El Matador Beach Road, Malibu), you’ll be rewarded with a relatively remote spot outside the city stretch with spectacular rock formations. Have lunch at Malibu Seafood, which will entice the kids with fresh seafood options.

Grab a treat

You’ll know you’ve found Diddy Riese Cookies when you spot the large queue. It’s worth it, though – for just $US2.50, you can build your own ice-cream sandwich.

Shop and play

The Grove is an outdoor shopping mall where the main attractions for kids are an elaborate dancing fountain and a 1950s-style trolley that offers free rides between the mall and the neighbouring Original Farmers Market. The mall is home to premium shops selling items for kids, including Barneys New York, Pottery Barn Kids and J.Crew. There’s also American Girl Place with a café and an Art Deco-style movie theatre.

Go for a ride (or 10)

No family trip to LA is complete without an amusement park experience. The obvious ones are Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland and Legoland California. Other attractions include Knott’s Berry Farm, a park created by a farming couple to support the popularity of Cordelia Knott’s home cooking, and Six Flags Magic Mountain, the top choice for roller-coaster thrillseekers.

Spend a day at the museum

There’s an installation of 202 restored early-20th-century streetlights outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts. Running through it will be enough to entertain the kids for a couple of hours. If you manage to convince them to go inside, entry is free for under-17s (under-13s must be accompanied by an adult). The adjacent La Brea Tar Pits & Museum features fossils from the Ice Age. 

Where to stay

Centrally located in West Hollywood, Le Parc Suite Hotel and the Chamberlain West Hollywood have large rooms and are within walking distance of restaurants and cafés.

SEE ALSO: Read Before You Leave – Los Angeles

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