Day Trips from Palo Alto

Jul 13th, 2009, 12:07 PM
  #1  
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Day Trips from Palo Alto

We're staying in Palo Alto for the Summer Senior Games at Stanford University, first week of August, and looking to visit some of the marvels.... Based on my memory of traveling there some 30 years ago, I promised our (19 and 25 year old) daughters to take day trips to see the gorgeous Redwoods and Sequoia trees, but checking the maps and MapQuest, these are 4-5-6 hours drive each way, which make it less realistic for a day trip (unless we find a day with no games, in which we can leave early morning)....

Of course, San Francisco is always a charm..... What are our other options?

Thanks!
mamamia2 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Big Basin State Park (check that the budget crisis has not closed it) is on the peninsula between saratoga and santa cruz. much less than 4-6 hrs drive each way, but single lane road in many parts in the park makes it a slow drive in the park. Monterey Bay Aquarium is about 90mins each way, the new aquarium in SF is nice, Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos is good for a few hours for the aviation buffs. Filoli gardens is nice for the gardening types, and there is lots of nice bike riding in the area. Beaches on the other side of the hill... So many options, I'm sure you'll get more here.
dougri is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Within two (2) hours drive of Palo Alto, there's Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterey, Carmel, maybe even Big Sur heading south, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, and Marin (including Stinson Beach, Muir Woods and Mt. Tam, Bolinas, Pt. Reyes?, Tiburon and Sausalito heading north, Berkeley and other East Bay charms heading northeast.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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The senior games are getting a lot of press here in Palo Alto! Seems likes it's going to be a big deal, and will be a lot of fun.

I agree with the other ideas. One possibility is taking the train in Felton (Santa Cruz mountains http://www.roaringcamp.com/) through the redwoods to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk. I haven't done it for ages, but it's a fun family thing to do. http://www.beachboardwalk.com/
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Jul 13th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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Lots of good suggestions. I'll add that the new California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park would be a an excellent trip. Combine that with a visit to the De Young Museum across the way and dinner at the Cliff House and you've got a fantastic day out.

There is a lovely county park up in Woodside called Huddart Park that is an oasis of trees, creeks and trails. It feels like you're in the Sierra and you're only 20 minutes from downtown Palo Alto. It is great place to take a short hike and possibly have a picnic.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Coastal redwoods and giant sequoias are 2 different types of trees - coastal redwoods are the tallest tree and live in the coastal mountains, so you can easily see these from PA. The giant sequoias are the ones that live in the Sierras - these have the distinction of being the most massive of trees.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Thanks for your ideas!.... Yes, november_moon, I know the distinct difference between the two trees, have been traveling to both parks some 30 years ago, but wasn't aware they're quite far from SF.... We'll be renting a car, so I was thinking of taking Rt. 101 up north (which to my taste is SO much nicer that going down south), along the ocean.

Kailani, I will check into the redwoods-- Santa Cruz beach boardwalk...

So what you guys are saying, one doesn't have to drive all the way up to Redwood National Park in order to see those giant tall trees?

Thanks again!
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Jul 13th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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TAW
 
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If you do the Roaring Camp train ride it is right next to Henry Cowell State Park in Felton which is easy to walk (level) and see some big trees. We always take visitors there when time is short and everyone loves it. Enjoy!
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Jul 14th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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mamamia - I just wanted to make sure that you knew that the trees were different since lots of people don't realize that. You definitely don't have to drive to redwood NP to see old growth coastal redwoods. Muir Woods is very close to SF and there are groves of old growth trees in the Santa Cruz mountains as well. Big Basin is a great place to see them. If you are going to Santa Cruz, you can make a detour on the way. The thing that Redwood NP has going for it is that the groves of old growth trees are larger - the trees were protected before the real intense logging got that far north.
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Jul 14th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Great info, november_moon. I appreciate it, 'cause my younger daughter (who loves nature) was pretty upset when I told her that even though I promised, Redwood national park is way too far from where we'll stay.... Good, we'll visit Muir Woods instead.....

...More to see?

Of course, roaming this forum gives me lots of more info....
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Jul 14th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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For Muir Woods, because it is so close to SF, it can be crowded. So if you can, go on a weekday rather than a weekend.
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Jul 15th, 2009, 11:25 AM
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ALSO, I started a new thread asking about taking a LONG day trip, with a rental car, from Palo Alto to Yosemite.... Yes, I know it's about 4 hour drive each way..... I got a couple answers, but now my thread is mysteriously GONE....

I'd like to know, since we really want to do it, leave early morning and come back to our Palo Alto hotel late night --- WHAT'S THE BEST, MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO DO THE YOSEMITE TOUR, when we have only say, 6 hours.....

THANKS!
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Jul 15th, 2009, 11:32 AM
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Just click on your own name and the post about Yosemite appears.
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Jul 15th, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Yeah, now it does appear, but it didn't earlier... I wrote an email to Fodors and Katie was VERY quick to respond and correct the problem....
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