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A Southern California Weekend Getaway in Buena Park

Family playing poker with Sheriff at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

Though best known for Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park is a destination in itself. The northwestern Orange County city has many family-friendly attractions, restaurants and hotels. Proximity to Disneyland, Downtown Los Angeles and beaches make Buena Park an ideal homebase for a southern California weekend getaway.

The city of Buena Park (population under 84,000) is somewhat of a hidden gem in Southern California. Sure, Knott’s Berry Farm is the big draw and put Buena Park on the map. But there are many other reasons to stay and play in Buena Park. For example, you’ll find themed family dinner shows, historical sites and free attractions to explore on your Southern California weekend getaway.

In addition, Buena Park has a year-round mild climate and is 15 miles from renowned Huntington Beach. With friendly neighbors like Disneyland and Los Angeles, Buena Park is an ideal Southern California weekend getaway. No wonder Rand McNally named Buena Park one of the Most Fun Small Towns in America.

Medieval Times sign in Buena Park, CA.


The exciting two-hour jousting tournament at Medieval Times features knights, real weapons and horsemanship. Cheer on your favorite knight during a four-course meal fit for a king. Enjoy a utensils-free feast of garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, corn, potatoes, and pastry. Vegetarian and other specialty meals are also available.

At the end of the show, head back to your hotel and rest up for the night. With over 17 different hotels to choose from, Buena Park has a room fit for every budget. From the Snoopy themed rooms at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel to the all-new Hampton Inn & Suites, you'll be able to find the perfect place to rest your head.
Ghostrider at KNott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Ca.


As California’s first theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm has an interesting history. It started with a boysenberry! In fact, Walter Knott created the boysenberry in 1926 by crossbreeding a blackberry, loganberry and raspberry. The boysenberry became a top seller at his roadside fruit stand. In 1934, Knott and his wife, Cordelia, opened Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, another big hit with visitors. To entertain guests as they waited, Knott built a Ghost Town and later added rides.

Today, the 160-acre Knott’s Berry Farm has dozens of rides, shows and attractions in four themed areas. The Old West Ghost Town, Camp Snoopy, the Boardwalk, and Fiesta Village trace California’s history. The park is unique in that it has a hometown feel, combining old timey fun with modern attractions. Yummy food, interactive shows and themed holiday events round out family fun. The park is especially fun to visit during the annual Knott’s Scary Farm and Knott’s Merry Farm.

Family on ride at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA


Ghostrider, a wooden roller coaster, is near the entrance so it’s a good idea to do this first. Next, take a step back in time in the Old West Ghost Town. The area is outfitted with western artifacts and activities. Pan for gold and watch stunt, Native American and vaudeville shows. Also, see blacksmith, woodcarver, glass-blower and sign-cutter demonstrations. In summer, interact with western characters during Ghost Town Alive.

Classic attractions include the Calico Train Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, and the Calico Railroad (watch out for robbers!). In contrast, the Boardwalk is home to modern thrill rides and games. Hang Time is a new steel roller coaster towering 150 feet over the Boardwalk, it is the only dive coaster on the West Coast.

Traveling with young kids? Head to Camp Snoopy for rides and to meet the Peanuts gang. Around the corner is Fiesta Village celebrating Mexican pop culture with themed eateries, shops and rides.

Take time out for a relaxing lunch at the iconic Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Located in the California Marketplace, the restaurant is famous for its fried chicken, biscuits and boysenberry pie. The marketplace is a perfect shopping spot for souvenirs, boysenberry jam, and handcrafted items.

Lazy River at Knott's Soak City in Buena Park, CA.


The seasonal Knott’s Soak City Water Park is a perfect way to cool off on a sunny California day.

Remember to pack your swimsuits on your weekend getaway near Disneyland. Adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm, the 15-acre Knott’s Soak City Water Park has 22 slides for all ages. In addition, Tidal Wave Bay and Sunset River offer more boatloads of family fun. The water park is open mid-May to September.

Pirates dueling at Pirates Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, CA.


The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a lively, swashbuckling family-friendly show with an amazing meal.

All hands on deck for a Pirate’s Dinner Adventure onboard an 18th-century ship. Kids can help Captain Sebastian the Black and his crew save the day. The fantasy show features swordplay, acrobatics and a four-course meal.

DAY 3: Take it downtown

Buena Park Downtown is home to two wildly popular attractions: Big Air Trampoline Park and John’s Incredible Pizza. It’s probably best to let the kids bounce around at Big Air before a big lunch! More than a trampoline place, Big Air boasts floor-to-ceiling bouncing games. There’s something for all ages. Flip into thousands of foam cubes on The Launch Pad and ride a “bull” in the Bullpen.

Climb Martian Mountain and jump off walls in Zero-Gravity Court. Join a challenging game of dodgeball on a trampoline. And take on a one-on-one jousting battle on beams over a pit of foam. Tiny jumpers have their own tot-sized bounce features in Lil’ Air.

After all that jumping around, lunch sounds like a good idea, right? Steps away is John’s Incredible Pizza, kind of like a children’s pizza palace on steroids. One admission price includes an all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta buffet, rides, and games. Be sure to try the signature spicy peanut butter pizza. Meals are served in themed dining rooms.

After a long day of excitement, choose from over a dozen comfortable & affordable Buena Park hotels -- most are located within walking distance to all major attractions. CLICK HERE for hotel deals. To start planning your SoCal vacation, order your FREE Travel Guide HERE.

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