As voted by Trekaroo families, here are the Reviews of the Day from back in the day to today.
This was our first outing to the ships, despite having walked past them dozens of times along the harbor. I'm go glad I finally just paid to board them! The Constellation was particularly awesome for my boys - so many nooks and crannies to explore, hammocks to try out. Wonderful history there - really, wonderful history everyone! My bigger boys liked learning the history of all the ships, they all appreciated that there was so much they were allowed to touch! The submarine was like heaven for my active kids.
I will note that there are lots of crazy ladders, we had many could-fall-to-your-death ladder moments with my crazy three year old twins, but we made it.
There is a restroom right outside the submarine/light ship.
You have to negotiate a gift ship at the end of both the Constellation and the Coastguard Cutter in order to exit, so just prepare yourself :)
The lighthouse was probably their least favorite, there wasn't as much to touch.
There is a nice little playground between the lighthouse and the Coastguard Cutter and lots of restaurants nearby.
We REALLY had a lot of fun on this visit - if your kids are interested in history or boating at all, this was a great hands-on experience.
This is a public pool in Black Mountain - it's right there by the Lake Tomahawk duck pond. It has been redone and it's sooo nice. It is zero entry and costs $3 to get in. It opens at 11am everyday!! It has 3 umbrellas that appear to drip water - just a very nice pool :) We also pack a picnic lunchwhen we go.
This little gem, came highly recommended to us by a friend and it lived up to the hype. We went Sunday around 11.
We were told for 6, the wait would be an hour and 15 minutes. We decided to wait it out because we had driven all the way down there especially for this brunch.
The kids were STARVING, so I went in to the little bakery that is attached and got a couple of coffee cakes; the blueberry-lemon and the brown sugar. The brown sugar was the favorite, but the blueberry didn't go to waste!
This place is a little deceiving, because from the outside it look like a Village Inn type place but the inside is really nice and almost fancy. I was a little worried about how it would go down with kids, because there weren't a lot there.
I was pleasantly surprised when the waitress came out with 3 etch-a-sketch for the big kids. They had a blast playing with them...total novelty item...it was great.
I got the Banana Bread French Toast and it was ah-maz-ing! The honey-pecan butter was so good, it was salty and complemented the sweet of the French toast.
My husband got the Mountain Man Hash and he was impressed with it. The kids got the French toast; the eggs and bacon and the grilled cheese sandwich. Next time, I would just get the two bigger kids a Banana Bread French Toast to share because they ate almost all of mine!
Another crowd pleaser was the Boylan soda they had. My husband got the root beer and it was unlike any root beer I have ever tasted...in a good way. We only wished we would have tried the other flavors.
So even though we waited here longer than we have waited for almost any other restaurant, it did not disappoint. (and I will add the smaller parties were seated in like 25-30 minutes)
We've been to this seashore many times and have had a lovely time whatever the weather. The National Park has restrooms and a large covered area on an otherwise completely barren island. The lighthouse is a fantastic backdrop (you do have to pay to climb to the top - and check their website because even in the summer it has closed days) but the beach itself is the draw. On the sound side - WARM water in the summer and it can get REALLY shallow at low tide. For the best shelling, hire a truck before you leave shore to drive you even further down the island (you can meet up with them near the visitor's center). At low tide you can find HUGE shells and the tide pools are magical.
Things to be aware of - there is no where to buy food or put trash. Whatever you think you need (including drinks), it is essential to bring from home. Same goes for sunscreen, beach toys, etc. The water in the sink in the bathroom by the visitor's center is potable but not cold or particularly tasty. This is primitive stuff here (which isn't for everyone but we really enjoy).
For all the ferries I know of, they drop you off on the sound side where you can either stay right there and play, take a truck, like I mentioned, or you can walk on a boardwalk over to the ocean side where there are typically huge waves and an amazing view. For my crew of smaller people, the sound side is much preferred although, if you stay near where the ferry drops you off, there will probably be a lot of boats anchored nearby. To have privacy you'll have to walk for a while schlepping all your stuff. But man, once you're settled? Totally worth it :)
This Redding area playground is a great one for kids and adults alike. During the summers there is a fountain that is called Fantasy Fountain. Its a mountain that sprays out water and provides a cool afternoon activity to help beat the heat (we get up to 110+ degrees here!). The playground has swings and slides, climbing walls and monkey bars. Everything you expect to find in a playground is there. Its a fun place to hand out and a great way to stay cool and get the energy of the little ones out.