If you’re looking for a quaint, small-town adventure, visit Temecula with kids! Known for its charming downtown (Old Town), beautiful hot air balloon rides, and idyllic weather, this family-friendly city is nestled in picturesque California wine country. But that’s just the beginning! A diverse mix of family-friendly activities and unique businesses make Temecula a getaway you will want to have on repeat. Plus, for an extended adventure, Temecula Valley is also located approximately 60 minutes from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Springs, and 90 minutes from Los Angeles. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Temecula with kids, where to stay in Temecula for families, and more, grab a glass and join me in toasting one of our favorite family-friendly destinations. Here’s how to make the most of your whirlwind trip to Temecula!
Things to Do in Temecula with Kids
From charming shops to seasonal berry-picking and wine tasting, Temecula is a delightful escape for families and couples alike. In case you’re wondering about the best things to do in Temecula for families, keep reading to learn more!
Take a Hot-Air Balloon Adventure
One of the best things to do in Temecula with kids is to take a hot-air balloon ride! Families can soar over stunning vineyards and rolling hills of Temecula Valley on a one-of-a-kind hot-air balloon experience. This is an early (very early) morning adventure and is best for families with older children who aren’t afraid of heights. Multiple local tour companies arrange hot air balloon rides, including private options. Flights are available year-round (at sunrise only) due to afternoon and evening winds. Usually, they’re between 60–75 minutes. Don’t forget your camera to snap that perfect family photo!
Grab Breakfast at Toast
Toast is a must when visiting Temecula with kids! With locations in Temecula and neighboring Murrieta, this family-friendly restaurant serves up a variety of made-from-scratch dishes, local coffees & teas, and other delicacies. They also have a great kids’ menu with all the usual options, from french toast to pancakes, grilled cheese, etc. Families can expect a crowd and long wait times here, as it has a hip atmosphere and is very popular with locals. Kids can enjoy the free Wikki Stix, which makes the long wait a little less brutal in the meanwhile! If you’re wondering where to eat in Temecula with kids, start here!
Trek the Harveston Lake Loop Hike
Families looking for a simple hike near Temecula for kids can try the Harveston Lake Loop Hike. At around 0.8-miles, it’s relatively easy for young hikers to complete, as it takes around 20-30 minutes total. Plus, the trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime! Explore a 17-acre park, which is surrounded by the beautiful Harveston Master Planned Community. During the summer, families can rent pedal boats off the dock or enjoy a relaxing lakeside picnic. There is also a great playground adjacent to the pond for little explorers. With so much to do, this is certainly one of the best things to do in Temecula for families!
Learn About Science & Search for Hidden Pickles at Pennypickle’s Workshop
With more than 7500 square feet of hands-on inventions, gadgets, and experiments, kids won’t even know they’re learning as they play at the incredible Pennypickle’s Workshop. Located in the heart of Old Town Temecula, Pennypickle’s Workshop (formerly called the Imagination Workshop) is an award-winning museum and offers a ton of ways for little ones to explore and engage their imagination. Kids will especially be amazed by the library, which boasts a secret passage into the mysterious black light maze room (by way of one very cool fireplace!) No wonder this is one of the best things to do in Temecula with kids!
Visit the Temecula Valley Museum
Temecula Valley Museum has something to offer to everyone in your family! Located in Sam Hicks Monument Park, it showcases kid-friendly exhibits about life in the Temecula Valley through the years, as well as the different cultures that influenced the area’s development. Kids will delight in the large displays with handcrafted artifacts, cultural items, ranching and farming equipment, documents, photographs, and more. There are lots of interactive play areas, too. Little visitors are sure to enjoy hands-on learning experiences like the General Store, Dress Shop, Photographer’s Studio, Ride-a-Pony station, and more! Plus, the actual exhibits are pretty interesting, as they tell key historical stories, including the Luiseno Indians, the Mission San Luis Rey period, and the establishment of the ranchos.
Walk Around Old Town Temecula
Old Town Temecula is the perfect place for families to learn the history of the city! The historic Main Street is lined with cute shops and restaurants, perfect for a family stroll. Travel back in time to the 1880s as you wander around, exploring the rustic buildings and replica storefronts reminiscent of the Gold Rush era. During the day, families can also browse a selection of boutiques, antique dealers, specialty food shops, and so much more. On Saturdays, Old Town Temecula is especially popular because of its year-round morning Farmer’s Market.
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Explore Temecula’s Many Parks
Families who want to spend a sunny day outdoors will love exploring Temecula’s many parks. There are several in and around the city, each of which holds a unique charm and style. Just outside of the Temecula Museum is Sam Hicks Monument Park, which is a great place to sit back, relax, and prepare for your next stop! Other standouts include Vail Ranch Park, which boasts a wildly popular zipline swing. Families also like Riverton Park and the safety-themed Stephen Linen Jr Memorial Park. For more information, you can check out the city’s park guide for all the need-to-know details on Temecula Parks.
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Spend an Afternoon at Vail Headquarters
For a unique experience in Temecula with kids, visit Vail Headquarters. Dating back more than a century, this living history park and museum is the ultimate destination for families! It boasts a variety of restaurants, boutique shopping destinations, and seasonal events. Open from Tuesday through Sunday, be sure to stop by The Craft House to channel your inner artist! Kids and adults can paint blank canvasses or choose from various “make and take” projects like wood decor, string art, macrame, and more. (On Wednesdays, they offer $5 crafts, which are perfect for little artists who move through projects at the speed of light.) Sunday is another fantastic day to visit, as Vail Headquarters hosts “Sunday Funday” events from 11 AM to 4 PM.
While visiting Vail Headquarters with kids, grab lunch at one of the many popular casual restaurants. We are particularly fond of Vail Pizzeria, which allows you to build your own pizza. But there are several other options, making Vail Headquarters a great spot to add to your itinerary. Not to mention, one of the best things to do in Temecula for families!
Toast the Day at a Family-Friendly Winery
It may surprise you to know that Temecula Valley is home to a ton of family-friendly wineries! Located in the heart of Temecula Valley, Longshadow Ranch has the finest quality grapes, an awesome playground, and plenty of farm animals to keep your kiddos entertained as you take a breath and enjoy your wine! Longshadow also hosts a wide variety of fun events throughout the year, so check their calendar before planning your visit. In fact, they have a bonfire Saturday nights with live music! Kids will certainly love the adorable goats, alpacas, and sheep, along with draft horses.
From free-range chickens to the Peltzer family’s century-old tractor collection, you’ll love the rustic atmosphere at Peltzer Farm and Winery. The farm is in full swing during fall Harvest and their annual Pumpkin Farm is a yearly tradition for thousands of families in Southern California. Kids can enjoy pumpkin picking, pony rides, a petting zoo, mini John Deere carts, mining for gems, and so much more!
Peltzer’s tasting room, Crush House, is another charming spot to relax and enjoy wine, music, and food trucks. Peltzer Winery is family-friendly Sunday through Thursday until 7 PM and on Wine Wednesdays until 8 PM. The property is 21+ only on Friday and Saturday.
Attend the Water Lantern Festival
Those visiting Temecula with kids in July will be delighted to attend one of the summer’s best events. The Water Lantern Festival brings people together for a celebration of light and community! Make a wish and send it away on a floating lantern along with thousands of others at the festival, coming to Lake Elsinore (Elm Grove Beach) on Saturday, July 29th (2023 event date). Then, you can also enjoy local food trucks, specialty vendors, and live music throughout the night. Tickets start at $26.98. Use coupon code “LANTERNLIGHT” for a discount at checkout!
Best Restaurants in Temecula for Families
If you’re hungry after all your adventures in Temecula, be sure to stop at one of the city’s many great restaurants for kids. If you’re wondering where to eat in Temecula with kids, here are some of our favorites!
- Richie’s Diner is a must-visit while in Temecula with kids! Established in 1991, Richie’s is a local favorite. Enjoy famous old-fashioned hospitality and the freshest, highest-quality breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts. Don’t skip the Oreo milkshake!
- Be Good is located in Old Town and offers a variety of eclectic foods and drinks. Not to mention, it’s the ultimate experience for kids, teens, adults, families, and friends! We are particularly keen on the Reptile and Critter Show, but check out their event calendar for dates, times, and experiences.
- Sputino’s Pizzeria serves wood-fired pizzas, deli sandwiches, and homemade pasta in an Italian-themed cafe & gourmet food shop. The pizza is incredible and as such, they do get busy! However, carry-out is available and they are generally good about taking reservations for larger parties. (The Prestifilippo family also owns Gourmet Italia, Spuntino Pizzeria & Delicatessen, The Bar Next Door, and Poggio Leano Wine Club – all worth a visit!)
- The Gambling Cowboy lets families take a trip to the Old West. Located in Old Town Temecula, this classic steak and seafood restaurant features high-quality food, a fantastic happy hour, a great patio, and surprisingly, a nice menu for kiddos.
Where to Stay in Temecula with Kids
After your jam-packed day of exploring, you may be wondering where to stay in Temecula with kids. Certainly, you’re going to need to rest your tired head after a full day of family adventures! From relaxing hideaways and homes to luxury hotels, here are the best places to stay in Temecula with kids!
- Temecula Creek Inn is a bit off-the-beaten path but beautiful nonetheless! This family-friendly hotel features 130 luxury rooms, suites, and a fabulous restaurant. This makes it a destination in and of itself! For parents, The Inn is home to 27 holes of championship golf.
- The Ponte Vineyard Inn is a 90-room boutique hotel offering elegant interiors, a pool, a tasting room, and an overall relaxing ambiance. The Inn offers breathtaking vineyard views throughout the property and is an easy drive to several wineries.
- Hampton Inn & Suites is a great option for your Temecula family getaway! Located within 20 minutes of 40 wineries, it’s also a 10-minute drive away from Pechanga Casino and within walking distance of restaurants, breweries, and Old Town Temecula. Plus, there’s also a fitness center and a palm-lined outdoor pool. WiFi and daily hot breakfast are included with every stay. Certainly, this is one of the best places to stay in Temecula with kids!
With many Temecula hotels and other convenient accommodations to choose from, you really can’t go wrong! Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll have the perfect home base for exploring all of the fun things to do in Temecula with kids.
Are You Ready to Visit Temecula?
We hope you liked this article featuring 11 Fun Things To Do In Temecula With Kids by our contributor Lisa McGuigan, aka Temecula Tots! Wherever your Temecula adventure takes you, we’re sure it’ll be a blast with your kids. Follow @temeculatots to discover more family-friendly fun in Temecula and beyond!
*Unless otherwise noted, all images within this article belong to and are courtesy of Lisa McGuigan.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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