mcfam's Passport
 

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Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14

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About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
White Stallion Guest Ranch in Arizona
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:
www.atlasquest.com

mcfam's Lists

Christmas Holiday Events at Texas State Parks for families

Beauty and nature await families at the State Parks of Texas.  Many special holiday events are planned ranging from campsite decorating, pictures with Santa at the top of Franklin Mountains, or hikes with St. Nick.  Enjoy the beautiful season outdoors with your family this year! **Check websites for details on dates and times as information may change** Updated dates for 2014 season.

1. Abilene State Park
Public is invited to to tour the park free for...
2. Atlanta State Park
Christmas in the Park Dec. 12–13 Sunset – 9...
3. Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center
Christmas on the Border Dec. 17 6:30 p.m. Celebrate...

Holiday and winter activities at hotels in the Yosemite area

Winter is a beautiful time to visit Yosemite National Park with your family.  The park is much less crowded and beautiful nature awaits.  Many hotels and resorts offer fun, family-friendly activities during the winter months that families will love.  Here are some of them!

1. The Ahwahnee
Set in the heart of Yosemite Valley, this historic...
2. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
Winter activities abound at the Tenaya Lodge. The...
3. Evergreen Lodge - Yosemite
Join the Evergreen Lodge for fun family activities...

Christmas and Holiday events for Families in San Diego

Looking for a special event to celebrate the holidays and Christmas while in San Diego?  Here are some ideas of places to find activities, festive lights and decorations and events to thrill your kids and family.  Check websites for specific dates. Happy Holidays!

1. San Diego Botanic Gardens
The GARDEN OF LIGHTS takes place every evening from...
2. Seaport Village
SURFIN' SANTA arrives to Seaport Village with a...
3. San Diego Zoo
JUNGLE BELLS is a special holiday season occurring at...

Christmas and Holiday fun for families in Orange County, CA

November and December are chock full of parades, shows, special events, and beautiful decorations to celebrate holiday season and Christmas in Orange County, California.  If you are looking for some holiday fun with your family, check out these great events.

1. Irvine Spectrum Center
The HOLIDAY ICE RINK is open daily for family skating...
2. Newport Center - Fashion Island
A CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING happens every night at 5pm...
3. The Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy
A winter wonderland awaits with exhibitions of...

Holiday Magic at the Disneyland Resort

Beginning mid-November through early January the holidays are celebrated in spectacular decorations, special events, parades, and attractions at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.  Memories are waiting to be made with your family this year in this winter wonderland.

Updated information for the 2014 holiday season.

1. Main Street, U.S.A. - Disneyland
Experience a magical snowfall each evening on Main...
2. Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle - Disneyland
Sleeping Beauty's Castle is decked in snow and lights...
3. "it's a small world" Holiday - Disneyland
Special holiday tunes and thousands of lights delight...

Favorite Family- Friendly Hotels in San Diego, California

These are the hotels personally vetted by the Trekaroo team as being family-friendly and excellent places to stay when visiting San Diego. Enjoy your next vacation!

1. Glorietta Bay Inn
Located across the street from the Hotel del Coronado...
2. Omni San Diego Hotel
Downtown location with pedestrian ramp to Petco Park....
3. The Grand Del Mar
Luxury accommodations and kid-friendly activities...

Multicultural Dining at Diamond Jamboree Irvine, CA

Find a variety of multicultural dining and shopping venues. Cuisine comes from Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, China, Thailand, and France, with a Cajon-influenced eatery. Visit the world at this small shopping center!

1. Ajisen Ramen
Taste traditional Japanese curries, tonkatsu and...
2. Balcony Grill & Bar
Authentic Japanese Yakitori, Taiwanese Stir Fry, and...
3. BBQ Chicken
Korean style fried chicken.

Pumpkin patches for kids and families in Orange County, CA

Fall is in the air and the pumpkins are ripe for picking.  Pumpkin patches provide a host of fun activities for little ones, big kids, and are great places to take adorable pictures of your kiddos!  Find one near you this fall and enjoy an outing with your family.

1. Enchanted Country Pumpkins
Pick out a pumpkin and enjoy rides and inflatables....
2. Irvine Park Railroad
Irvine Regional Park admission: $3 weekdays, $5...
3. Johnson Brothers – Irvine
Free parking and free admission. Many activities...

Pumpkin Patches and Harvest Festivals in Los Angeles

They may not have grown on the vine in Los Angeles, but the pumpkins at these patches will still delight your kids.  There is often a few rides, face paintings, and other things to make it a fun afternoon or evening out.  There are a couple of true grown-on-the-farm patches in Los Angeles to make this list complete.

1. Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Patch
Choose a pumpkin right from the patch and then have...
2. Calabasas Pumpkin Festival
One weekend in October, enjoy an amazing festival...
3. Cottone & Sons Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Trees
After a pony ride, a visit to the petting zoo, or a...

Pumpkin Patches & Farms for Families in the San Diego Area

Orange pumpkins start popping out everywhere in October, and wherever they are found, lots of fun activities abound.  Kids and families love the corn mazes, petting zoos, bounce houses, and pony rides that go along with picking out a pumpkin to carve.  Here are some family-friendly pumpkin patches in the San Diego area.  Write a review and let us know whether you liked them!

1. Bates Nut Farm
Open end of September to October 31, 9:00 AM to 5:00...
2. Farm Stand West
U-Pick pumpkin patch during the month of October....
3. Julian Mining Company
A U-Pick (from the field) pumpkin patch opens end of...

Free Activities for kids & families in Orange & LA Counties

We love to find fun and free things to do nearby our home.  We live in Southern Orange County so this list is not exhaustive to all free things in these 2 counties.  It is a list of things we have found to do near us that we enjoy and are free.

These activities would be suited for a wide variety of ages of children, but especially ages 2-12.  We did not include parks, beaches or shopping areas in this list.  If there is a free activity that you would like me to add to this list, please send me a message.  We hope this helps you and your family enjoy some fun activities for free!

1. Balboa Island
After you drive across the bridge on Jamboree Rd. and...
2. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Interpretive Center
We came on a homeschool field trip to this tidal...
3. Centennial Farm
This working farm in the heart of Orange County is a...

Free Museums for Kids in San Diego all October

Have you been itching to take your son or daughter to a fabulous museum in San Diego along with a trip to LEGOLAND or the San Diego Zoo?  This October, many museums are offering free admission for kids.  YES, FREE FOR KIDS!  Check out these great museums.  Find out more information at http://www.sandiego.org/promotions/kids-free.aspx  These are the museums offered in October 2013

1. Barona Cultural Center & Museum
One free admission for children age 12 and under with...
2. California Surf Museum
Kids age 12 and under receive free entry with the...
3. Coronado Museum of History and Art
Children age 12 and under receive free entry with a...

Free Attractions for kids in San Diego all October

Have you been wanting to take your kids to LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo?  There is no better time than October because kids are free.  YES, KIDS ARE FREE!!  San Diego is absolutely beautiful during the month of October.  The weather is typically sunny and warm and perfect for visiting all the fun attractions that are family-friendly.  Check out these amazing destinations that welcome kids in for free in San Diego.  For more information, visit: http://www.sandiego.org/promotions/kids-free.aspx
These events are offered October, 2014

* On the Pacific Surfliner, one child ages 2-15 rides free with each adult rail fare purchased for travel to and from Oceanside, Old Town San Diego and San Diego Downtown station. You can travel from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange County and points in-between. Valid for travel October 1-31, 2014 and three (3) day advance reservations are required.

1. Bahia Bell Boat Cruise
One child free per paid adult on the Bahia Belle...
2. Belmont Park
Kids can ride free, play laser tag free, and eat free...
3. Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Children age 12 and under receive free entry with the...

Best Hotels near Disneyland Resort by Parent Reviews

There are good hotels and then there are AWESOME hotels and you can find them all near Disneyland and California Adventure. Here is a list of all the hotels with a 4+ star rating and a synopsis of why they have gotten great reviews from parent reviewers.

All hotels listed have either received 3 or more reviews with a 4 + star average rating or have had 1 comprehensive review with a 4+ star rating.

Hotels are arranged by average price point - Highest to Lowest

1. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
A grand lobby with beautiful elements including a...
2. Disneyland Hotel
Located at the end of Downtown Disney and within a...
3. Desert Palms Hotel & Suites
True suite options with separate sleeping rooms. Bunk...

Walking Tour in Downtown Los Angeles with Kids

Enjoy some fun walking around Downtown Los Angeles with kids. There is history to discover, great architecture, fountains, and open space.

Drive in and find a parking spot in one of the many lots. Check websites for good prices before going. Or take the metro/subway in to one of the downtown stations and enjoy a car-free day in Downtown LA.

Several agendas from what is listed below that are about a 3 mile walk.
* Last Bookstore, Bradbury Building, Grand Central Market (lunch), City Hall, Grand Park, Watercourt Plaza, Angels Flight, and back to parking near Last Bookstore.
* Cathedral, Music Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, MOCA, Watercourt Plaza, back to Grand Park, and back to Cathedral.
* Central Library, Bunker Hill Steps, Watercourt Plaza, Angels Flight, Grand Central Market, Bradbury Building, Pershing Square, and back to the Central Library.

1. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Take a guided tour at 1pm Monday - Friday or a self...
2. Music Center
Explore the grounds of the Music Center outside the...
3. Grand Park
Across the street from the Music Center is where the...

Easter Egg Hunts: Los Angeles & Santa Barbara, CA

Many cities, parks and resorts offer Easter Egg Hunts, brunches and activities that kids and parents love.  This is a list to get you started in finding an activity near your hometown or your Easter vacation destination in Southern California and parts of the Central Coast.

1. Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens
Beatrix Potter In The Garden. Saturday of the...
2. Blind Children's Center
A Beeping Egg Hunt. Sponsor a beeping egg designed...
3. Descanso Gardens
Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt. Reservations required....

Easter Egg Hunts & Activities in San Diego, CA

Have fun hunting Easter Eggs and meeting the Easter Bunny in San Diego, and Southern California.
Updated for 2014

1. Dos Picos County Park
Join the annual egg hunt and meet the Easter Bunny....
2. Hotel del Coronado - A KSL Luxury Resort
Easter Sunday Egg Hunts and delicious Champagne...
3. La Jolla Recreation Center
Meet Peter Rabbit and bring a basket to hunt for...

Easter Egg Hunts & Activities in Orange County, CA

Have fun hunting Easter Eggs and meeting the Easter Bunny in the cities of Orange County, CA and Southern California.
Updated for 2014

1. Easter Eggstravaganza - Irvine Park Railroad
Enjoy the Easter Extravaganza each spring. The...
2. Etnies Skate Park
Annual Spring Skate Egg Hunt. Visit the...
3. Grand Park
Community Spring Celebration & Pancake Breakfast A...

Visit LA's Ethnic Neighborhoods & Cultures with Kids

Los Angeles is a true melting pot of cultures from around the world. There are distinct neighborhoods in Los Angeles and surrounding counties where cultures and ethnic groups have gathered and have opened shops, restaurants, and museums. These places are great to visit with kids.

1. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument / Olvera Street
Come to this world-renowned Mexican marketplace that...
2. Avila Adobe
Walk through the oldest standing building in LA built...
3. Mariachi Plaza
This is a good place to see Hispanic culture in...

Hollywood Activities Fun for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

See the stars in Hollywood with these great tips and places to go.

NOTE: When walking the streets on Hollywood Blvd (between the Hollywood & Highland Complex and the Chinese Theatre) there are many impersonators dressed in costumes. If you take a photo with them, they will expect a tip. Also note, people may be handing out CDs and other things... they will also want tips for their work.

This is a fun place to explore with kids, but hold tight to kids when the sidewalks are crowded with people.

1. Walk of Fame
Look for your favorite stars found on street...
2. Hollywood & Highland Entertainment Complex
Restaurants, candy stores, and speciality shops are...
3. TCL Chinese Theatre
Walk down to the Chinese Theatre (previously known as...

Choose and cut Christmas Tree Farms in San Diego, CA

Nothing beats the pine scent of a fresh cut Christmas tree!  A family outing to a U-Cut Christmas Tree Farm can include fun events such as hay rides, hot cocoa, and visits with Santa.  We have gathered information on Christmas Tree Farms in San Diego to give families ideas of great places to visit this Christmas season.  Because of the moderate San Diego weather, many include pre-cut firs as well as the typical U-cut Monterey Pines, and some may have living Christmas Trees to plant after the season.  Merry Christmas!

1. Family Christmas Tree Farm
Choose and cut your own Christmas Tree from acres of...
2. House Evergreen Forest
Choose and cut from Monterey Pines. Trees over 10ft....
3. Mission Hills Nursery
Precut Christmas trees and living Christmas trees are...

Sports Venues in Texas that Families Enjoy

Take your kids out the ballgame! Or enjoy some good 'ol Cowboys football! Or a local college team!
Here's some great places to enjoy sports with kids in the great state of Texas.

1. Dallas Cowboys
Watch the Dallas Cowboys play football on their home...
2. Texas Rangers
Enjoy baseball with your kids. Reduced ticket prices...
3. Houston Astros Baseball
Join the Astros Kid's Club for special deals and fun....

Spooky Attractions in San Diego for Halloween

It's frightfully fun to get scared half to death... at least some people think so.  If you are one of them, and you have kids that can handle the screams, check out these events in San Diego.  Parental caution encouraged.

1. Scream Zone Del Mar
Designed for teens and adults, this is a large...
2. Haunted Hotel
The longest running haunted house in San Diego and...
3. The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
A mile long stroll through Balboa Park through a...

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort

Disneyland and California Adventure take on a whole new world of pumpkins and spooky fun during Halloween Time, mid September until October 31.  
The Festival of Pumpkins fills Main Street with over 300 distinctively carved pumpkins and fall decorations, including a 12 foot-high Mickey Mouse shaped jack-o-lantern.

1. Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Roundup - Disneyland
Fun Halloween celebration with Woody and Jessie....
2. Cafe Orleans - Disneyland
Seasonal gingerbread beignets are available.
3. Candy Palace - Disneyland
Enjoy the Halloween themed candied apples at the...

Great Aquariums in Southern California: San Diego, LA, & OC

View amazing marine life at these great aquariums in Southern California. Kids and families will love them!

1. Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific
A large aquarium with many exhibits that fascinate...
2. SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld offers incredible displays of marine life...
3. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
This aquarium is FREE! Yes, free! Donations are...

U-Pick Orchards in the Flathead Lake Valley, Montana

Cherry trees and apple trees grow abundantly around Flathead Lake and the surrounding valley. Picking season comes later, in July and August. Here are the U-Pick orchards offering cherries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, and more for families to enjoy.

Make sure to call before you visit to check on availability of fruit and when they are open.

1. Getman's Cherry-Red-Orchard
U-pick available by appointment. Call 406-871-5499....
2. Fat Robin Orchard & Farm
Call first for weekend picking. 406.887.2869...
3. Hockaday Orchards
Open for 1 week - 10 days while cherries last in...

U-Pick Apples in San Diego County and Julian

Julian may be known as an apple town... or at least one of the best places to get apple pie in San Diego County. But families will love the fun of picking apples together right off the tree at these farms.

1. Apple Starr Orchards
A certified organic orchard offering pears and apples...
2. Calico Ranch Orchard
Apples and pears available for U-Pick starting the...
3. MJ Ranch
U-pick hours from 10am-5pm on September 7 & 8 - 14 &...

Discounted Family-Friendly Travel So. California Fall 2013

It's not too late to enjoy some summer sun and fun in Southern California. Check out these deals at some family-friendly locations.

1. The Queen Mary
Take your kids for FREE to the Queen Mary and enjoy...
2. Hotel del Coronado - A KSL Luxury Resort
There are lots of deals at the Hotel del Coronado...
3. The Grand Del Mar
Relax at this triple Five-Star resort that is grand...

DC National Mall Jr. Ranger Activities for Kids and Parents

Kids can get their Jr. Ranger badges in DC! The National Mall is managed by the National Park service and rangers are on hand to answer questions and teach kids and parents about the memorials to visit.

Start either at the NPS webpage to print out a book, or go to the NPS booth near the Washington Monument (recommended because they usually have books). Or ask any of the rangers for a book. Then check out the amazing memorials in Washington DC, answer the questions in the booklet, and turn it in (or mail it in) for your own National Mall badge. Be sure to collect the park stamps at each of the memorials. Have fun!

1. Washington Monument
This is the recommended place to pick up a Jr. Ranger...
2. Constitution Gardens
A quiet, park like setting with an island in the...
3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall)
Walk down along the long black wall to see the names...

Road Trip from SoCal to Montana on I-15

It's a LONG trip, but it's a memorable one! Our family took this trip in the summer of 2012 and broke it up with 2 nights in a hotel. There are too many stops listed to make it doable in that amount of  time so choose the ones that work for your family.

Activities, restaurants, and hotels are listed along the way to make it fun with kids, and great for parents. The stops are in order from south to north (SoCal to Montana)

1. California Route 66 Museum
Get your kicks at this Route 66 museum. See an...
2. Barstow Station McDonalds
This isn't just a McDonalds. This is a huge...
3. Calico Ghost Town
A ghost town to explore that celebrates the past of...

Family friendly camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Our family loves camping in Kings Canyon National Park.  It's honestly our favorite place to spread our tent under the stars and next to the roaring Kings River.  Kings Canyon is officially part of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.  It's location is down in a beautiful and deep canyon formed by the Kings River.  It's actually deeper than the Grand Canyon!  This list compiles the campsites and activities near it that we love to do as a family.  
** TO NOTE: The road into Kings Canyon is only open from late April to November due to the potential of rock slides onto the roads with inclement weather.

1. Sheep Creek Campground
First-come, first-served campground. Flush toilets,...
2. Sentinel Campground
First-come, first-served. Flush toilets, running...
3. Moraine Campground
A group campground with first-come, first-served...

Beach Campgrounds in SoCal that families love

Camping by the beach can bring days of fun playing in the waves and watching the stars at night. But not all beach campgrounds are family-friendly. Here are some that Trekaroo families love.

1. San Elijo State Beach Campground
Campgrounds are set on a bluff overlooking the...
2. Refugio State Beach Campground
3. Leo Carillo State Park Campground
A campground with beach access and views. Campground...

Beaches of Los Angeles County

Los Angeles has a beautiful and varied coastline which starts at the rugged mountains of Malibu and extends to the rocky shores of Rancho Palos Verdes.  West and South facing beaches can be found with miles of sand, tide pools, piers, and surfers.  This is a comprehensive list of all of the beaches in Los Angeles County.  They are listed in order from North to South.

1. Leo Carillo State Park
2. Nicholas Canyon County Beach
3. El Matador State Beach

Mother's Day Brunches in San Diego, CA

Looking for that special place to take mom for Mother's Day.  Here are some ideas for the San Diego area.  Enjoy celebrating mom!

Updated for May, 2013

1. Bellefleur Restaurant
Enjoy the Sunday brunch from 10am - 2pm with...
2. Flagship Cruises & Events
Champagne Brunch Cruise on Sunday, May 12. Enjoy a...
3. Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
Mother's Day Champagne Brunch on Sunday, May 12,...

Mother's Day Fun Activities to Enjoy in San Diego, CA

Take your mom to one of these fun and beautiful places in San Diego to celebrate her on Mother's Day! Spas, beaches, parks, hiking, shopping, and more!

1. Balboa Park
The Spreckels Organ Society will host Carol Williams,...
2. Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
njoy the last day of the season this year on Mother's...
3. Heritage Walk and Escondido’s Historical Society Museum
16th Annual Mother's Day Home Tour, Sunday May 12...

Mother's Day Fun Activities to Enjoy in Orange County, CA

Take your mom to one of these beautiful places, relaxing spas, or exciting activities to celebrate her for Mother's Day.

1. Balboa Island
Enjoy a stroll on the paved path around this island...
2. Corona Del Mar Beach and Tidepools
Grab a picnic lunch and head down to the tidepools of...
3. Disneyland Park
The "Happiest Place on Earth" is magical for moms too!

Mother's Day Brunches in Orange County, CA to Enjoy

Looking for a special place or fun activity to celebrate the mom in your family?  Orange County is full of wonderful restaurants with delicious brunches or meals.  Here is a list of some places to celebrate mom in this beautiful part of Southern California.

Updated for Mother's Day, 2013

1. Back Bay Bistro
Sunday brunch, May 12 from 10 am - 2:30 pm. A "Top...
2. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art and Kidseum
Dine in the Bowers museum's Mission-style courtyard...
3. The Cannery Newport
Enjoy brunch at this historic landmark on the water...

Follow the Montana Dinosaur Trail with Kids

13 museums and stops throughout Montana will thrill kids and families as they see huge, and sometimes complete, dinosaur fossils. Many dinosaur specimens have been found in this large state and there are many amazing places to see them.
Don't forget to pick up a Passport at one of the stops to collect stamps, learn cool facts, and earn great prizes if you complete it. Take a road-trip and see them all!
Find out more at: http://mtdinotrail.org

1. Carter County Museum
Dinosaurs to see: skeleton of Anatotitan copei (one...
2. Phillips County Museum
Dinosaurs to see: 33-foot long skeleton of "Elvis"...
3. Great Plains Dinosaur Museum & Field Station
Dinosaurs: Triceratops, Stegosaurus, sauropod &...

Great rides for the whole family at California Adventure

Nothing is more disappointing than having to measure little kids to see if they can ride, only to find out they are too small.  However, being an adult and riding little kiddie rides all day is not a good way to have fun.

Disney has created a lot of fun attractions that are great for the whole family.  Here is a list of rides that just about anyone can ride and that are fun for the whole family!

1. Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue- CA Adventure
Adults will enjoy the puns located throughout the...
2. Aladdin- A Musical Spectacular - California Adventure
It's like watching a Broadway show in 20 minutes....
3. Disney Junior- Live on Stage!- Disney California Adventure
Favorite Disney Junior characters sing and dance and...

Activities to Learn History in Montana for Families

History can come alive for kids when they visit the actual places and see where the people of stories have lived. There are lots of historical places in Montana that are kid friendly and will bring the stories to life.

1. First People's Buffalo Jump State Park
Learn how the Native Americans hunted buffalo and...
2. Last Chance Tour Train
Take a train ride through Helena to learn the history...
3. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
Find out all about Lewis and Clark's travels west and...

Indoor Bounce Houses in Orange County, CA

Kids love jumping and parents love the indoor bounce houses for their safety, fun activities and great party atmosphere.  Whether you are looking for a place to spend a few hours on a rainy day, or a place to host a fabulous kid party, here's a list of bounce houses in Orange County, CA.  

Please check websites for details on hours and pricing for open play times.  All listed are available for parties.

1. Jump Sky High
Trampoline walls and floors... for mega jumping fun!...
2. Pump It Up - Lake Forest
A large warehouse space filled with giant slides,...
3. Pump It Up - Irvine
A large warehouse space filled with giant slides,...

Indoor Playgrounds and Bounce Houses in Los Angeles

These great centers are kid-focused and provide a clean place to play, jump, run and have fun.  Most are equipped for parties and may offer other classes.  Most have drop in play times.  Check website for details on hours and prices.

1. Scooter's Jungle
Huge indoor play structures with slides, bounce...
2. Giggle N' Hugs
A children's restaurant AND play space. What fun!
3. Peekaboo Playland
A unique play space designed to ignite children’s...

Hotels and Lodging in Glacier National Park for families

There is a great selection of lodging in Glacier National Park from the rustic motor inn to the grand Swiss chalets.  Many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All are nestled amid the majestic mountains, quiet pines, and beauty of Glacier National Park, and most have fantastic lake front property.

1. Apgar Village Lodge
Set along the southern shore of Lake McDonald with 28...
2. Village Inn at Apgar
A 36-room, two-story motor inn with views of Lake...
3. Lake McDonald Lodge
An historic Swiss Chalet set on the eastern shore of...

Tent & RV camping in Glacier National Park for families

There are many campgrounds in Glacier National Park that are great for camping with kids whether in a tent or RV. Here are the campgrounds that are accessed on paved roads.  Check each site for details on where RVs are allowed, fees, reservations, etc. For more info, check out: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/camping.htm

1. Apgar Campground
Open May - Oct.; first come, first served; 192 sites;...
2. Avalanche Campground
Open June - Sept.; first come, first served; 86...
3. Fish Creek Campground
Open June - Sept.; Reservations can be made through...

Celebrate the New Year as a family in San Diego, CA

Ring in the New Year with your own noise makers or watch the fireworks over SeaWorld or LEGOLAND early in the evening.
On New Year's Day, make new memories with your kids with an outing to one of these fun activities.

1. Cabrillo National Monument
Drive out to the Point of San Diego and enjoy amazing...
2. Mission Beach City Beach
Every day is a perfect beach day in San Diego, even...
3. San Diego Zoo
Visit the amazing variety of animals at the zoo and...

Celebrate New Year's Eve as a family in Orange County, CA

Ring in the New Year with your kids at one of these family-friendly venues.  Goodbye 2012, Welcome 2013!!

1. Orange County Great Park - Kids Rock Playground
Celebrate New Year’s Eve all before 10pm with live...
2. Discovery Science Center
Regular admission grants guests to join in for a...
3. Disneyland Park
Enjoy special musical events and a fireworks...

Joshua Tree National Park - A Day venture for Family Fun

Visiting Joshua Tree for a day or more is a great adventure for families.  With lots of hiking, rock climbing and scrambling, camping, there is plenty of fun to be had.  Joshua Tree is about 2 hours from Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Orange County, and makes for a great Day Venture for families.

1. Joshua Tree National Park
A large desert area protected by a National Park and...
2. Cottonwood Visitor Center - Joshua Tree NP
A Visitor Center located at the southern portion of...
3. 49 Palms Oasis - Joshua Tree NP
A 3 mile round trip hike to several stands of fan...

Restaurants in San Diego serving families Thanksgiving

Many restaurants and resorts are serving up Turkey dinners with all the fixins' for Thanksgiving Day, 2012.  If you are looking for a great place to eat in San Diego with your kids, this is the place to start!  Yum! (Updated for Thanksgiving 2012)

1. Amaya
This 5 star restaurant located at The Grand Del Mar...
2. Bertrand at Mister A's
Enjoy a large Thanksgiving Day menu with choices such...
3. San Diego Zoo
The Treetops Banquet Room in the San Diego Zoo is...

Consignment Stores for Kids in Orange County, CA

Parents can find some of the best bargains at consignment stores.  These stores buy and sell used baby gear, clothing, children's clothing, toys, and more.

1. Children's Orchard
This consignment store is one of several locations in...
2. Kids Gallery Children Resale Store
A children's consignment store with clothing, shoes,...
3. Mother's Secret Thrift Store & Consignment
A thrift store that carries clothing from infant to...

Toy stores in Palm Springs and desert areas, CA

Looking for a quality gift, or a fun place to spend some time with your kids in the Palm Springs area?  Check out these fun toy stores.

1. Funny Toys
A toy store with board games, hobby toys, unique...
2. Mr. G's for Kids
A large toy store with a wide variety and selection.
3. Toys R Us
A large chain store with a wide variety of toys.

Toy Stores Familes Love in Orange County, CA

Thomas Trains! Books! Dollhouses! Find unique and wonderful toys that your kids will love at these great toy stores in Orange County, CA

1. Acorn Naturalists
A science and nature gift and book store with nature...
2. Bears Buddies & Toys
Have a hosted birthday party here or shop for fun...
3. Granola Babies
A boutique offering naturally made toys along with...

Consignment Stores For Kids in San Diego, CA

Great steals and deals can be found at consignment stores where gently used clothing and toys are sold for a fraction of the original price.  Some even buy clothes from parents.  Check websites for details.

1. The Baby Exchange - Children's Resale
Buys baby gear. Sells gently used maternity, baby,...
2. Baby Go Round
A children's resale store with clothing, toys, and...
3. Buggies and Babies
Buys and sell baby gear including strollers, car...

Places to Volunteer as a Family in Orange County, CA

Serve others in love with your kids and see what a difference you can make.

1. Families Forward
Donate food or "Adopt-A-Family" through this...
2. Feed the Children
Volunteer to package food and other items to...
3. Giving Children Hope
Volunteers are needed to fill backpacks for homeless...

Places to Volunteer as a Family in San Diego, CA

Serve and volunteer with your kids at your side and help them see first hand what a difference you can make.  

1. Adopt-A-Beach
Adopt a beach, river, or waterway to make for a...
2. American Cancer Society
Help with many different programs. Join the "Relay...
3. Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank
Help the Food Bank through their various programs or...

Tide pools in Orange County, CA that families love

At low tide, the rocks and crevices of the beach can reveal tiny creatures that are beautiful to see.  Exploring these tide pools is a great activity with kids!  As a best practice, don't remove rocks, shells or anything else from tide pools.  

1. Corona Del Mar Beach and Tidepools
"Little Corona" is located down a ramp from the end...
2. Crystal Cove State Park
Each of the 4 entry points have good beach access and...
3. Crescent Bay Beach
There are great tide pools both at the north and...

Orange County Beaches that are kid-friendly

Great beaches for families who visit or live in Orange County, CA

1. Sunset County Beach
A long stretch of sand with limited free street...
2. Bolsa Chica State Beach
A long stretch of sand with metered parking and RV...
3. Huntington City Beach
A beautiful stretch of sand and beach famous for...

Tide-pools that are Kid Friendly in San Diego

Kids love walking through the waves and searching the rocks for the hidden crabs, sea anemones, and star fish of tide pools.  There are quite a few great tide pools in San Diego County.  Check tide charts online to find a good time to go at low tide.

1. San Onofre State Beach
Enter this state beach via Basilone Road off I-5. A...
2. Swami's Beach
Descend the wooden stairs from the parking lot to the...
3. Cardiff State Beach
At the south parking lot, there is an area of tide...

Northern San Diego Beaches that Families Love

Long stretches of clean sand and beautiful waves make San Diego a beach paradise for families.  These beaches are listed in order from north to south starting in Oceanside and ending in Del Mar.
For the beaches of Central and Southern San Diego from La Jolla down to Imperial Beach, check out this list: http://www.trekaroo.com/lists/san-diego-beaches-that-families-love

1. Harbor Beach
Located next to Oceanside Harbor, this wide stretch...
2. Breakwater Way Beach
This is a quieter beach just north of Oceanside Pier...
3. Oceanside Beach
This is a very popular and fun summer beach with...

San Diego Beaches that Families Love

Just about every day of the year in San Diego is the perfect day to visit the beach.  Miles of sandy beaches, waves, and family-friendly perks (great parking, restrooms) await.  Here are the beaches of San Diego listed from La Jolla to the north and Coronado and Imperial Beach to the south.
For the beaches of Northern San Diego (Oceanside to Del Mar), please check out this list: http://www.trekaroo.com/list/northern-san-diego-beaches-that-families-love

1. Torrey Pines State Beach and Reserve
The northern section is a popular beach with...
2. La Jolla Shores Beach
This beach has is a mile long crescent of prime sand...
3. La Jolla Cove Tidepools
This north facing cove has a fine little beach with...

Fun Places to Trick-or-Treat in San Diego, CA

Looking for a fun and safe place to take your kids trick-or-treating this Halloween?  Here are some fun... and some free... ideas.  

Favorite neighborhoods that are popular for families looking for a fun place to get lots of candy in a safe environment:
* La Jolla Village * Ocean Beach * Pacific Beach * Kensington * Carmel Mountain

1. Carmel Mountain Plaza
Kids 12 and under are invited to Trick-or-Treat,...
2. Downtown Coronado
Trick-or-treat at participating businesses in...
3. Legoland
Visit LEGOLAND on Saturdays in October and have fun...

Great places to Enjoy Animals for kids in Los Angeles

Kids and animals go together like watermelon and the 4th of July.  It just is too fun to see kids eyes light up at the huge size of elephants, and giggle at the antics of cats.  More than just a zoo, these locations around Los Angeles can be fun outings to visit animals with kids.

1. Brentwood Country Mart
Saddle up for a pony ride and pet the farm animals...
2. Danny's Farm
Special needs kids will find this petting zoo to be...
3. Griffith Park Pony Rides
Saddle up like a cowboy in this expansive park of Los...

Birthday Party Spots for Kids in Los Angeles County

Looking for a fun place to celebrate your child's birthday?  From trains, to parks, to bounce houses, and more, Los Angeles has a wide variety of great spots to enjoy.  

1. American Girl Place LA
Have a great birthday and tea with your favorite...
2. AMF Mar Vista Lanes
Bowl your way to a great party! Many other locations...
3. Diva Girlz & Adventure Boyz
Enjoy a variety of parties for boys and girls like a...

Birthday Party Spots for kids around Orange County, CA

Looking for a super fun place to celebrate your son or daughter's birthday in Southern California?  There are lots of amazing spots in Orange County where a birthday bash can be a ton of fun.

1. Balboa Pavilion
A "wheel fun" time can be had among the arcade games,...
2. Discovery Science Center
Have a hosted birthday party and "blow your kids...
3. Hullabaloo's Partyhouse
Another example of a great indoor-bounce house party...

Inexpensive Kid Date Ideas in Orange County, CA

Looking for a fun place to take your son or daughter in Orange County, CA that won't break the bank?  Here are some fun ideas!

1. Balboa Island
Take a stroll around the island on the cement...
2. Build-A-Bear Workshop - Downtown Disney
This fun workshop is located in Downtown Disney which...
3. Centennial Farm
This working farm is nestled into the OC Fairgrounds...

Activities to Inspire Kids in Art in Southern California

If you are looking for a place to explore and discover art with your child, check out these places in Southern California and write a review to tell the rest of us your experience!
Activities are listed alphabetically by city.

1. Animation Academy - Disney California Adventure
Learn to draw from a Disney artist!
2. Little Renegades Art
Kid-friendly art classes.
3. Art Zone
Art classes, camps, studio days, and drop in times...

Pirate Adventures in Southern California

Aye matey, looking for an adventure on the high seas with your little rug rat?  Check out these fun pirate adventures.

1. Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
A fully-immersive pirate-themed dinner show with a...
2. Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island - Disneyland
Take the raft from New Orleans Square over to this...
3. Pirates of the Caribbean - Disneyland
A ride the whole family can enjoy as boats take...

For kids who love Astronomy and Space in Southern California

There are some great places to visit that will introduce kids to space and astronomy and expand their understanding of our universe.  Check out these places in Southern California and enjoy!

1. California Science Center
The Space Shuttle Endeavor is coming to the...
2. Griffith Park Observatory
This is FREE and located up on the hill above Los...
3. Palomar Mountain Observatory
This working observatory is open to the public daily...

Yosemite campgrounds: First-Come, First-Served reservations

Many of the higher elevation campgrounds on the outskirts of Yosemite Valley offer First-Come, First-Served campsites.  Most are equipped with running water, but all have bear-boxes for food storage, picnic tables, fire rings, and RV parking lengths.  Check http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campground.htm for specific details.  
All of the campgrounds within Yosemite Valley require reservations except Camp 4 which is a hike-in only site primarily for rock climbers and backpackers.  Find more information here: http://www.trekaroo.com/list/yosemite-campgrounds-requiring-reservations

1. Bridalveil Creek Campground
Open end of June to September. Located south of...
2. Tamarack Flat Campground
Open May - October. No RVs or Trailers. No pets, no...
3. White Wolf Campground
Open June - September. Located on the road to...

Swimming holes in Yosemite National Park

Swimming in the Merced River under the towering cliffs of Yosemite National Park is a perfect summer activity to build fun, family memories.  Check out these "swimming holes" where the river is wider and slower moving for a fun place to wade, splash, raft, or swim.  Please use extreme caution while swimming in the Merced River due to it's very cold temperature and swift currents.  Follow listed cautions or ask rangers for advice and safety tips.

1. El Capitan Meadow
The Merced River flows slowly through this meadow...
2. Happy Isles Nature Center
The river flowing next to Happy Isles Nature Center...
3. Housekeeping Camp
The beach along the Merced River next to Housekeeping...

Cars Land - Disney CA Adventure: New Rides and Restaurants

The all new Cars Land opened on June 15, 2012 to rave reviews. Guests walked down the main street of town along Route 66 and felt transported right into the Cars Movie (by Pixar).  Check out these great new attractions and restaurants and share your reviews on this amazing new land.

1. Flo's V8 Cafe - Disney California Adventure
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner....
2. Cozy Cone Motel - Disney California Adventure
Each cone specializes in a different, fast-food treat...
3. Fillmore's Taste-In - Disney California Adventure
The tie-dyed hut will serve fresh and whole fruit and...

Fun Family Activities for Father's Day in SoCal

Want to celebrate that awesome dad in your family?  Here are some fun ideas for activities, and great events in Southern California.  Updated for 2012.

1. Angel Stadium of Anaheim
On June 17, 2012 the first 25,000 adults (18+) in...
2. The Autry National Center
Celebrate Father's Day at the Western Heritage Family...
3. Balboa Island
Enjoy a stroll on the paved path around this island...

Historic State Parks in Los Angeles, CA

A lot of local history can be found and discovered by families in Los Angeles County.  Here are several state historic parks that are open as of June 2012.  Several may not remain open due to state budget cuts, so check websites for up-to-date details.

1. Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park
Visit this museum housed in an historic chalet to...
2. Fort Tejon State Historic Park
Living history days take place on the first Saturday...
3. Los Angeles State Historic Park
The culture and heritage of Los Angeles is celebrated...

U-pick farms and orchards in Maryland with family fun

Picking your own fruits and vegetables can be quite fun and provide great educational opportunities. Plus it's a great family memory builder!  Here are a sampling of the many U-pick farms in Maryland. Many of these farms also include a market for produce or other fun seasonal events. Check websites for details on picking availability. All request: No Pets!!
If you find a new one your family loves, add it to Trekaroo and then let me know and I will add it to this list!

1. Baugher's Orchard
A varitety of fruits, vegetables and pumpkins to...
2. Becraft's Farm
Strawberries and pumpkins to pick. Farmers market.
3. Butler's Orchard
A variety of fruits, apples, and pumpkins to pick....

Buena Vista Street-Disney CA Adventure: All new!

Coming June 15, 2012 is the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure.  Guests will enter the park and be transported to the 1920's on Buena Vista Street, and to the California that Walt Disney found when he first started making movies with Mickey Mouse.  Check out these new restaurants and attractions.  Be one of the first to write a review to tell other Trekaroo readers about this amazing new section of Disney California Adventure.

1. Red Car Trolley - Disney California Adventure
Hop on the old-time trolley for a trip down Buena...
2. Red Car News Boys - Disney California Adventure
Authentic period songs are performed by the...
3. Five & Dime - Disney California Adventure
5 boys in their old jalopy on their way to Hollywood...

Mother's Day Family Fun & Brunches in Los Angeles, CA

Looking for something special to do to celebrate your mom, your wife, or yourself on Mother's Day?  Enjoy a brunch, a concert, or a walk in the park at these great locations in Los Angeles, CA.

Updated May 2012

1. Descanso Gardens
Mother's Day weekend brunch opportunities are...
2. Dodgers Stadium
Take in a baseball game this Mother's Day at Dodgers...
3. Egyptian Theatre
Watch the matinee revival screening of "The Sound of...

Drive in Campgrounds along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, MD

Families can enjoy visiting the C&O Canal further by staying overnight in one of the drive-in campgrounds.  
At $10 per site per night, it's a great deal!

Drive-in campsites are equipped with grills, chemical toilets, and water.
Antietam Creek and Paw Paw have adjacent parking, but visitors cannot park at the actual campsite.
Recreational vehicles are allowed only at McCoys Ferry, Fifteen Mile Creek, and Spring Gap campgrounds.
Trailer length may not exceed 20 feet
No RV Hookups
Stay is limited to 14 days between May 1 and October 1. Stay is limited to a total of 30 days for the entire calendar year. There is a limit of eight people per site.
Groups with more than eight people need to use the group campsites or register for more than one site in the campground.

For more information, or to learn about the hike/bike-in campgrounds along the canal, check out:
http://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/camping.htm

1. Antietam Creek Campground
Located at Mile 69.7 on the C&O Canal. Adjacent...
2. McCoys Ferry Campground
Located at Mile 110.4 on the C&O Canal.
3. Fifteenmile Creek Campground
Located at Mile 140.9 on the C&O Canal.

Perfect One Week Beach Vacation With Kids to Carlsbad, CA

The beach town of Carlsbad, CA is located within 30 minutes of San Diego, yet it needs its own list because it is rich with family-friendly activities that can make a week vacation super fun.  Many families travel to Carlsbad to visit the popular LEGOLAND.  Because of it's close proximity to San Diego, it can be a great starting base for exploring all that the San Diego and Carlsbad areas have to offer.  During your next stay, check out these great activities and hotels to help plan your next trip to Carlsbad.

1. La Costa Resort and Spa-A KSL Luxury Resort
LUXURY HOTEL CHOICE: Families will enjoy room...
2. WEST INN AND SUITES
MODERATE HOTEL CHOICE: Located 3 blocks from the...
3. Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa
MODERATE HOTEL CHOICE: Excellent service, suites,...

Perfect One Week Vacation with Kids to Laguna Beach, CA

With beautiful weather almost year-round, gorgeous beaches framed with cliffs and rocks that are host to tide pools, art galleries, excellent restaurants and fun activities, a family trip to Laguna Beach in sunny CA can be a great vacation destination.

Laguna Beach is located within driving distance of many popular So Cal attractions such as:
Disneyland: 40 minutes
Knott's Berry Farm: 50 minutes
LEGOLAND: 60 minutes
Long Beach Aquarium: 60 minutes

Here is a list of several hotels, and a sample guide to activities that could be enjoyed during a week.

1. Montage Laguna Beach
LUXURY HOTEL CHOICE. Located right on the cliff with...
2. The Retreat in Laguna
LUXURY HOTEL CHOICE. "Luxury Villas, Incredible...
3. The Tides Laguna Beach
BUDGET FRIENDLY HOTEL CHOICE. Pet and kid friendly...

Top Family-Friendly Lodging at Yosemite

Great family-friendly lodging is not hard to find in the Yosemite area.  Many people travel to this National Park during all seasons of the year and have found fun and adventure and a great place to lay their heads.  This list includes places that are especially great for families.

1. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Located in the park on the valley floor within...
2. The Ahwahnee
Located in the park on the valley floor within views...
3. Wawona Hotel
Located in the park near the south entrance....

Great attractions for the whole family at Disneyland

Nothing is more disappointing than having to measure little kids to see if they can ride, only to find out they are too small.  However, being an adult and riding little kiddie rides all day is not a good way to have fun.

Disney has created a lot of fun attractions that are great for the whole family.  Here is a list of rides that just about anyone can ride and that are fun for the whole family!

1. Disneyland Railroad - Disneyland
Hop on the train for a complete circle tour of...
2. Main Street Vehicles - Disneyland
Choose a ride on a fire engine, horse-drawn...
3. Pirates of the Caribbean - Disneyland
All kids can ride this boat ride in the dark with 2...

U-Pick Farms, Tours, and Dairies in Indiana for families

Farmland abounds in the midwestern state of Indiana.  Taking a tour to see how cheese is made, picking apples, and tasting fresh produce can be a great family activity.  Here is a list of farms with interactive events, tours and restaurants in Indiana.

1. Tuttle Orchards
Located in central Indiana with seasonal produce and...
2. Dougherty Orchards
Located in eastern-central Indiana. Pick your own...
3. The Apple Works
Located south of Indianapolis, Indiana. Open spring...

Snow Play and Tubing near Sequoia Kings Canyon NP

Families heading to the mountains will find some fun snow plays and places to take tubes and sleds from this list.

When planning your trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon, choose a snow play area based upon the Highway you take.  During the winter, the Generals Highway between Grant Grove and Lodgepole is closed so access to these two areas is from different highways.

From Highway 180 through the Big Stump Entrance Station:
* Columbine Picnic Area (see list for details)
* Grant Grove Visitor Center (see list for details)
* Cherry Gap Area.  Located north of Grant Grove.  Several pull outs available.
* Montecito Lake Resort (see list for details)  
* Quail Flat.  Located north of Montecito Lake.  Miles of trails and
snowmobile trails available.
* Big Meadow.  Located near the Montecito Lake turnout.  Free access to
groomed cross-country trails.

Highway 198 through the Ash Mountain Entrance Station
* Wolverton (see list for details)
* Giant Forest area.

Many other unmarked snow play areas may exist.  Take caution in pulling completely off the road before parking to access snow in the mountains.  Take all trash with you so that others may enjoy the beautiful snow.  Every year snow play injuries occur for adults and children so always use caution and apply careful wisdom to the situation.

For more information see www.nps.gov/seki

1. Columbine Picnic Area
Located near the Big Stump Entrance Station on...
2. Grant Grove Visitor Center - Kings Canyon
Rent cross country skis or snow shoes and get a map...
3. Montecito Lake Resort
Rent cross country skis or get a day pass to use...

Snow play and tubing near Yosemite National Park

If you are visiting Yosemite National Park or live in the valley communities, playing in the snow around Yosemite can be great fun.  Check weather conditions before visiting to see if there is sufficient snow for good snow play.  Plan on taking snow chains.

This list provides information on locations around Yosemite on Highways 120 and 41. Those within park boundaries are subject to the $20 entrance fee.

Only one location is included for Yosemite Valley, but depending on snow conditions, this can be the best place to play in the snow with it's many meadows, hills, and hikes.

1. Goat Meadow Snow Play Area
A free snow play area located north of Fish Camp on...
2. Crane Flat Campground
A free snow play area located on the Big Oak Flat...
3. Badger Pass Ski Area
Kids of all ages will have fun sliding over the snow...

Family friendly summer activities in Fairbanks Alaska

With nearly 24 hours of daylight and moderate temperatures, summer in Fairbanks Alaska is the perfect place to take a family trip.  Here is a list of some of our favorite family-friendly activities.

1. El Dorado Gold Mine
Take a train ride through an historic gold mine,...
2. Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
Miles of trails alongside a meadow and through the...
3. Riverboat Discovery
Take a 3 hour riverboat cruise and learn about the...

Best kid friendly hikes in Grant Grove Kings Canyon

In the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, there are several great hikes that families will enjoy.  Most have minimal elevation change and range from 1-4 miles in length.

The Grant Grove area is located on Highway 180 in Kings Canyon National Park.  Elevation is 6-7,000 feet.  When driving east on Highway 180, turn left at the Wye after entering the park at the Big Stump Entrance Station.

1. Grant Grove
A 1/3 mile paved trail through a Giant Sequoia grove,...
2. Big Stump Trail
A 2 mile loop with approx 200 feet elevation change....
3. Panoramic Point
A steep but short (1/4 mile) trail takes visitors to...

Best kid friendly hikes in Sequoia National Park

In the Giant Forest and Lodgepole areas of Sequoia National Park, there are several hikes that families will enjoy.  These hikes are relatively stroller friendly, have minimal elevation change and are approximately 1-4 miles in length.

This area of Sequoia National Park is located on Highway 198 south of Grant Grove.    

1. Big Trees Trail
1-2 mile loop along a meadow with Giant Sequoia...
2. Tokopah Falls Hike, Sequoia National Park
1.7 mile trail to Tokopah Falls (3.4 round trip) has...
3. Tharp's Log
The 0.8 mile paved trail to this old cabin starts at...

Family friendly hikes in Kings Canyon National Park

In the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon, families will find many great hikes that are relatively short in nature, have mild elevation gain and offer beautiful scenery and a chance to enjoy nature.  

One of the easiest hikes is to start a walk from one of the campgrounds and meander along the Kings River.  There is not always a designated trail but the scenery is beautiful and you may be surprised to find some fun swimming holes.

1. Zumwalt Meadow
A 1.5 mile loop trail with a bridge, boardwalk, rocks...
2. Roaring River Falls
A very short walk on a paved trail to a powerful...
3. Bubbs Creek Trail
A 4 mile round trip hike through the canyon to the...

Best family activities for Sequoia National Park

In the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, families will love walking among the giant sequoias, climbing to the top of Moro Rock, and taking some gentle hikes.  Here is a list of my family's favorite activities in Sequoia National Park.

1. Giant Forest Museum
The Giant Forest Museum is a great first stop for...
2. Beetle Rock
Across the street from the Giant Forest Museum is the...
3. Moro Rock
Take the road or ride on the shuttle from the Giant...

Best family activities Grant Grove Kings Canyon NP

The Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks is an area full of hiking trails, giant sequoia groves, Visitor centers, stores, ranger led activities, camping, lodging and more.  Here is a list of some key ones you don't want to miss.

1. Grant Grove
Visiting the General Grant Tree is on the top of most...
2. Grant Grove Visitor Center - Kings Canyon
This visitor center, also known as the "Kings Canyon...
3. Big Stump Trail
This loop trail is a great way to understand the...

Rustic cabin style lodging Sequoia Kings Canyon NP

There are several options for lodging in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks areas.  This list gives details on lodging that is a "rustic cabin style".  These locations may be seasonal, may require guests to bring their own linens, and may have limited resources on restaurants and other amenities.

Despite these limitations, families may fall in love with the beauty of the Giant Sequoia trees located in this beautiful area of the Sierra.

1. Silver City Mountain Resort
Located in the Mineral King area of Sequoia (southern...
2. Grant Grove Cabins
Located in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon...
3. Stony Creek Lodge
Located on the Generals Highway south of Grants...

Family friendly lodging Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are incredibly beautiful places to visit with your family.  Towering Sequoia trees set on the mountain side at 5-7,000 feet are humbling to walk among and enjoy.  

Here is a list of family friendly hotels and resorts in the area for your lodging needs.

1. Wuksachi Lodge
Located near Lodgepole in Sequoia National Park and...
2. John Muir Lodge
Located in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon...
3. Cedar Grove Lodge
Located down in the canyon of Kings Canyon. Open...

Rainy Day Activities for families in San Diego

Looking for some fun indoor activities on a rainy day?  Here's some great ideas where you can stay dry.

1. KROC Ice Arena
Public ice skating sessions held during the week and...
2. La Jolla Ice Town
Open skating sessions offered most days of the week....
3. San Diego Ice Arena
Public skating program offered weekly. Check website...

Rainy day activities for families in Orange County, CA

Is the rainy weather keeping you and your family cooped up indoors with nothing to do?  Here are some great places to enjoy and spend some of that pent up kid energy.

In this list you will find examples of museums, bounce houses, ice skating, go-carts, and  bowling alleys.  It is not exhaustive, as there are many of these great indoor activities in Orange County.

1. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art and Kidseum
Hands on learning and exploring the cultural art of...
2. Children’s Museum at La Habra

3. Discovery Science Center
My kids and I have passed this cube on the freeway...

Family friendly ski resorts in Southern California

If your children love the snow as much as mine do, and you are looking for a great place to try out some winter skiing, here are a few resorts in the Southern California area that offer kid-friendly lessons and packages.

1. Bear Mountain Resort
Various children's packages available. Check website...
2. Mount Baldy Ski Resort
Learn to ski and ride packages offered for children...
3. Mountain High Ski Resort
Children's academies, schools and programs are...

Campgrounds to reserve in Great Smoky Mountains NP

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the US.  Many families love touring the area by car and then stopping for a while to pitch a tent and enjoy nature.  

Here is a list of campgrounds that take advanced reservations for camping.  All of them also have first-come, first-served sites except for Cataloochee.  

Reservations can be made 6 months in advance at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.

1. Cades Cove Campground - Great Smoky Mountains
159 sites at $17-$20. Open year round. Elevation...
2. Cataloochee Campground - Great Smoky Mountains
Advanced reservations required for the entire...
3. Cosby Campground - Great Smoky Mountains
165 sites at $14. Elevation 2,459 feet. Open April...

Yosemite Campgrounds Requiring Reservations

Each summer, the campgrounds in Yosemite fill up quickly with families and tourists from all over the world.  Being able to sleep under the pine trees with the giant cliffs of Half Dome and Glacier Point right above one's campfire is a perfect treat for parents and kids!

Reservations are required year-round for campsites in Yosemite Valley and they are hard to get.  Check http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm for up-to-the-minute details.  But here's the basics:  Reservations are available up to 5 months in advance on the 15th of each month at 7 am PST.  Reservations fill up at www.recreation.gov within the first 5 minutes of opening so you must be ready to click to reserve at 7:00 sharp on the day that the spots open up.  See website for specifics.

1. Upper Pines Yosemite Valley Campgrounds
Open year round. Max RV length is 35 ft....
2. North Pines Yosemite Valley Campground
Open between April and October. Max RV length is 40...
3. Lower Pines Yosemite Valley Campground
Open April to November. Max RV length is 40 feet....

Favorite Yosemite National Park Activities

What we love to do in Yosemite

1. Tunnel View at Yosemite
Make this your first stop on your way into Yosemite...
2. Bridalveil Fall
Make this your second stop into Yosemite Valley....
3. Yosemite Falls
This falls is easily accessed from a 1/2 mile paved...

Winter activities for kids in Yosemite National Park

Snow and ice glisten in the trees and invite families to enjoy the beauty of Yosemite in a whole new way.  The summer crowds thin out and the waterfalls take on a whole new look with their frozen shadows and ice cones at their base.  Many hiking trails in the valley are open and the waterfalls begin to flow after the rains fall.

Yosemite National Park is open year round and has lodging accommodations in the valley.  Snow falls in the higher mountains and in the valley but the park maintains the roads by plowing and keeping them clear.  Wawona and the valley remain open year round but the roads to Glacier Point and Tioga Pass are closed during the winter.  Badger Pass ski area is open and offers downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and tubing.  

Drivers must carry tire chains and know how to use them despite any optimistic weather conditions.

1. The Ahwahnee
Non-guests of the Ahwahnee are welcomed into it's...
2. Badger Pass Ski Area
Teach your kids to ski and snowboard in Yosemite at...
3. Bridalveil Fall
The 1/4 mile trail to the base of Bridalveil Fall is...

Toddler and stroller friendly hikes in Yosemite Valley

With hundreds of trails in Yosemite National Park, there are sure to be many that are perfect for families to meander along at the pace of their toddlers and young children.  These trails are less than 1 mile long and are in general jogging stroller friendly.

1. Bridalveil Fall
The 0.5 mile round trip trail to the base of...
2. El Capitan Meadow
This meadow is framed by the towering El Capitan...
3. Happy Isles Nature Center
Outside of the Nature Center at Happy Isles is a...

Free Splash Pads & water play for kids in Orange County, CA

There are quite a few FREE fountains and water play areas for kids to splash and get wet in Southern California.
At the bottom of this list are amazing places for kids to swim and play but require a bit of cash to get in.

1. Cerritos Library
Free. Jumping dolphin statues grace the splash...
2. The District at Tustin Legacy
Free. This large, open-air mall hosts a small splash...
3. Harry M. Dotson Park
Free. The "Wet Saloon" is a splash pad located in...

Baby & Toddler activities in Los Angeles & Orange County, CA

Looking for a fun activity to do with your baby or toddler?  The Southern California area is chock full of great places to visit that bring fun, excitement and interaction for babies and toddlers.

1. Griffith Park Pony Rides
Free parking and the close proximity to the LA Zoo...
2. Travel Town
Trains to climb on, explore and ride on make this a...
3. Los Angeles Zoo
A great place to introduce young ones to animals. An...

Family Packages at Hotels in California

Looking for a great place to take your kids this summer?  Do you want some fun, kid-friendly activities at the hotel you are staying in?  Here are some great ideas for summer vacations for 2011!

1. ALISAL GUEST RANCH AND RESORT
A working ranch resort that offers horseback riding,...
2. The Grand Del Mar
A luxury resort that hosts an Explorer's Club for...
3. EL CAPITAN CANYON
"The Family Picnic Package" includes accommodations...

Family friendly day hikes in Orange County, California

Our family really enjoys hiking and seeing the wild nature that has been preserved in Orange County, CA.  When we first moved here, it felt like it was "all-city" and "no-country".  I'm so glad we were wrong!  There's a lot of beautiful nature near by to discover but you have to hunt for it.

The hikes on this list are 1-2 miles in length and have minimal to 600 feet in elevation gain.  This list is to help families find a new place to explore in nature.  Tips like trail conditions and elevation gain will help families decide on what their little ones can handle and on which stroller to bring!

1. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Interpretive Center
The Slough Trail is a 1.5 mile loop with no elevation...
2. Carbon Canyon Regional Park
The Nature Trail is a 1.1 mile one way hike to the...
3. Caspers Wilderness Park
The Nature Trail is a 1 mile loop that crosses a wide...

Santa Barbara for families

The sun kissed mountains and beaches of Santa Barbara are breath taking.  But what does this American Riviera have to offer families?  Activities, hotels and restaurants abound that families have found to offer fun, adventure and relaxation.  Planning your next trip to Santa Barbara?  Here is the list for you of places you should definitely check out!

1. Hotel Oceana Santa Barbara
A beautiful hotel with a family friendly swimming...
2. Alameda Park - Kid's World
A wood structured playground filled with art and...
3. Chase Palm Park & Carousel
Across from the ocean you will find this gem of a...


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