Don’t feel like sitting on a plane for hours? Then a family road trip this spring break seems just right. Spend time exploring all that California has to offer, up and down the coast and accessible by car. We’ve gathered up some of our favorite Bay Area spring break ideas for you—pick one and leave the planning to us!
Make a Run for Mendocino
The glorious spot of white cragged cliffs on the Mendocino coast is a legendary haven for artists and romantics and also makes for a fantastic getaway spot for families. Enjoy a good old-fashioned road trip with a cruise up the coast. Then once you arrive, you can fill your days riding the railbikes, visiting with giraffes, hiking in Pygmy forests and hunting out hidden beaches.
For more info on what to do and where to stay, click here.
See the Bay from Marin
We love Cavallo Point Lodge for a staycation destination because it's right on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and the views are epic. In addition to on-site activities, you can visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum, go fishing, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy running around in the expansive grass.
Find more things to do in the Marin Headlands here.
Kick Back in Wine Country
Wine Country may sound like a parents’ perfect spring break destination but it also has loads to offer families who want to bring the kids along. Sign up for a safari and stay the night at Safari West and meet Deebo the baby giraffe, then grab some delicious grub at Boon Fly Café in Napa.
For kid-friendly winery options and other must-do activities, read here.
Wander Over to Yosemite
Yosemite is always the top of our list for spring break travel and this year is no different. We highly recommend the Yosemite Bug for your family's overnight destination as it has cabins where you can spread out, hiking trails onsite and even a restaurant if you want to have someone else do the cooking for you. Check out all our Yosemite recs here.
Take Off to Tahoe
If your idea of the perfect spring break includes fun in the snow, pack up the snow gear and strap on the snow chains and you are ready for a road trip to this winter wonderland. The north shore is full of kid-friendly hotel options like the Timber Creek Lofts at Northstar and the Village at Palisades Tahoe—both close to restaurants, shops and all the skiing you could want. We love the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe for all of the conveniences they offer from a rad kids club to ski valet so you don't ever have to schlep those skis. There are loads of snow parks near Tahoe for sledding and building snowmen.
For more info on what to do and where to stay, click here.
If visiting the state capital was on your bucket list, now you have good reason to go. Sacramento offers lots of family-friendly adventures for folks who’ve got train lovers, plane flyers and fairy catchers in the family. And the perfect way to end the day? At one of the many confectioner’s shops and at an Airbnb with a pool. Aww, sweet Sacramento.
For more information on what to do and where to stay, click here.
Pass Some Time in Pescadero
Between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz along Highway 1, you will find the tiny town of Pescadero tucked in off the road. It offers beaches for sunbathing and wooded state parks for hiking. Stay for the night at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel (now converted into vacation rentals) and then swing by the town for some artichoke garlic bread from Arcangeli Grocery. On your way out of town, stop at Harley Goat Farm to sample their wares and meet the baby goats.
For more options on what to do in Pescadero, read here.
Cruise on Down to the Central Coast
With epic beach towns like Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and Cambria all within a short drive from each other, the Central Coast is a great destination for spring break. Beach days, farm adventures and lots of delicious eats are guaranteed to be on the agenda. Bonus: it's the perfect time to check out the elephant seal pups sunning themselves on the sand. You can cruise down the Highway 1 Discovery Route for even more adventure.
We've got the full scoop here.
Head South to the Santa Ynez Valley
This midway point on your drive to Los Angeles is the perfect spot for an easy spring break destination. There are wine tasting spots that are perfect for kids to run around and restaurants where everyone can join in a game of cornhole before your meal arrives. OstrichLand is a must-do activity and Solvang is the perfect glimpse of a far-away land. If you have older kids, definitely book some time at Margarita Adventures ziplining course.
Read all about Santa Ynez here.
Make Your Way Down to Morro Bay
This quiet, seaside town is an easy three-hour drive south from San Jose and miles away from the hustle and bustle of Bay Area life. Book yourself on a whale watch tour or head out to explore the iconic Morro Rock. Fill up on seafood and saltwater taffy before you head home.
For tips on where to stay and how to spend your days in Morro Bay, click here.
Sparkling Stargazing in Death Valley
With some of the darkest night skys in the country, stargazing in Death Valley is one of the most out-of-this-world experiences ever and we have got the full scoop on how to do it in our full guide.
To Anaheim...& Beyond!
Even though its undeniable that the Mouse is King in Anaheim, there's so much more to Anaheim than just Disneyland. We explored it all and you will want to, too!
Book a Camper Van for the Weekend
There’s nothing like a family road trip to get everyone excited to check out another area of the country. For your next adventure, up your road trip game with a camper van rental from GoCamp. We checked out the “Airbnb of camper vans” for ourselves and would totally recommend it for your next family camping weekend. Here's the full scoop.
Book at Night in a Treehouse
You'll love pretending you are Swiss Family Robinson at these treehouses where you can stay the night.
Spring weather is unpredictable, but come rain or shine, you and your crew will be happy campers inside your temperature-controlled hideaway. From the new tent cabins at Wildhaven in Healdsburg, to the family-friendly cabins at Wylder Hope Valley, there are plenty of nearby spots that offer wilderness and views without the whole sleeping on the ground part.
For more nearby glamping options and cabin camping spots, click here.
Working Farm Weekend
If going totally off-grid sounds like a welcomed respite, then plan some time at one of these working farms. Kids can gather eggs, shadow farmers as they take care of the animals, help maintain the garden and learn all about what it takes to keep a farm going year-round. Naps in hammocks in the fresh air are strongly advised.
For more info, click here.
—Sandra Lee, Kate Loweth, Heidi Oleman & Erin Feher