Family Getaways, Wine Country, Day Trips, Family Travel

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 19, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

While there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or had recommended to us.

6 Last-Minute Family Getaways Before Summer Ends!

August 10, 2017

Asilomar State Beach Pacific Grove

The new school year is almost here, but that doesn't mean that summer is over! There's still time pack up the kids and take a last-minute summer family getaway. Here are 6 of our favorite destinations that aren't that far away and are perfect for an impromptu end-of-summer trip.

Take a Family Summer Staycation at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco

August 6, 2017

Palace Hotel San Francisco

When we make our summer vacation plans, sometime we forget that we live in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world—the San Francisco Bay Area! We recently got a chance to play tourist and spend a fun and luxurious summer "staycation" weekend right in our own back yard at the famous Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. This recently renovated historic hotel in the heart of the city has been a favorite place to stay since its founding 1875, hosting presidents, royalty, and of course families!

We had a blast at the Palace. With welcoming and helpful service, fantastic amenities, and plenty of things to do, it makes for a fun and memorable getaway. Here's why the Palace Hotel is perfect for a fun getaway with the kids this summer:

Gravenstein Apple Fair: An Old-Time Country Festival

August 3, 2017

Gravenstein Apple Fair

Where can you spend the day walking under ancient oaks following your nose from food booth to food booth (featuring frying apple fritters or slices of four-inch high apple pie), taking in terrific acoustic music, and experiencing the sights and sounds of a turn-of-the-century barnyard? At the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, of course!

Sonoma County's summertime jewel takes place in Sebastopol's Ragle Ranch Park this weekend, August 12 and 13. 2017's event is the 105th Gravenstein Apple Fair, which showcases the best in arts, crafts, food, wines and beers, games, entertainment, and farm life activities.

Squaw Valley Is the Place to Go for Summer Family Fun in Tahoe

August 1, 2017

Squaw Valley bike trail

It's been a while since I've spent some time in Squaw Valley, the famous resort located west of Lake Tahoe, so when my family and I went there this summer, I found myself wondering why it's been so long since I last visited! There's so much for families to do here—it's the perfect destination for a summer family getaway in the mountains.

Celebrate the "Holidaze" at the 2017 Sonoma County Fair

July 24, 2017

Sonoma County Fair carnival

In case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2017 Sonoma County Fair starts Thursday, August 3 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 13. This year's theme is "Holidaze", and the fair will celebrate a whole year's worth of holidays in its 11-day run, with a different holiday theme each day, including Easter (August 3), New Year's (August 4), the winter holidays (August 5 and 6), and even International Talk Like  Pirate Day (August 9). Check their website for a complete schedule.

Homemade Snacks for Summer Road Trips

July 17, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Elizabeth Leader Smith and Whole Foods Market.

When I was a child, my family frequently made long road trips to visit family members peppered around the Midwest. The novelty of pit stops at roadside convenience stores lost its luster early on. Instead my family hungered for wholesome foods we could feel good about eating while sitting in the car for long stretches.

By planning ahead, my mom was able to pack with the car with healthful snacks (often homemade) to get us through that stretch from Cleveland to South Bend or Chicago to Green Bay. Today I do the same thing making some and buying others. When I have time to prep ahead, I'll make easy and affordable snacks like Popcorn Trail Mix and other recipes for the road like these:

Riding the Rails at Sonoma TrainTown

July 15, 2017

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad

When we're in the Wine Country, we always make sure we visit TrainTown, the fun and fantastic miniature railroad located in the town of Sonoma. It's a place that I used to visit back when I was a kid, and it's the kind of destination that takes you and your family back to a simpler, less hectic time.

Sonoma TrainTown offers train-related activities that are fun for everyone, from toddlers to grade school kids (and adults, too), as well as a selection of carnival-style rides. It's also a short drive from pretty much anywhere in Marin, which makes TrainTown a must-visit attraction for North Bay families.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

July 6, 2017

Angel Island with kids

One of San Francisco Bay's most prominent landmarks, Angel Island has played a considerable role in the history of California and is now one of the Bay Area's favorite spots for hikers, tourists, history buffs, and anyone who just wants to get away from the busy life on the mainland. It's a great place for a family day trip, with plenty of opportunities to picnic, hike, ride a bike, learn, and just take in the surrounding natural beauty, plus there's a boat ride involved, too!

Angel Island is just a short boat ride away via the Angel Island–Tiburon Ferry. The ferry ride is quick and efficient, and it's half the fun of the trip. After the short 12-minute trip, you disembark at Ayala Cove and get ready to explore the island.

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