65 Things to Do with Kids This Epic Summer

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The sun is out and summer is here! We are ready for exploring and adventures galore this summer and have collected our favorite Bay Area activities to share with you. Whether it is kayaking, sidewalk games to play at home, camping by the beach or even indoor activities for hot summer days, we found it all for you. Find your faves below!


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Children play on drums at Stern Grove
Stern Grove

1. Outdoor concerts are one of the best things about summer so you’ll definitely want to check out the Stern Grove Festival

2. Dining with views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Yes, please! This list has all the best outdoor dining spots.

3. Skip the produce aisle and head to a local farm to pick your own berries!

4. Gimme s’mores! You don’t have to go camping to get these ooey-gooey treats around town.

5. Try out one of these upscale fast food joints where the whole family will be happy.

6. Head to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Milpitas’ Great Mall.

7. Play tourist for a day and ride the carousel at Pier 39 and then check out what’s new at Fisherman’s Wharf. Don’t forget to visit the sea lions!

A tree house in WOod acre
AirBnB

8. Spend the night in a treehouse, literally! You’ll love the view!

9. Check out Quarry Park in Rocklin where you can zipline over the quarry!

10. Visit Japan without getting on a plane. You can get all the ramen, taiyaki and Sanrio you want in San Francisco’s Japantown.

11. Plan a wine country weekend and let the kids come along!

12. Spend a summer afternoon exploring these bike paths and bike parks that are perfect for the tiny two-wheelers.

13. Road trip time! Spend some time exploring these 10 California road trips.

14. Explore Marin county with our kid-friendly recs.

15. Check out Bill’s Backyard, the awesome outdoor discovery area at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

16. Cool down in calm waters. Check out one of these swimming beaches perfect for kids!

17. Grab your kids some free grub at these restaurants where the shorties eat free.

Wildhaven

18. Get your glamp on! Book a few nights at a nearby cabin, yurt, lighthouse or safari tent (with real bathrooms and showers!). We are especially looking forward to a return visit to Wildhaven in Healdsburg

19. Explore the great outdoors on a redwood hike, an urban hike , SF’s crosstown hike or hikes even the youngest hikers can enjoy.

20. Have the kids tried all of these iconic San Francisco desserts? What are you waiting for?

21. Bike rides, kayaking and awesome eats are waiting for you in Healdsburg.

22. See the world from the dinner table: Try a kid-approved exotic dish at a local restaurant to add some spice to your meal routine.

23. Touch a starfish! Head to a nearby tide pool and get up close and personal with local sea life.

24. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! If a day at the SF Zoo is in your future, read our guide so that you don’t miss any of the animal magic.

25. Jump in a kayak and explore your city by sea.

26. Talk about fresh eggs: spend the night at a nearby farm!

Kate Loweth

27. Explore a nearby national park, including ones that are alternatives to Yosemite.  

28. If you are set on visiting Yosemite this summer but didn’t get a reservation, here’s how you can still go!

29. Pint-sized Picassos and mini Monets will love these art centers where you can drop in for a day of inspiration.

30. Get your STEM on at these science centers from SF to Sausalito where the kids can learn about robots, animals, space and more.

31. Head to the Exploratorium where there’s science for everyone! 

32. Where’s the only place you can visit an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, all under one “living” roof? Our California Academy of Sciences guide is all you need to make the most of your visit. Plus, check out the brand-new Wander Woods, Hidden Wonders and Bugs exhibits.

33. Hop on a cable car and explore all that Market Street has to offer. Get the insider’s scoop here and save some time for a slice at Delarosa.

34. Check out a new museum on a free day or better yet, visit these museums that are ALWAYS free!

35. Ever enjoyed lunch while underwater bowling? Make your next meal out a memorable one (in a good way!) at one of these themed restaurants where there’s more than just burgers and fries.

A girl hiking at Lake Tahoe
Christine Lai

36. Plan an epic visit to Tahoe in the summer and then head to nearby Reno for even more adventure!

37. Plan the perfect picnic. We’ve got a shortlist of the best spots right here.

38. On a hot day, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the place to be. Get our tips on how to maximize your day there.

39. A day in Golden Gate Park doesn’t have to break the bank. It is full of free activities and sun shine. Summer is the perfect time for a visit.

40. Eat under the sun by dining at one of the Bay Area’s many kid-friendly breweries

41. Make this the summer the kids perfect their kicks. Enroll them in swim lessons at one of these trusted locations.

42. Crane Cove Park is open and you’ll want to check it out! 

43. Check out this list of all our favorite things to do in the Presidio including some brand-new bike paths and the newly opened Battery Bluffs. 

Kids play at the Magical Bridges playground in San Mateo
Christine Lai

44. Visit CuriOdyssey, climb the dragon-themed playground at Coyote Point and enjoy the uniquely-delicious waffles at Eggettes when you visit San Mateo.

45. Get some up-close-and-personal time with the animals at these wildlife centers.

46. Hop aboard these ships that offer a history lesson on the water.

47. Find out how your favorite foods are made, from jelly beans to fortune cookies, by going on a family-friendly food factory tour.

48. Make your way to the East Bay. Check out the playgrounds galore.

49. Take a trip to the islands without leaving the Bay Area—Alcatraz and Angel Island.

50. Pitch your tent at these campsites where you can hear the crashing waves as you curl up in your sleeping bag.

51. Two words: Ice Cream.

Children’s Creativity Museum

52. Check out the Children’s Creativity Museum and, of course, the carousel.

53. Check out Ghirardelli Square’s newly renovated chocolate experience space with a live chocolate creation bar and open-kitchen concept so kids can watch their world-famous sundaes being made.

54. Take the kids fishing.

55. Have the kids become Junior Park Rangers

56. Find opportunities for the family to volunteer together this summer.

57. Search for fairy houses all over the Bay. 

58. All aboard on these Bay Area train adventures.

A boy plays in a splash pad
iStock

59. Summer means it’s time to find a splash pad near you!

60. Take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge

61. Visit the newly renovated Junior Museum and Zoo.

62. Check out a food hall for a culinary trip around the world.

63. Plan on San Francisco staycation.

64. Fun after dark = family date night!

65. Explore a treetops adventure or rope course this summer.

—Christine Lai & Kate Loweth

RELATED STORIES
The Inside Scoop on the New Crane Cove Park (& Why You’re Gonna Love It)
Your Summer Is Made: 8 Sweet Vacation Rentals with Epic Pools
Call of the Wild: Summer Camps that Let Kids Get Dirty

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