Traveling with Toddlers in California

Apr 1st, 2008, 09:01 PM
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Traveling with Toddlers in California

Hi there,

In July 2008, my husband and I will be traveling with our (then) 19 month old twins from the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe for a week, and then to the Russian River for a week (in Sonoma).

Can anyone recommend good books, websites or other resources for finding out about fun things to do with kids this age in those locations? Or, can you suggest any good activities or kid-friendly restaurants?

This is our first big trip with the kids. Although I am quite adept at planning adult travel, I have no clue how to research activities for the kids.

Thank you!
daria is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hi daria! I'm not very familiar with the Lake Tahoe/Russian River area, but I know for a fact that in July, both areas should be very warm - so swimming could be an option for your kids. Also, you may want to check out the following websites as a starting point:

Lake Tahoe:

Russian River:

Hope this helps!
wehearttravel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply! I will check out those websites. Does anyone else have any advice about researching travel with kids? Thanks!
daria is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Do you already have accommodations booked in Lake Tahoe? Where? (If you don't, I have a suggestion)
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:37 PM
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Yes, we have a house booked right outside of Tahoe City.
daria is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Make sure you rent a vehicle with a video screen and DVD player in the back, to give you peace on the road. What a fun trip!
TTess is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, but our kids don't watch tv. They are 16 months and we are trying to hold out until they are at least 2. So far, they've never watched it, so they don't know what they are missing. But, this reminds me, does anyone have any suggestions for activities for 19 month old toddlers to do in the car, other than watch tv?

daria is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 06:11 PM
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Sure! They can scream, poop in their diapers, whine, ask for something to eat, kick the seats in front of them, pull each other's hair, spill drinks from their sippy cups, drop snacks all over, whine some more or watch a video of Sesame Street on the T.V. in your rental. Hey, you asked. I'm a mom of two many years older than your kids...very experienced. A video player is not the plague. It's a good thing.
TTess is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:34 PM
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I agree on the DVD player. My kids have limited tv (one hour per day tops) but the DVD in the car is a must. No whining, no crying, no fighting! There are educational DVDs--believe it or not they do learn stuff from TV if you choose your programs well.

So do you live in the SF bay area and this is your first trip with the kids? I would just ask around if so, your friends and neighbors and playgroup buddies can give you lots of suggestions where to go.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Apr 4th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Well, thanks for your suggestions, but, as I said, we are not doing tv. Recent research has shown that it can be harmful to brain development before the age of 2. Besides, my husband and I don't watch tv. I realize it can be educational, but I don't want to start something that can turn into a habit, and will lead to an addiction and all of the problems that go with that. So far, our kids are doing great without tv.

Anyway, if no one has any other suggestions, I'll post again at some point and let you all know what I find out.
daria is offline  
Apr 6th, 2008, 08:05 PM
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I have children ranging from 17 months to 21 years old. Admittedly, we have been a TV family and utilized DVD players while on long vehicle journeys. More for my sanity than anything.
However....TV is not my first choice, and I totally respect your stance.

Being an experienced mother, I am trying to brainstorm some of the things that I have used/use thru my years of parenting. Depending on the type of carseat you have, you might find that little ones have difficulty playing. Perhaps you could set up some sort of small table, such as a TV tray, in front of each carseat. My little guy loves finger puppets, travel Aquadoodle (colors with water and dries instantly), crayons (amazing how a box of 50 colors can be so entertaining), small happy meal-like toys, active music (such as Raffi or Veggie Tales singalong), touchy-feely books, squeeze balls that have elastic strings (different texture, easy to grip). Take lots of rest area breaks, plan to spend time on playgrounds at rest areas as well as restaurants with play areas. We take along a LeapPad (kids can 'read' books this way, make noise, etc). I also found this site that may be of interest:

My daughter (4) also loves these little Aquadoodle booklets. Color with water, color magically appears and dries after a few minutes. My toddler likes to try and color with them as well. Can buy at Target or Walmart stores.

Happy traveling!
Sunnyshine is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 04:29 AM
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Admittedly, we've never travelled with our toddler (our first trip is to California in June with our 12-month-old), but I had a tip given to me (by a cousin of mine that travels with her toddler all the time) that makes a lot of sense. Other than a few "old favourites", be sure to bring primarily new toys/books to present to them (at least one new item per day, if possible) on the plane/in the car. Because they're new, they'll hold their attention much longer...

Anyways, good luck! I hope that you share any other great ideas that you find (we're also opposed to having our toddler watch t.v. and so will be looking for other options too!).

Have a wonderful trip! Let's hope the toddlers behave

alwaysafrica is offline  
Apr 7th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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One more thing... My husband and I just recently found this site:

It has tons of information - including lots of info specific to California. It seems like a really great tool. Hope it helps!

alwaysafrica is offline  
May 26th, 2009, 09:34 PM
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I realized I never came back here and reported on how my kids did in the car. I am happy to report that if you don't want your young ones to watch tv, you really can avoid it!

I bought some new books because my kids love picture books. When they started to get antsy, one of us would pull out a new book and read it to them from the front seat. I also took some of their favorites out of circulation a while before we went, and pulled those out to read when necessary. My daughter was just starting to get into dolls at this time, but didn't own any yet, so I bought a new one that I pulled out when she started to have a melt down. We sang their favorite songs, all of them. I bought a few other new things that were not expensive, but that I pulled out in moments of need. And, then we stopped for a short time on one leg of the trip when things got really desperate.

Since then, we've driven to Tahoe again, and to Los Angeles, and flew to Hawaii. So, it really is possible!
daria is offline  
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