With three kids and the price of airfare, we tend to stick close to home for many of our vacations. That doesn’t mean we spend all our time at Disneyland, however. There are lots of fun ways for families to enjoy their California vacations. Here are some of our favorites from North to South.
Picnic in the Sonoma Plaza: This was one of my family’s favorite day trips as a child. Last summer I returned with my kids and am happy to say it continues to be very fun. Grab a picnic from a local gourmet deli and play at the Children’s Playground.
Ride a train at Train Town: Admission is affordable and the ride on the miniature train is perfect for all ages. You stop to take on water at a kid sized town that the little ones enjoy exploring.
San Francisco Adventures
Visit Fisherman’s Wharf Play vintage games at the Musee Mechanique and take an audio tour of the USS Pampanito Submarine.
Explore the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park This National Historic Park has a cheap entrance fee and plenty of big vessels to explore. They also have a wide assortment of tours and kids programs.
Santa Cruz Adventures
Ride a Train Through the Redwoods Roaring Camp provides old fashioned family fun. You can ride a steam train through the redwoods or catch a diesel down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Ride the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk This is my favorite roller coaster in the world. It’s more than 100 years old and you can catch a glimpse off the ocean and the town of Santa Cruz as you zoom along.
Build and Test at LEGOLAND California Carlsbad, California is a charming family oriented beach town with a great family attraction. Legoland California is an interactive theme park for young children. The Sea Life Aquarium and the new LEGO themed Water Park give families more reasons to visit.
Play at the Flower Fields. Unfortunately the Flower Fields have finished their season, but if you return next spring, you will be awed by the fields of flowers. Kid’s enjoy a quaint Santa’s Village themed playground.
San Diego Adventures
Go on Safari at the San Diego Zoo. It may be clique, but a visit to the world famous San Diego Zoo is a must see for family travelers. Keep an eye out for The Unauthorized Guide to the San Diego Zoo releasing later this year.
Stop by Cousin’s Candy in Old Town. Old Town San Diego is a great location for family adventure. Kids enjoy visiting the old buildings and learning about life in old San Diego. The highlight of your trip will be the trip to this old fashioned candy store- trust me .
PS “I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate,