Family Getaways, Wine Country, Day Trips, Family Travel

Family Hike at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

January 15, 2018

Jack London State Historic Park

This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing. We're especially happy that the park escaped any destruction in the devastating North Bay fires last fall!

Family Road Trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

January 2, 2018

Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of our favorite family getaways is a visit to the Monterey Peninsula and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's about a three-hour drive from Marin, making it possible as a day trip, but even better as an overnighter or long weekend with the family. Winter may even be the best time to visit, since you can avoid the coastal fog that blankets the area in the summer and the tourist season crowds have subsided a bit.

Ice Skating Fun at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa

January 2, 2018

Snoopy's Home Ice Redwood Empire Ice Arena

One of our must-do family tradions during the holidays is to visit Snoopy's Home Ice, as well as the Charles M. Schulz Museum right next door. The arena was a gift to the North Bay community from the late Santa Rosa resident and Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and has been going strong since 1969.

Merry Days, Holly Nights, and Family Fun at Squaw Valley

December 19, 2017

Holidays squaw valley village

Last weekend, we paid a visit to one of our favorite places in California, Squaw Valley, to check out their Merry Days & Holly Nights holiday festivities and winter fun for families. We had a great time, and with the holiday decor and activities, we really felt like we were in a Christmas wonderland!

Squaw Valley, which was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is of course well known for its skiing and snowboarding, but offers other family winter fun like tubing and mini snowmobiles. Merry Days & Holly Nights brings Santa Claus himself to Squaw Valley, along with holiday performances and activities, throughout the month of December for wintertime magic.

Try Cross Country Skiing With the Family This Winter

November 27, 2017

cross country skiing

With more snow moving into the Sierra, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!

When we first tried cross-country, my kids picked it up right away; after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off skiing the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.

Go Play in the Snow! Great Places for Family Snow Play in Northern California

November 26, 2017

Tubing in the Sierras

The winter season in the Sierra is starting! While we love the skiing and winter fun at Lake Tahoe, we know that not everyone's a skiier, and sometimes families just want to go up and have some fun in the snow. While many of the Tahoe ski resorts like Northstar, Squaw Valley, and Heavenly have tubing parks, ice skating, and other winter non-skiing activities for the family, there are plenty of other places in the mountains where you can get your snow play fix without the ski resort hustle and bustle (and price tag).

Sonoma & Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun

November 13, 2017

Cornerstone Lighting of the Snowmen
Don't miss the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival at Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the benefits of living in the North Bay is having the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa right in our own backyard. It's a short trip from Marin but a world away, especially during the holidays, when the area does itself up in style.

Here are some selected family-friendly holiday events and happenings in Sonoma and Napa, as well as a few of our favorite places to visit in the Wine Country. Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.

Sonoma Valley

Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza
Downtown Sonoma
Saturday, November 18, 5–8 pm

Experience Sonoma Valley and celebrate the fourth annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza. Enjoy 8-acres of 100,000+ sparkling lights plus music and holiday treats! Free to the public and family friendly. Bring a picnic, including wine and beer! For more info, visit their website.

Lake Tahoe Ski, Snowboard & Snow Play Family Fun

November 11, 2017

Skiing in Lake Tahoe

It's November, which means it's time to get ready for the start of ski and snow play season in Lake Tahoe! Many of Tahoe ski resorts have already announced their anticipated opening dates for the 2017–2018 season, and some are already open. Generally, big resorts with their own snow-making equipment open earlier in the season.

Magical Holiday Train Rides in the Bay Area and Northern California

October 29, 2017

Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Train
Photo: Napa Valley Wine Train

There's something magical about taking a special holiday outing with the family on a train! While the popular Polar Express train ride at the California State Railroad Museum sold out back at the beginning of October, you can still find plenty of other opportunities in the Bay Area and Northern California to celebrate the holidays on board a train, including the Polar Express Train Ride at Railtown 1897 in the Gold Country. But get your tickets as soon as you can—most of these rides will sell out.

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