Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little R and R
Help! We're trying to plan a vacation and I have no idea what I'm doing! You see, about 99% of our vacation time is spent visiting family in Idaho. Planning that trip is easy. Drive for 14-15 hours (depending on how many potty breaks are made). Stay with family. Eat family's food. Participate in activities planned by family. Have lots of fun. Drive home.
See? Easy! The route is always the same and there are no worries about lodging, food or activities! But we'd like to go on a family trip this year that will take us somewhere we've never been before. So, now I'm trying to plan a trip that will be fun for a 10 year old, an 8 year old and a 5 year old that doesn't involve Idaho (to any family that might be reading this (mainly my Mom)... don't worry! We're still planning on coming up sometime this summer...). It's not a huge gap between the ages, but it's enough that they really aren't interested in the same things.
Red would love a trip where he got to play video games the entire time. He does like to get out and play but, as I blogged about before, it's not cool to be seen with the family. But, if we have activities that he deems "cool enough", he may just consent to being seen with us in public WILLINGLY. Dude.
Little Bug would love a trip that had to do with animals. Zoos, aquariums, nature preserves... as long as animals are involved, he's a happy kid.
Baby Girl just likes to go and do fun stuff. If she can run around and be a little crazy, she's good.
Hubby and I wanted to take everyone here...
Mesa Verde Pictures, Images and Photos
(Mesa Verde)
But the hike to get to the cliff dwellings is steep. The hike involves going up and down several 8-10 foot ladders. Red would probably be okay. But I'm not sure about Little Bug or Baby Girl. We did a hike this last spring where we had to go up and down ladders and they both really struggled... I want everyone to have a good time, so I'm thinking we'll save this for when they are a little older and a little bigger.
Our tentative plan for now is this... first we're going to go here...
(Aquarium of the Pacific)
Then follow this...
101 Pictures, Images and Photos
...stopping along the way to play at various beaches. Then we'll go here...
Golden Gate Bridge Pictures, Images and Photos
I have no idea what we'll do in San Francisco, but it's somewhere we haven't been before. I found some great travel sites over at 3 Bay B Chicks that I'm going to check out. But I wanted to know if any of you have ever taken your kids to San Francisco or if you have been there on your own? What were the things you really enjoyed? What things were not as much fun? Where did you stay?
We don't want overload on activities during this trip, but we do want to have plenty of fun things to do. Any thoughts or ideas?


JustRandi said...

Hey! The Brain and I did the Mesa Verde trip about 5 years ago and it was SO fun!
There are a couple of tours where you have the ladders (which really, I promise aren't as bad as you're led to believe), but most of it is either driving around or a series of short easy walks on little paved paths. I remember seeing people in wheelchairs and they were doing great.

but you're right, maybe a little older would be more fun.

the rest of the trip looks like da bomb! I'm so jealous of your Californianess!

Rachelle said...

We did San Fran a few years back on our trip up the coast, eventually ending on the Oregon coast. There is so much to do, and our kids had a great time: Chinatown, GG bridge, the pier, the Oakland temple, Ghiridelli Square. You can't go wrong with SF. Red would think Alcatraz is cool enough to see with his parents (and the boat ride out to it is a plus.)

If you are heading up that way, might I suggest the Monterey Aquarium. It is awesome, and the seaside town of Monterey, made famous by Steinbeck's Cannery Row, was an absolute hit with my kids.

And there is Solvang, and Santa Barbara, and Big Sur, and Hearst Castle, and...

Road trips are the best!

Now you're getting my wanderlust going.

Yvonne said...

I'd say Rachelle has hit it all. We used to live in the Bay Area. It is a great place to visit. The kids would love it. I agree 100% about Monterey Aquarium--a definite must. I know you live near Disneyland, but Six Flags Marineworld (which I haven't been to in years) was fantastic. (I think my kids still go there). There is also the jelly belly factory in Fairfield.

Can't wait to hear what you plan and then what you do.

Holly said...

If you're driving up to SF, definitely stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's awesome. The SF zoo is ok, but the Oakland zoo is really cool. We were just there last April. The temple is fun, and near the Oakland zoo, which is just across the bay from SF.

Pier 39 is fun and there is an aquarium there now too. Alcatraz is a neat tour. I think Red would like it, especially the ferry ride.

And Yvonne is right, the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield is a ton of fun.

Shannan said...

I would also love to go to Mesa Verde, but my husband thinks it is too far to drive. And I love the Aquarium of the Pacific, although I have heard that the Monterey Aquarium is amazing, so I would go there if you are going that way. We did go to S.F. when we were first married and there was a lot to do, but the driving there freaked me out! Maybe it wouldn't so much now that I am used to the California drivers. :)

i said...

great way to plan a trip! oh thank heaven for blogland. in san fran. i got a kick out of the sea lion's at fisherman's warf. happy planning!

VeRonda said...

I know this is a lot, but Hubby and I enjoyed Jamaica and Belize... Jamaica is lively and fun for everybody. Belize is laid back, the people are so nice, and the kids could roam freely. I don't have any inside the US ideas... but, I'm sure Disney Land would be a hit, too.

Karen said...

All you CA people are making me jealous! Come on up to NH and I'll show you a good time!

Tracey said...

Oooh! Have fun!!

diana said...

i think san francisco is a great idea. the aquarium in monterey is really nice and it's next to the boardwalk/pier area where you can usually see sea lions and be near the water. and just driving up the coast will be nice.

san francisco does have a zoo but i've never been to it. we always go to the pier district. they have a lot of shops, fisheries, street artists, restaurants, and a wax museum (at least they used to).

there's also a amusement park down south from the city along the bay. i think it's called great american.

i'm sure you'll find other stuff, too. good luck. and i think we're going to try to go to mesa verde this summer. it's here in my state and we've never been.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

ACK! This is what I get for not being able to comment for the last few days. I missed this post. (Imagine me at my computer, frantically typing after reading this.)

You are coming to San Francisco??? You should have e-mailed me. If you are interested, I would be happy to recommend fun things to do. Maybe we could even meet up at Pier 39 or the SF zoo for some fun with our kids.

So glad to read that you will be visiting our neck of the woods. Let me know how I can help.


Christy said...

You are making me homesick with this trip... I grew up near SF so we love doing fun things with the kids when we go home... it's fun to "play tourist" after spending so much of your life there.

Along 101 I recommend Hearst Castle, Big Sur and definately the MOnterey Bay Aquarium. Haven't been to the one in Long Beach, but Monterey is AMAZING! Cannery Row is fun to walk around too.

Can't recommend too many southern beaches, but our regulars that we visited up North are Pescadero and Half Moon Bay. Be warned... Northern CA beaches and ocean are cold year round. They are more of a sand castle building kind of thing than a swimming thing.

I would definately do Pier 39, Ghiridelli Square, and Alcatraz. One place we took my kids on our last visit home was called "The Exploritorium". It's a kid friendly science museum right at the base of the GG Bridge that everyone in my family loved (even my 14 year old boy who doesn't like to be seen with us in public). Other places we love include Chabot Space and Science Center (in the hills above the Oakland Temple) and the Oakland Zoo. Of all the zoos in Bay Area, Oakland is my favorite. It's smallish, but everything is super close together and it's very friendly to families with small kids. The younger kids might like Tilden Park in Berkeley (near Oakland) too.

There are a couple of theme parks up north, Great America in Santa Clara and Marine World in Vallejo (they just changed the name, but I can't remember what the new name is). Marine World is more kid friendly than Great America. It has a wide assortment of rollar coasters and a ton of animal shows too. Great America is not as friendly for families (it's very similar to Magic Mountain.) And yes, stop at the Jelly Belly Factory - it's totally cool and FREE!

wynne said...

By the time I got here, you already posted about refunds being on hold and termites eating into the vacation'm not going to venture any advice on a family vacation. I don't have any to give, anyway, so it's just as well.