family trip to and around Yosemite

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Jan 13th, 2002, 01:34 PM
  #1
bonnie hoffman
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family trip to and around Yosemite

We are planning a summer 10 day to 2 week vacation to California. We are thinking Yosemite, S.F, Monterey, Big Sur.
Kids are 9 and 11. What do you suggest on how much time to spend where and where to stay. Where's a good place for families in the Yosemite Valley. What are fun family/kid things to do in all the places mentioned. Thanks.
 
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Jan 13th, 2002, 04:42 PM
  #2
xxx
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We did two weeks in CA the summer of 2000. Kids ages 12 and 10 at the time. We spent 3 nights in S.F., 1 night Sonora (outside Yosemite area), 3 nights Yosemite Valley, 1 night Monterey, 1 night Big Sur, 1 night Pismo Beach, 3 nights LA area.
We had a great trip, but if you're not doing LA you could spend more time in other areas. It was a lot of driving and I think the kids would have preferred less moving around. Plus, my kids didn't appreciate the scenery nearly as much as I would have hoped. Lots of gameboy playing in the backseat while my husband and I "ooohed and aahhed"! They were pretty much burnt-out by the time we reached LA so I think we really didn't see as much there as we could have.
If I were doing only what you are, I would pick up more time in Monterey and possibly Yosemite depending on what your interests are.
In Yosemite we stayed in the Curry Village tent cabins. This worked out well for us and I would definitely stay in the Valley if you can. The drive in and out is a haul and it made my daughter feel nauseated.
It's a great trip- enjoy!
 
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Jan 14th, 2002, 12:53 PM
  #3
Ladybug
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Peter, just yesterday my brother-in-law told me about their one-week trip to San Francisco in the Fall. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, apparently, but he was unable to just sit down on a bench and enjoy it. Said the downtown benches were either covered with bird do-do or occupied by homeless people. This was very disappointing to hear, since SF is one of my favorite cities.



 
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Jan 14th, 2002, 02:55 PM
  #4
xxx
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I don't have kids myself, but I agree that yours will probably enjoy Yosemite more than anything else, so you may want to plan a week there. They can run around the valley floor to their heart's content, lots of other families and kids in the immediate vicinty too. I would choose Curry Village over Yosemite Village, more activity and you're nestled among cool pine trees versus being more out in the open near Yosemite Village. You can go hiking, horseback riding, rafting (not sure if this is still allowed on the Merced River though), rent bikes, go the evening ranger programs, lots to do as a family.


Monterey and Big Sur are beautiful, but I agree with the mom who said her kids aren't really interested in scenery. Your kids probably aren't either. Were YOU interested in it as a kid? Heck, who was? The aquarium in Monterey is nice for kids, but other than that, I can't think of much else for them. I think it's frustrating for kids to have a beach right there and not be able to go in the water or play. Monterey Bay is restricted, if I recall, and Big Sur is so darned cold and windy with big surf, you won't want to go anywhere near the beach. It's the kind of beach that is best viewed from the bluffs above. Beautiful, but again, just more scenery!

I think a fun family destination is Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk. It's an amusement park and boardwalk right on the beach, we loved going there as kids. You can go in the water, play on the beach, ride the rides (great old wooden roller coaster too), lots of fun.

SF is a large city with lots to do, kids will probably enjoy running around Golden Gate Park and possibly visiting the Planetarium and Aquarium there. Boat ride on the Bay is nice, Alcatraz could be interesting to them. The Exploratorium near the Palace of Fine Arts is geared specifically for kids -- everything is hands-on science. They can build structures with magnetic sand, pose in front of gian screen, wait for the flash and see their shadows left on the screen behind them, all kinds of fun stuff! Pier 39 is a nice area too, just a big open pier with shops and there are usually some sea lions laying around on the boat docks.

IMO, I always found Fisherman's Wharf to be slightly seedy, but many others enjoy walking around it. Chinatown can be great fun for walking and ogling. If your kids are good eaters they may even enjoy a dim sum restaurant. Ghiradelli Square will have lots of famous Ghiradelli chocolate for sale, and there are usually lots of street vendors nearby. We bought a kite from a vendor once and flew it nearby, kind of fun. Don't forget to ride a streetcar too!

There are lots of good guide books for Northern California and good web sites too, just do a search on Google. They'll give you more ideas about family activities.

My advice would be just to try and remember how boring it was for YOU when you were cooped up in the car on long trips with your parents, and plan lots of time where they can run around and be kids.
 
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Jan 14th, 2002, 03:34 PM
  #5
xxx
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Here are a couple of links you can check out for the Exploratorium in SF and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk:


http://www.exploratorium.edu/visit/index.html

http://www.beachboardwalk.com
 
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Jan 14th, 2002, 04:00 PM
  #6
Lisa
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There have been a lot of threads about accommodation at Yosemite. We really liked the Yosemite View Lodge, booked through the Park Service. A search will bring up details.

We were there in early July when there had been a lot of snow. We had blow up beach tubes in our luggage and our kids went sledding in areas where there was still snow. Hiking and biking are a lot of fun in the park

If you are in the San Jose area, an absolute must is the Winchester Mystery Mansion. http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/ Was a highlight of our trip for our kids.
Also of course,Alcatraz and the audio tour (make reservations ahead in summer.)

Went up to the Napa valley and my kids enjoyed the petrified forest and the geyser near Calistoga Springs.

Fodors puts out a guide "Where should we take the kids ....." and I am pretty sure there is one for California that I used (and have lent out so I don't know who the author is.) I remember something like a fortune cookie factory that looked pretty cool.
 
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Jan 15th, 2002, 12:24 PM
  #7
x
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Thanks to Jenna, Bonnie now has an intelligent reply. As a Californian I can not even imagine advising anyone to spend part of or any of their vacation in San Jose when they are palnning Yosemite, SF, Monterey and Big Sur. If their trip included Fresno, Bakersfield, Salinas, Delano or Gilroy well then San Jose would be a good side trip.
 
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Jan 16th, 2002, 09:29 PM
  #8
Royd
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Bonnie:
I think we've gotten a little too focused on your possible visits to the big cities. I would like to suggest that you visit Sonora located on Highway 108 about 1.5 hours drive from Yosemite Valley and just off Highway 120, the northern route to Yosemite. You and your kids would enjoy visiting Columbia State Historic Park, a well-preserved gold rush town (4 mi. from Sonora), and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (3 mi. from Sonora) where you can ride a steam train.
 
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Jan 17th, 2002, 12:34 PM
  #9
Bill
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If you plan to visit the San Jose area, a good website to look at is www.siliconvalley.citysearch.com

Lots of things in the area to do for families: Tech Museum, Children's Discovery Museum, Winchester Mystery House, and Paramount's Great America Theme Park.
 
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Jan 18th, 2002, 12:31 AM
  #10
giveit
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They're NOT going to San Jose, PETE, whoops, make that your incognito ID of BILL this time. They didn't even mention it, no one would. Give it up already. San Jose is the armpit of California, despite what you and your chamber of commerce buddies are trying to promote. Yech.
 
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Jan 18th, 2002, 05:45 AM
  #11
James
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Notanarmpit:

Your comments display your lack of education and bigotry. What makes America great is that we have cosmopolitan cities with people of many different ethnic backgrounds who can get along.

Go back to your redneck town. If that is where you are, please do all of California a favor and stay there
 
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Jan 18th, 2002, 11:15 AM
  #12
x
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San Jose-cosmopolitan? You're joking, right?
 
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Jan 18th, 2002, 01:05 PM
  #13
dd
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San Jose is very cosmopolitan. All races are well-represented IE:Asian, Hispanic, Whites are a minority. San Jose has a reputable Opera Company, Ballet, and Symphony, along with numerous museums, and great restaurants
 
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Jan 19th, 2002, 09:18 AM
  #14
xxx
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Don't know where you live Bonnie, but we live an hour from the relatively warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the fact that the Pacific Ocean is FREEZING, my kids did play on the beach and wade in the water in San Francisco, Pacific Grove (Monterey -Asilomar State Park- a beautiful beach), and at Big Sur (I believe it was called Sand Beach). If your kids like the ocean they won't care that they can't swim. We even enjoyed looking in all the little tide pools along the shore in Monterey. It makes for a good compromise- mom and dad get to see the scenery and the kids get to play on the beach.
 
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Jan 23rd, 2002, 07:32 AM
  #15
xyz
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San Francisco would be a great place to take your children if you would like them to see a perfect example of a run down city with street women prowling day and night, even in the nicer neighborhoods and countless homeless people who are drunk and high on drugs agressively asking for money. Add to that the occasional hypodermic needle in the park and along the beach and the odor of urine ask you stroll past storefronts.

These are all things that I experienced on a recent trip to SF about 4 months ago. SF may have been a nice city 20 or 30 years ago, but it is not a place I would ever take my family again.
 
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Jan 23rd, 2002, 07:32 AM
  #16
xyz
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Bonnie,

San Francisco would be a great place to take your children if you would like them to see a perfect example of a run down city with street women prowling day and night, even in the nicer neighborhoods and countless homeless people who are drunk and high on drugs agressively asking for money. Add to that the occasional hypodermic needle in the park and along the beach and the odor of urine ask you stroll past storefronts.

These are all things that I experienced on a recent trip to SF about 4 months ago. SF may have been a nice city 20 or 30 years ago, but it is not a place I would ever take my family again.
 
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