Trips: Weekend or Overnight Trips

Channel Islands, Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties
Five of the eight Channel Islands in the Santa Barbara Channel comprise the Channel Islands National Park, www.channel.islands.national-park.com. These islands are a unique destination for families. You may camp, kayak, snorkel, hike, scuba dive, birdwatch, explore Native American history, study the wildlife, or just RELAX! It is the most amazingly undeveloped place in an awesome setting. Here's how you get there: http://www.islandpackers.com/ http://www.truthaquatics.com/

North on Highway 1
A great place to stay in the Hwy 1 area is Costanoa's, For reservations and general information, call 1.877.262.7848 (toll-free) or 1.650.879.1100. There is plenty of hiking, bicycling, exploring, eating and playing. There is also a hostel along the coast http://www.norcalhostels.org/pigeon/

Go visit the Elephant Seals at Ano Nuevo State Reserve. It is located about 25 miles north of Santa Cruz, off Highway 1. The guided tours are the only way to see the seals during their mating and birthing season. Tours are held daily, from early morning until mid-afternoon, rain or shine. The season is the middle of December through the end of March and cost about $4.00. (Kids 3 and under are free) Reservations must be made in advance at 800-444-4445. Weekend reservations sell out immediately when they go on sale (56 days prior to the desired tour date). Park information is 650-879-0227 or www.parks.ca.gov

Other sites along Hwy 1: Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, picking berries in season at the farms along the way, hiking at Pescadero State Beach, watching the windsurfers at Waddell Creek, touring the little Natural History Museum at Rancho del Oso across from Waddell Beach.

South on Highway 1
Head south towards Monterey to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940 24-Hr. Info: (831) 648-4888 Español (800) 555-3656. Open every day except Dec. 25, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Daily 9:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Summer & Holidays.

Other activities south on Highway 1: walk the beaches at Carmel-by-the Sea, kayak near Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, rent bicycles and ride on the bike path between Monterey and Pacific Grove, walk along Cannery Row, hike in Pt. Lobos State Reserve south of Carmel.

San Francisco Bay Area
There are almost unlimited family activities in and around the the City. Take the ferry to Alcatraz Island and see the former prison. This is a very interesting tour!  Bicycle on Angel Island by taking the ferry from Tiburon in Marin County (across the Golden Gate Bridge). Go to the San Francisco Zoo.

Tour Golden Gate Park. The California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful, new, and fascinating place to spend the day. Check out their web site to see more about the Morrison Planetarium, the Natural History Museum, and the Steinhart Aquarium.

Other attractions are Mission San Francisco de Asissi, the Exploratorium, Bay Area Discovery Museum. A fun place to watch chocolate in the making is Ghirardelli Square. If you're interested in the tides and the bay, visit the scale model of the San Francisco Bay at the San Francisco Bay Model in Sausalito in Marin County.

Sacramento
Help us out here...what are your favorite places to take your family when you go to Sacramento?

California State Railroad Museum, FREE admission, http://m.csrmf.org

State Capitol Building

Old Town Sacramento

Sutter's Fort