The Monarch Beach Resort’s AAA Five-Diamond Award and its number one on TripAdvisor status are not enough to impress some of its most demanding guests—kids. The resort instead wins them over with a pristine beach perfect for sandcastles, activities designed with them in mind like naturalist-led introductions to monarch butterflies, and a slew of adventures nearby, from electric bike rides to exploring tidal pools teeming with marine life. After going from the pool to the Pacific Ocean, from bike to surfboard, or from the golf course to game time, even the most critical kid will concede there is something special about the Monarch Beach Resort as they watch a spectacular sunset with a s’mores in hand.
Monarch Beach Kids Club
Monarch Beach Resort's kids club is open to kids from five to 12 years old, and there they can enjoy a half or full day of outdoor activities, swimming, treasure hunts, and games on the beach. Whether your kid is more into a game of dodge ball or painting a scene from their vacation, the club has activities for every interest. Just make a reservation with a Resort Experience Planner or the concierge.
Electric Bike Tours
Electric bikes have soared in popularity recently, and once you ride one the appeal soon becomes obvious: Who couldn't use a little help now and then getting up a hill? The Monarch Beach Resort's two-hour electric bike tours, open to kids 13 and older, are an ideal way to try one out. You'll follow the resort's trail with its stunning views of canyons and the beach below. At the end of the tour, you'll have some great photos and perhaps a new favorite activity.
The mysteries of the sea hold a special fascination for many kids, and inspiring children to learn about the ocean with hands-on, interactive programs has been the mission of this education center in Dana Point since it was founded in 1977. The Ocean Institute's two tallships bring the days of the great sailing ships to life. One is modeled on a Revolutionary War era schooner while the other is a full-size replica of The Pilgrim—the ship that Richard Henry Dana Jr., the author of Two Years Before the Mast, sailed on. The Institute also offers 2.5-hour whale-watching cruises.
Butterflies & Friends
This special event introduces kids to the namesake of Monarch Beach and, in turn, the Monarch Beach Resort: the striking orange and black butterflies that have practically become an icon of the Golden State. Every year, tens of thousands of monarch butterflies migrate to California to ride out the winter in its groves of eucalyptus and Monterey Pine. Butterflies & Friends is led by a naturalist from the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach and kids will learn about the monarchs' fascinating life cycle and their epic migrations when they act out the part of the butterflies in their own drama.
Time at the Pool
When you are in the mood to spend some time poolside, the Monarch Beach Resort's expanded pool deck is at the center of the action and better than ever, with the addition of circular sunbeds and private cabanas, plus the new ocean-view infinity edge Jacuzzis. The Family Pool also now has a graduated entry that's perfect for little ones.
Down by the Sea
The scenic, cliff-backed beach at the Monarch Beach Resort is tops for body boarding and surfing. Instructors hold classes seven days a week (reservations required) for children with at least moderate or higher swimming skills. Or you can just spread out some towels on the golden sands and soak up the Southern California sun, perhaps after you've constructed a sandcastle by the sea.
Pack up a Picnic Lunch
Meals don't have to be a sit-down affair at the family-friendly Monarch Beach Resort. You can get grab-n-go salads, deli sandwiches, and fresh pastries at the Part & Parcel Market and then head to the beach or the park.
Laguna Beach Farmers Market
For older kids, a visit to the popular Laguna Beach Farmers Market, held on Saturdays, provides an opportunity to meet some local farmers and perhaps sample some unfamiliar foods or artisanal products. Every kid-and adult too-will appreciate the chance to try some of California's legendary bounty of berries, oranges, plums and other fruits. The selection at the outdoor market isn't limited to raw produce. You can also enjoy fresh tamales, empanadas, and other ready-to-eat dishes.
Heisler Park Tide Pools
The winding oceanfront promenade at the edge of Laguna Beach's Heisler Park is breathtakingly scenic. But the tide pools down below prove irresistible to young explorers, who can get a close look at the mussels, barnacles, limpets, and other sea creatures found there.
Content originally created by AFAR.