Things to Do in San Bernardino With Kids

by Evan Levy
Originally Published: 
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Looking for ways to enjoy your time with family in San Bernardino, CA? It’s a great city with so much to explore and do, and especially tons of family-friendly activities. We’ve got tips on where to go, eat, and stay, so you can get the most out of your visit. Here are our favorite things to do in San Bernardino with kids.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in San Bernardino, CA

At Alfredo’s Pizza & Pasta, the pasta comes with meatballs, the ziti has four kinds of cheese, and the stuffed shells are giant—in other words, old school. Portions are large, the menu has endless varieties of pasta with cheese and sauce, and the pizza includes everything from olives, Canadian bacon and pineapple, to Alfredo sauce and numerous kinds of cheese. The moral: no matter what you order, it will have cheese.

When it’s a taco you crave, head to Los Altos Mexican Food. You can also substitute the words burrito, enchilada, and fajitas here. You’ll find chicken and seafood offerings, plus a kids menu that includes some Mexican choices and some decidedly non-Mexican ones, like chicken fingers and corn dogs. Either way, you’ll find something to satisfy everyone.

It says “for the entire family” right on their website, so you know you’ve come to the right place. At Sundowners, prices are reasonable, and the kids menu has options like popcorn shrimp, mini corn dogs and mac-n-cheese (toast seems to be served with pretty much everything, just FYI), You can choose from steak, chicken or seafood dinners, plus burgers and sandwiches. Again, expect a lot of toast.

The kids menu is a big deal at Claim Jumper, where kids can build their own pizza or chow down on barbecued chicken, or opt for a trip to the produce bar. Sides are, um, innovative—they include roast vegetables, mashed potatoes…and frozen grapes. Adults can have burgers, ribs, pot pies, salads and pizzas. Save room for Chocolate Motherlode Cake.

Somewhere in between fast food and…not-fast-food is Farmer Boys. Farm fresh food is their mantra—it goes into their breakfast burritos and California omelets; their various kinds of chicken salads (Cobb, BBQ Chicken), their wraps, and their burgers. The cool part? Everything is customizable, so there won’t be anyone whining, “But I don’t like mayo!” We’re looking at you, dad.

Family-Friendly Hotels in San Bernardino, CA

At the Homewood Suites by Hilton San Benardino, every room is a suite with a full kitchen, and breakfast is included daily. There’s a business center if you’re there to do business, a laundry center, and a 24-hour market, plus a pool. You can also walk to area restaurants, and you’re a drive away from skiing and golf. Oh, and breakfast is included, so grab that coffee and get fueled.

OK, you will earn nine million brownie points from your kids for this one, so get ready: at the Wigwam motel, the rooms are teepees. It’s not that they resemble teepees—they are teepees (inside, they look like regular rooms). To make things even better, there’s also an outdoor pool (but who wants to leave a tepee?) so you can check several items off your bucket list with this one—it’s a well-known landmark, and it’s also located on historic Route 66.

At the SureStay Plus Motel, you’re within an hour of attractions including Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and plenty of beaches (and your kids will absolutely remind you of these facts, incessantly). You’ll find an outdoor pool and a breakfast bar, plus rooms have microwaves and refrigerators.

The Hilton Garden Inn in San Bernardino offers a fitness center and pool, plus a complimentary beverage area, laundry, and on-site dining. You can can get cribs, high chairs, and play pens (a nice touch), plus there’s a convenience store (you will use that, numerous times) and a multi-lingual staff.

If you’re going to be in San Bernardino for a while, check out The Residence Inn by Marriott San Bernardino. It has suites equipped with wireless, fully equipped kitchens, and complimentary breakfasts. Plus there’s an indoor pool and an outdoor patio, and a fitness center—and pets are welcome to join you.

Kids Activities in San Bernardino, CA

Did you know that the first McDonald’s was located in San Bernardino? There’s actually a museum attesting to it. The McDonald’s Museum has exactly what you’d expect—memorabilia galore (including, be warned, some fairly creepy early Ronald McDonald figures), the first logo and mascot, original signs, and doodads galore, like original hamburger bags. Great photo op, and your kids (and you) will enjoy the kitsch factor.

Known primarily for its fantastic Egyptian collection (the largest in the Western United States), the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, offers a manageable museum experience for families. Part of Cal State San Benardino, the museum also offers a strong roster of family workshops, plus lectures and performances. You’ll have a good time, learn some stuff, and feel like you’ve accomplished something, all in an afternoon.

The Inland Empire Military Museum has military artifacts and memorabilia, with a special emphasis on the men and women who’ve fought for this country. Visitors will see medals, uniforms, a combat camera, and even a 1953 Jeep used during the Korean War. There’s definitely enough to occupy kids. Note: it’s right next to the McDonald’s Museum, so there’s your afternoon.

You will indeed be giving high-fives all around at the High Five Indoor Playground, which has a ball pit, climbing activities, and a bungee cord course. There’s stuff for both older and younger kids and it also offers (despite its name) arts and crafts classes, music, storytime, and more.

The San Bernardino History and Railway Museum specializes in both the history of the surrounding area as well as all things train, and that’s where your kids will start to pay attention. It’s located in a 1918 Santa Fe Depot, and includes cool things like an 1890 Fire Department Hose Wagon, model trains, and a recreated 1910 railway station. If at least one child doesn’t leave wanting to be a train engineer, someone isn’t doing her job properly.

Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in San Bernardino, CA

With more than 1300 acres, Glen Helen Regional Park offers incredible mountain views, a swim complex (pool, water slides), two lakes in which to fish, picnic areas, and an amphitheater used for concerts. Kids will undoubtedly be drawn to the areas in which they can get wet, so be forewarned.

The enormous San Bernardino National Forest has more than 800,000 acres, so you’ll only cover a fraction of it. You can hike, fish, camp, or drive the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, with its unbelievable scenery (not recommended in the winter). Be prepared to be a full-on tourist here.

Locals seems to know about Littlefield/Shultis Park, a great respite when you need some downtime. With two playgrounds, a walking track, picnic areas, and barbecue grills, it’s a great place to go and simply hang out. (Well, you can hang—your kids will run around non-stop.)

Time for a barbecue? Head to Perris Hill Park, which covers 64 acres of grasslands, but is perhaps best known for its 300 sites with picnic tables and barbecues. After feasting, burn off some energy with a quick swim (the park has two beaches, and you can also wash off some of that barbecue sauce).

Looking for a bargain? Or perhaps just something to put up in the guest bedroom? The San Bernardino Outdoor Market (a giant outdoor flea market) has been around for more than 40 years, and features more than 300 vendors who sell, well, everything, from tchotchkes to doodads. Surely you need one or the other?

All About Outside: Lying as it does near Route 66, San Bernardino offers many quirky things to do, a number being odes to the outdoors. In May, check out the National Orange show, which highlights, yep, the citrus industry. At Silverwood Lake, you can hike, picnic or swim. And the Murillo Family Observatory is the place to go to once a month for its public visitor nights, in which telescopes are set up for viewing.

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