When a day trip with the kids just won’t do, it’s time to pack your bags and get out of the city for an overnight trip. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly weekend getaways that real San Francisco families have road tested and approved. All of these are within a three hour drive of San Francisco and most are closer. Even if you don’t stay in the lodgings we suggest, use these locales as inspiration for your next family adventure!
The Westin Verasa, Napa
Downtown Napa is full of fabulous shops and restaurants, and The Westin Verasa is situated in an ideal location. Walk with the kids to Oxbow Public Market, plan to visit some kid-friendly wineries, or spend the day at the hotel pool.
Indian Springs, Calistoga
The Main Pool at Indian Springs is a historic Olympic-sized mineral pool. The warm water is naturally heated by the nearby geysers. The vibe here is casual with lots of outdoor activities on the grounds. It’s close to charming downtown Calistoga and world-famous wineries. Many of the rooms have outdoor space, giving adults a place to hang after the kids go to bed.
Vichy Springs Resort, Ukiah
Vichy Springs is a quintessential country inn and hot springs resort. It offers suites and one or two bedroom cottages that help make family travel more comfortable for everyone. Hike the grounds, hang out near the springs or explore Mendocino county’s local attractions.
The Sea Ranch, Sonoma
The Sea Ranch is a tiny, environmentally-planned private community at the northern end of the Sonoma County coast. About half of the houses in The Sea Ranch are rented out as vacation homes. As a guest in the community, you’ll have access to its tennis courts, golf course, and other amenities. Hiking trails within the community and the public access trails provide panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, massive rocks, migrating whales, and amazing sunsets.
The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
The Ritz Carlton sits on top of a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Sit on the patio and you’ll meet plenty of people besides hotel guests: golfers, locals, and other visitors sipping cocktails, staring at the iconic scenery. There’s plenty of grassy outdoor space for the kids to run around and the indoor pool is perfect for a swim any time of day. The Ritz Kids program provides entertainment and activities for children ages 5 to 12 during the day and in the evening. The restaurants offer kid menus and the staff will spoil your kids with treats at check in and check out.
Costanoa Lodge, Pescadero
Costanoa’s tag line is “Discover the Pace of Nature,” and it offers a really nice balance of the peacefulness of nature and the entertainment and activities that make traveling with kids so much easier. There are a variety of accommodations to suit your family’s needs. The lodge offers a traditional hotel, or you can rent a cabin, “glamp” in tents with electricity, bring an RV, or pitch your own tent. The onsite general store, restaurant and BBQ cookouts make it easy to feed the family, but you’re equally welcome to build your own campfire and cook yourself.
Capitola Hotel, Capitola
Capitola Hotel is a cozy and casual bed & breakfast offering one family-friendly room called the Grand Cayman. It has two double beds, a kitchenette, and a private courtyard. Even better is the location of this hotel, right in the heart of Capitola Village. You’ll love the convenience of crossing the street to the beach and having your pick of restaurants within easy walking distance.
The InterContinental The Clement, Monterey
The InterContinental The Clement Monterey overlooks the Monterey Bay on Cannery Row, the perfect location to explore the town, visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, hike nearby trails or venture out of downtown to visit Pebble Beach, Carmel or the local wineries.
Asilomar, Pacific Grove
Reserve one of four cozy cottages or rent a room in its historic lodges and take in the serene beauty of Asilomar State Beach, dubbed “Refuge by the Sea.” Come here to spend time outside exploring the grounds, hanging at the beach or swimming in the outdoor heated pool.
Angel’s Camp Resort, Angel’s Camp
Angel’s Camp RV and camping resort will immerse your family in the history of the Gold Rush era at the foothills of the Sierras. Rent a boat for a day of fun on New Melones Lake (a must, if you’re going in the hot summer season), go wine tasting at Calaveras wineries, or explore Moaning caverns, where the dare devils in your family will love the zip-line and cave rappel. There’s a style of camping to suit everyone: RV camp sites, one and two bedroom cabins, mini-lodges, and tent sites.
We don’t actually know anyone who’s done this trip, but this article felt incomplete without mentioning something to do “heading west.” Of course, since the only thing west of San Francisco is water, the options are limited. Luckily, Holland America Cruise Line is offering a two night cruise departing from San Francisco and traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia. How great would it be to take the stress out of traveling with kids and make it part of the fun? At the time of this publishing, children who are at least six months old are welcome to cruise. The next one is scheduled for May 5 to 7, 2018. Bon voyage!