Like many of our best discoveries, we stumbled upon the charming little town of Sausalito accidentally. Our children were complaining about walking all over the city of San Francisco, and how much their little tootsies hurt. I’m sure they were angling for a return to the hotel and some downtime involving an iPad, but we outfoxed them with a double-decker tour bus ride. The San Francisco double decker tour bus crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and then turns around in Sausalito for the return trip. In spite of being huddled together in pain from ears that were ringing from the whistling wind of the San Francisco Bay, we saw enough of the town that we knew we had to return for a proper visit. A little research discovered that there were plenty of fun things to do and places to eat in Sausalito.
Fun things to do in Sausalito with kids
What To Do in Sausalito
Visit the Sausalito houseboats
The 400+ Sausalito houseboats are located at the northern end of town in five marinas. If you have a car, it’s an easy exit of Highway 101. Enter via Gate 5, Gate 6 or Gate 6 1/2 road. I didn’t think it had the picture perfect charm of the Venice...
Orange County is the typical Southern California paradise that the world expects from SoCal. No wonder then that there have been so many recent television shows set in the area, including 4 seasons of the O.C. and reality television fodder, Laguna Beach, The Hills and The Real Housewives of Orange County. If people are going to be beautiful, wealthy and live a charmed life, the least they can do is let us watch them live out their lives and provide us with entertainment. So why should you visit? I’ve listed below 30 reasons to visit Orange County in California. Get off the couch, folks, and go live the life you see on television even if its only for a vacation.
Sunny, affluent Orange County is the dream California that advertisers sell.
The End of the Road
The famous Pacific Coast Highway ends at Dana Point in Orange County. If you’re going to do a road trip it makes sense to go to one end or another of the road, right? We did the smart thing and headed south on the PCH towards guaranteed sunshine in southern California.
Orange County is blessed with miles of sand and surf. But the kicker? It’s also got near-perfect weather all year-round so you...
The mind boggles when you think about how old the California redwoods are. When some of these trees in Muir Woods were saplings 900 years ago, the world would have been a vastly unrecognisable place. To put things in perspective, in 1144 AD, the French and Germans were off on a doomed Second Crusade. In 1150 AD Angkor Wat in Cambodia was completed as the Khmer empire reached its height. Nearly a millennium later, the Middle East is still a mess (albeit a different kind) and Angkor Wat is a well-trod tourist attraction.
We visited the California redwoods at Muir Woods with kids in tow because it was easily accessible to San Francisco. Even though we did not have time to visit Yosemite or the UNESCO world-heritage listed Redwood National Park, we still wanted our children to see a primeval forest.
Easy trails and its proximity to San Francisco make Muir Woods perfect for a family visit.
A Quick Intro to California Redwoods
Folk hero, Woodie Guthrie, wove the California redwoods into the American popular consciousness with his catchy song, This Land is Your Land. Luckily, the redwoods are mentioned in the first verse because, let’s face it, most people only know the first verse of a lot of songs.
“What would you recommend for lunch?”
“You mean, here?” The waiter responded as if startled by the question. “To eat?”
Considering I was sitting in a booth in his restaurant at lunchtime, it was my turn to be bemused.
After a pause, he said, “The breakfast here is really good.”
I did not find his opinion very helpful since I was at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo at lunchtime. Maybe he was feeling stroppy because he was not wearing lederhosen unlike the waitresses who were outfitted in drindl dresses.
Visiting the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obisbo which is quirky and fun for the whole family
I was at the Madonna Inn because so many people have Inn on their bucket list that I thought I really have to see it. So my husband and I went with another couple on a mini road trip from Santa Barbara where we were staying. We were so entranced by the experience that we took our children there for a meal when we visited the area again. Clearly, the dizzy waiter was part of the places’ oddball charm and did not affect our opinion of the place.
Boy is it odd. My experience with the waiter was just the beginning. Of course, the...
Visiting spooky places around the world with kids is a tricky proposition. It really does depend on your kid’s age and maturity, obviously. Despite being world travellers, my 11 year old kids are quite young at heart. They have an active imagination and can talk themselves into a panic attack. It’s a fine line between just plain creepy crossing the border into downright scary. We have never taken them to one of the haunted house attractions at a theme park (Disney’s Haunted Halloween doesn’t count). Yet, we have been to lots of spooky places as part of visiting museums, historic sites, famous homes and iconic hotels.
Lots of historic places have spooky stories behind them. Do you dare tell your kids?
Atlas Obscura’s Creepy Places in the World
When Atlas Obscura (the website) put out a book, I knew I had to get Atlas Obscura (the book). It’s subtitled “an Explorer’s Guide To The World’s Hidden Wonders” which sounds great if you are into quirky and off the beaten path places like we are.
The book has its share of spooky places, creepy locations and abandoned and mysterious places in the world. Of the 4 creepy places in the world we have been in this book, my children have been to...
As an American expat raising half-British children in England, I was curious about the list of Britain’s ultimate happy places on vacation when I saw it. After all, was I doing a good enough job making sure they felt British? I was pretty sure I was doing a good job on making them feel American but ideally I want them to appreciate all their cultural heritages. I have to agree with some of these choices for the best-loved British getaways in the UK. As for the places I haven’t visited, I will have to check them out (for thoroughness in research of course!).
What the British love most about vacations in Britain
The 30 Best Things To Do in Britain
Our score for the best things to do in Britain came in 10 out of 30 and that was stretching the very specific listing somewhat.
For example, we didn’t have a Cornish pasty in St Ives but we did have one in Padstow which is still Cornwall. In my books, that counts as a win! By the way, you have to have a Cornish pasty in Cornwall because the pastys they sell elsewhere in Britain are simply not as good.
We have also walked our dog on the Norfolk beaches, if...