I know that for most of you with school-aged kids summer anxiety might be starting to set in. I just realized that my older one will be out of school in a little under 6 weeks and I’m already thinking about activities to keep us occupied during the summer. Since we love to travel, an activity for us really means a favorite place to go. Most of our favorite local places are outdoors since we enjoy such great weather in California.
My first and favorite activity should be obvious since we live in California. Our number one summer activity is always going to the beach! The boys love to play in the sand, build castles, watch the water and waves, and look out for good ol’ California sea life. A few of our favorite sandy spots are: Twin Lakes Beach in Santa Cruz, California
This beach isn’t very crowded but you will have to find parking on side streets and depending on the signs you may need a parking permit. We like to go on weekdays to avoid the weekend rush. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California
If you want to go to a beach to go to a beach, don’t go here. But if you want to go to a fun beach that is next to a wharf and boardwalk area, go here. We usually get a season pass here just to go and have amusement park fun next to the beach. We take turns between the beach and the boardwalk and it works out well, it’s convenient. At the end of the wharf there are usually sea lions! Cañada Verde Beach in Half Moon Bay, California
Half Moon Bay is a cute little town between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. This beach is situated a little south of it, near the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. It’s a little quieter than staying near downtown at some of the more popular beaches.
We really love hiking because it gets us out and active, and wears the boys down some. They can be really active at times and this helps them get their energy out. They love it because they love to enjoy about nature around them. Our favorite places to roam are: Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Los Altos, California
This is a large park with lots of trails, some flat and others not as much. It’s really close to our house so it’s very convenient for us since it doesn’t require a long drive and is just off the highway. There are some hills so it still makes us a little nervous to let Søren run free, but he enjoys to ride on our shoulders often so it spares our nerves a little bit. If you are there while it’s open, there is also Deer Hollow Farm for the little ones to enjoy. Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto, California
This area is entirely flat and is set within the San Francisco Bay Area’s marshland area. There are lots of birds and other smaller wildlife to see along with various different types of plants. The Lucy Evans Nature Center has a boardwalk behind it that the boys always love exploring. There is a platform at the end so you can watch wildlife and learn about the area. Rock City at Mount Diablo State Park in Clayton, California
This place is actually a drive for us, about an hour from our house. It’s locate within the Mount Diablo State Park and the drive up will reward you with some of the best views of the Bay Area. The rocks are a good mix for older and younger kids alike, though some trails can be quite steep. It can get crowded, so I’d suggest going early.
We also have lots of other small local parks that we like to enjoy as well. We like ones within walking distance for weekday picnics, bike rides, and a little time to unwind.
The Summer after I had Søren I was really worried that I would be tied up with a new baby and not able to engage Aiden as much as I wanted to so we signed him up for summer camp. I think he still recalls it as one of the best summer’s of his life, even better than last year’s trip to Scandinavia! Anyway, I know that technically camp isn’t a place, but it’s a nice more learning based activity that might give you a little break or free time that doesn’t involve parking your child in front of a screen.
I’ve really enjoyed sharing our favorite summer activities, it’s refreshing my brain for this Summer! Galileo made this post possible and I’m happy to let you know that they are offering you a discount for your child at one of their camps! Use the code 2014INNOVATION to receive $30 off (limit one per camper, Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest) Expires: May 31, 2014. Enter the code at sign up by clicking on the purple “sign up” button on the right-hand side of the page.
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