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15 Fun Things to do in Idyllwild with Kids 2024

An artsy mountain town in Southern California, Idyllwild is one of our favorite family retreats

Tucked away in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, CA is a quaint little town bursting with amazing restaurants, friendly people, and a delightful art culture. In the winter, Idyllwild is one of the most convenient places near Los Angeles and Orange Counties to experience snow (which is one of the main attractions for us).

Any time of year, Idyllwild is a wonderful place to escape the city, relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

We take a family trip to Idyllwild at least once a year. One thing we’ve discovered is that there are lots of fun things to do in Idyllwild with kids. Our kids really love it there! It is an extremely family-friendly (and budget friendly) weekend escape.

So follow me and discover some of our favorite kid-friendly activities in Idyllwild. Here are some of the reasons I think you will fall in love with Idyllwild.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, Vegas.com). If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

6 Reasons you will fall in LOVE with Idyllwild

  1. It is a cute mountain town with fresh air that smells like Christmas all year-round (think pine trees and fireplaces)
  2. There’s a surprising number of excellent, locally-owned restaurants that have attracted many popular chefs
  3. Most of the restaurants have kid-friendly live music nightly!
  4. The town embraces a quirky, artistic culture that you see everywhere
  5. It is easy to get there (pretty simple mountain roads) and it snows occasionally in the winter
  6. There are tons of outdoorsy things to do in Idyllwild with kids.

Here’s what’s in this article:

Leisure Things To Do In Idyllwild With Kids

Shopping in Idyllwild

Shopping

Town Center Area, North Circle Drive

Most the shops in Idyllwild are located on North Circle Drive. This is the quaint town center filled with unique local shops and restaurants. We love wandering the streets and peeking into some of our favorite shops in search for fun treasures. Some of our favorites include Merkaba, Far East International and Idyllwild Gift Shop. For something truly unique, go check out the Funky Bazaar. It is filled with everything from the creepy, to the unique and vintage and the just plain weird.

Find out more on TripAdvisor

Things to do in idyllwild with kids

Earth ‘N’ Fire

54225 N Circle Dr. Idyllwild, Ca 92549

Painting pottery is a very relaxing and fun activity to do, no matter the weather. We usually visit Idyllwild in winter, so we love escaping the cold air by retreating into the warm and cozy studio. It is one of our family’s favoriting things to do in Idyllwild with kids. The large surrounding windows allow guests to enjoy the views while bringing in tons of natural light. Everyone from grandparents to kids will enjoy this activity. In fact, painting a new piece of pottery at Earth ‘N’ Fire every time we visit Idyllwild has become a tradition for our family.

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community playground in idyllwild with kids

Idyllwild Community Playground

26116-26184 Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy, Idyllwild, Ca 92549

This imaginative community-built playground, is a favorite among our kids and I am sure it will be loved by yours too. With so many exciting things to explore, like rope courses, tire swings, slides, play houses and more, it is the perfect place to burn off some energy. Located behind Strawberry Creek, the playground is beautiful, creative and really fun! It is everything you would hope for from an artsy community like Idyllwild. Once you check it out it will likely becoming one of your family’s top things to do in Idyllwild with kids.

Rustic Theatre

54290 N. Circle Dr. Idyllwild, Ca 92549

Built in 1952 this sweet historic theater has been bringing award-winning films to Idyllwild for almost 70 years! This single screen theater only plays one new release at time, but is what makes it quaint and charming. Inside you will find a cozy lobby and traditional movie snacks available for purchase.

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restaurants in Idyllwild with live music

Restaurants with live music

If you love live music like we do, then you will love Idyllwild. Most restaurants in town offer live music nightly. We never visit Idyllwild without hearing live music with most if not every meal. It is safe to say that it is one our favorite things to do in Idyllwild with kids. Some of our favorites include, Cafe Aroma, Gastrognome, and Fratello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria. However, there are many many more amazing restaurants with live music in Idyllwild, so please head to our family restaurants post for details on individual venues.

More family restaurants in Idyllwild

cozy cabin rentals in Idyllwild for families

Stay in your cabin

More than likely, you don’t live in a cabin (and if you do, I am kind of jealous). One of our favorite things about visiting Idyllwild is staying a few nights in a rustic cabin with a fireplace and all. There are lots of great affordable options that we discuss below. Things to do as a family in your Idyllwild cabin include cozying up to a roaring fireplace, watching movies, playing board games, having a family dance party (we did that once!), and drinking affordable libations.

Kid Galahad (1962)

Quick Trivia: Did you know a movie starring Elvis was actually filmed in the small town of Idyllwild in the 1960’s!?

See Our Favorite Cabin Rentals

Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum

54470 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549

Located in the center of Idyllwild, this charming museum offers a delightful glimpse into the town’s rich history. With a friendly and knowledgeable local guide on hand, visitors have the opportunity to have their questions answered and gain deeper insights into the exhibits. Best of all, admission to the museum is completely free, allowing everyone to enjoy the experience. The collection prominently features a captivating array of photographs that showcase the early days of the town, offering a captivating visual journey through time.

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Nature Activities In Idyllwild

kid-friendly hikes in Idyllwild

Kid-Friendly Easy Hikes in Idyllwild

There are quite a few easy and scenic trails in Idyllwild that are great for families. For example, the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is an easy 2.6 mile hike that enters from Fern Valley Road (just before Humber Park) and crosses streams and many different species of trees. Honestly, we don’t take our kids hiking that often (unless it is a really simple and short hike), but Idyllwild is a really nice place to hike.

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Humber Park

24559 Fern Valley Rd Idyllwild, Ca 92549

Humber Park is located in the San Bernardino National Forest and is the site of two trail heads, Devils Slide Trail and Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. You do have to purchase a National Park Adventure pass before arriving to Humber Park. Find out more at the link below to the gov website.

Find out more info

Tahquitz rock Idyllwild rock climbing

Rock Climbing

Mountain Center, CA 92561

Get ready to defy gravity and conquer the vertical wonders of Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks in the heart of Idyllwild! These majestic rocks aren’t just a challenge; they’re a playground for those with a passion for scaling new heights. Imagine clinging to the sheer rock faces, the wind in your hair, and breathtaking views that’ll make your heart race faster than the ascent itself.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time climber, these legendary rocks offer routes that cater to all levels of adventure. It’s not just about the climb; it’s about the rush, the camaraderie, and the pure joy of reaching the summit. So chalk up, gear up, and join us for an adrenaline-packed escapade where every ascent is a triumph and every moment is a vertical victory dance!

Find out more info

Outdoor Yoga

Idyllwild, Ca

Immerse yourself in the serenity of Idyllwild with our outdoor yoga classes that are not just a workout, but a rejuvenating journey for the whole family! As you lay on a mat unrolled amidst the towering pines, the crisp mountain air as your companion, and a yoga session that harmonizes your mind, body, and spirit.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a first-timer, these classes cater to all levels, ensuring everyone can find their zen in the mountain breeze. It’s not just about striking the perfect pose; it’s about finding balance, peace, and a deep connection with the natural beauty that surrounds you. There are number of cool studios that offer outdoor class so just try a few to see what fits your vibe.

Artsy Things To Do In Idyllwild

Jazz in the Pines

52500 Temecula Rd, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549

Get ready to groove amidst the pines at Jazz in the Pines, where the music is as vibrant as the towering trees! This isn’t your average jazz fest – it’s a family-friendly fiesta that’ll have everyone tapping their toes. Imagine a mountain setting, the smooth sounds of jazz echoing through the crisp air, and a vibe that’s as lively as it is laid-back. Jazz in the Pines is the perfect melody for families, offering a rhythm that transcends generations. From jazzy tunes that’ll get the kids bopping to a relaxed atmosphere where parents can unwind, it’s a harmonious escape for the whole crew.

See Photos, Reviews, & More

Idyllwild Arts Academy

52500 Temecula Rd #38, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549

Brace yourselves for a kaleidoscope of talent at Idyllwild Arts Academy, where every corner bursts with cool art shows, captivating plays, exciting event, and mind-blowing exhibits! This isn’t just an academy; it’s a family-friendly cultural hub that turns the mountains into a canvas of expression.

Imagine strolling through art-filled corridors, witnessing captivating plays that transport you to different worlds, and exploring exhibits that redefine what’s possible. Idyllwild Arts Academy isn’t just for the seasoned art critic; it’s an immersive experience for families, where creativity knows no bounds. From little ones inspired by vibrant colors to parents marveling at the depth of expression, it’s a visual feast for all.

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Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema

Idyllwild, CA

Film buffs and family fun enthusiasts will love this reel adventure at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, where the magic of movies meets the charm of the mountains! This isn’t your average film fest; it’s a family-friendly cinematic fiesta that’ll have everyone on the edge of their seats. Since 2009 this mountain setting transforms into a giant movie theater, the stars above and the silver screen below. From captivating family films to indie gems that spark imagination, there’s something for everyone. The festival isn’t just about watching; it’s about experiencing the enchantment of storytelling with your loved ones.

See Photos, Reviews, & More

Enjoy the vibrant tapestry of Idyllwild’s art culture, where every street feels like a gallery waiting to be explored! This isn’t your typical stroll; it’s a family-friendly art adventure that transforms the mountains into a masterpiece. Imagine wandering through eclectic galleries, each filled with colors that pop and sculptures that spark wonder. Idyllwild’s art scene isn’t just for connoisseurs; it’s an immersive experience for families, where little ones discover the joy of expression, and parents find inspiration around every corner. From funky street art to sophisticated galleries showcasing local talent, it’s a visual feast for all.

See Photos, Reviews, & More

What To Do In Idyllwild

That’s A Wrap!

Idyllwild is a really cool little town with great food, relaxing times, and your kids will have a blast exploring the wilderness and listening to live music practically every night. There is just so many things to do in Idyllwild with kids. In the winter, you might even luck out with some snow (it’s happened to us twice, and the kids were super excited). It is just what you need to recharge your batteries, and visiting Idyllwild won’t break the bank. It is a hidden gem of Southern California.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Explore more exciting California family travel ideas on the blog and start planning today!

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, Vegas.com). If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

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Fun things to do in Idyllwild with kids
Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

22 Comments

    • It really is idyllic in Idyllwild and with the cabin, you are right. It is the best of both worlds!

  1. Dawn Sonnier Reply

    A beautiful platform about my wonderful town! The playground is awesome, glad your kids enjoyed it! We had over 500 local volunteers build it in just 5 days! It’s priceless! Maybe I’ll See you next time at the candy cupboard, it’s a small town!

    • The playground was a huge highlight for the kids! It was the nicest playground I’ve seen in a long time! Yes, the kids loved the candy shop. We may have already run into each other! Ha. We’ll be sure to say “Hi” the next time we’re in town!

  2. Pingback: Best Family Travels of 2015 |

  3. The water track is amazingly beautiful. The accommodation seems great too. Thanks for sharing your trip experience. I will definitely consider it if my kids like the place.

  4. What a lovely alternative to Palm Springs. Gorgeous looking place, and peaceful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I had no idea ! Thanks for the thorough research, I will recommend this for families in lieu of Palm Springs.

  6. That looks awesome. I love weekend camping trips and Idyllwild looks great for the whole family!
    That food selection is surprisingly awesome. The Nome looks great but IDYology looks phenomenal! I love the interior!
    I think I will have to send my god daughters and their parents there for a fun weekend away from San Diego

    • Brenda Macias Reply

      Thanks for the recommendations! I just booked our trip for November!

  7. The Christmas period is my holiday as a teacher haha! This looks like a great place to relax though! Looks like it’s a lot of fun for the kids as well!

  8. Toby Settle Reply

    Thanks for writing about one of our favorite, and underrated Southern California destinations. Everything you mention, and more! Just to clarify, Idyllwild cannot be easily reached via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Getting to Idyllwild from the top of the tramway requires a moderately strenuous 10.1 mile hike that should be attempted by experienced, properly prepared hikers only. Hiking across is only advised between the months of June and October.

  9. Come stay with us at New Spirit Vacation Homes we would love to accommodate your stay, we also offer packages that include reservations, tickets to events, and other things to do in the area!

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