California Vacations in the Bay Area
With cliffs perched over white sand beaches and jaw-dropping ocean views, the scenic town of Pismo Beach is a gem on California's Central Coast. It is an ideal base from which to explore the 'Five Cities' community along Highway 1 as it winds through the beautiful landscape south of Big Sur.
With its family-friendly beaches, miles of open space and fun events for kids, Santa Cruz makes for a fantastic family getaway. Here are some of the most popular kid-friendly attractions.
Monterey Bay, south of San Francisco, is home to Cannery Row,the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf, and a host of sea mammals in the ocean including sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and gray whales. The Big Sur Coast is a short scenic drive away. Stay at budget-friendly spots, or splurge at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa.
Napa Valley for Families
The Napa Valley, a beloved getaway for wine-lovers, is also a fine place for families. About.com's Guide for California Travel recommends staying in Calistoga, taking a safari tour, and visiting the Petrified Forest and the (other) Old Faithful Geyser. Napa Valley is day-trip distance from San Francisco.
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
The luxury Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay resort has a scenic location amid miles of unspoiled a coast just forty minutes south of San Francisco. Family-friendly features include a Ritz Kids program and Kids Night Out.
Jelly Belly Day Trip
Take a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, about one hour north of San Francisco: About.com's Guide for California Travel has details (plus interesting facts about jelly bellies, which date back to the Civil War.)
Family Houseboating on the California Delta
Here's a novel way to get an extended family or group of friends together: rent a large houseboat with all the comforts of home (and maybe a waterslide on the back.) This guest article describes a family houseboating getaway on the California Delta, which has thousands of miles of waterways in the San Joaquin Valley.