trip outside of San Francisco with kids

Old Mar 27th, 2015, 05:24 PM
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Guerneville would definitely meet your "woodsy" requirement. I've been to Armstrong redwoods several times, and each time I've thought how nice it would be to stay among the woods for a few days. However, in that general area I've only actually stayed in Bodega Bay (Bodega Bay Lodge, very nice, big rooms that would fit a family) and at a larger vacation rental home in Jenner (wonderful little town; kayaking on the Russian River, beach, laid back vibe). Hope you find someplace nice!
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 02:26 PM
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Thanks everyone!
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 03:22 PM
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I would like to suggest Columbia, a small town that in total is a State Park in the gold country. It's been restored into a living gold town where you can explore all of the typical buildings and shops of the time; a school house, a blacksmith, saloon, old theater, soda shop... and ride a stage coach and pan for gold. Straight out of Mark Twain. Great fun for kids.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 03:48 PM
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The Aquarium is fabulous. But for Redwoods, don't go to Muir woods, its too crowded. Head north to Sonoma County only h.5 hrs. north of the Golden Gate bridge. Try Armstrong Woods State park in Guerneville. Stay in Healdsburg. Look for vacation rentals that take children. Its a much easier way to travel with children than a hotel or B&B. There is also Safari West wild animal park. not the correct name. But you ride in Jeep like trucks and drive among the African animals which are loose. There is swimming along the placid Russian River in several locations.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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There are redwoods close to Santa Cruz.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 06:41 PM
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Muir woods is a fine choice, but can be done in a day trip from SF, it is not all that far past the Golden Gate Bridge.

For a couple - three days I would drive down to Monterey. - 2 hours in good traffic. Not just for the aquarium but include a 1/2 day whale-dolphin-porpoise watching trip. One of the many boats going out is called the Princess and we found it exceptionally clean and smooth.

You can stay in Monterey or go south to Pacific Grove, about 10-15 minutes. The Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary is part of the migration route of these beautiful creatures but July is 4 months or so to early to see them. However, because of its popularity, Pacific Grove is full of hotels and motels, many family run and is an altogether charming place right on the coast with a lovely and rugged coastline. Just south of that is Carmel-by-the Sea, another nice town with a wonderful beach and fabulous sunsets where it seems the entire town turns out. Just south of that is a spectacular scenic road along the coast (toll) full of scenic overlooks. If you like you can drive another hour south to Nepenthe stopping at the State park along the way. It also has a nice beach. If you do the Monterey thing, I would base in Pacific Grove for a couple of nights at a place within walking distance of the coastline. There are a number of nice ones at different price points.

Here is a portion of a much longer TR that I wrote for a trip there.

Really, the rest of this TR would be about exploring the coast down to Big Sur and this is one case where the trite "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true. So, if you have the time, take a look at the rest of the pictures There are some nice ones there that will be better than any verbal description I could write.

In a nutshell, some highlights were hiking in Point Lobos Park, trail riding in Andrew Molena State Park (they put me on a Percheron - is there a message in that)? The trail riding was a lot of fun even though DW and I had not been on a horse in 20 years. Dismounting provided the gift of hilarity to DD. Also of course, we drove the 17 mile drive as required by tourist rules and were glad that we did. Sometimes tourist attractions are such for good reason. We also took a whale watching trip out of Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey that turned out to be a dolphin and porpoise watching trip. We were aboard the Monterey Princess - a very clean, well kept boat and although there were no whales that morning, the dolphins and porpoises were very entertaining - we saw hundreds. The porpoises were particularly entertaining as they would ride the bow pressure wave - surfing if you like. I have a photo set of the dolphins and porpoise playing
using the above link. There is also a set of some very nice sunsets that were a spectacular nightly joy.
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Old Mar 28th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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I clicked on the link and it does not seem to work. I must contact Flickr to see what is going on.
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Old Mar 29th, 2015, 10:29 PM
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Have you considered Yosemite? It's well worth a visit. You can get a cabin, enjoy forest and nature areas. It is very family friendly and just beautiful.
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