Sorry to hear about the bad experience at SARL. I feel like you almost need to get out there in a tube to really make it worth it, since shore fishing there seems kinda meh. And awful regarding the needle - I hope you complained to management there. That sounds like the kind of incident that demands a refund even if partial. Super unsafe and especially if you *paid* for entry.
If you can afford to take a day off during the week, Laguna Niguel lake is a pretty chill place I've heard. Otherwise, Mile Square Park would be a good local one as well as Eisenhower Park Lake if you're open to catfish - that's a small little lake up in Orange that would be very kid friendly. Even if you want to go out there at night for catfish if you are able to bring your kid out at night (though it would probably be kinda late) - I've caught quite a few catfish from Eisenhower soaking bait. Same thing for Cerritos Regional Park Lake - should have catfish in it.
As far as surf fishing, I haven't been since last summer but usually when I go I tend to walk a fair amount to look for holes, troughs and other structure and fish c-rig with gulp camo sandworms or will use sand crabs if they are around. If you want to target halibut, lucky crafts, krocs, and either dropshotting or grub/swimbait trailer will work depending on conditions. In some cases if you're not into walking the beach, you can try to find a nice hole or area with some structure and just soak bait and hang out there for a while which would be better with kids. I brought my 2yr old at the time to Huntington Cliffs on a Sunday afternoon once over the summer and walked the beach fishing - I was able to keep him by my side mostly while walking but it was pretty distracting and I missed a lot of bites but connected on a few (corbina and yellowfin croaker). At some point we got hit by a rogue wave and he was soaking wet. I never tried doing that again after that experience but it was definitely a memorable one LOL. I've seen plenty of guys setup sand spikes and soak bait too - most of them get yellowfin croaker that way. If you can find clams/mussels that's the ticket.... for corbina and spotfin croaker too.