We spend a full day at Santa Cruz this past summer. After we spent a week in Carlsbad this summer, the kiddos had been asking to go to the beach with waves again! We finally made it happen and spend a great day in Santa Cruz. We met up with some friends that like in Palo Alto and had a great time. The kiddos were so happy playing in the sand and water that we never even made it to the boardwalk. Ha! maybe next time we will ride a roller coaster, play some games and get some pizza!
This place does not disappoint. I am sure we will make this an annual summer trip for our family! Who knows, we might even hit up the boardwalk next time.
An afternoon on the water
We spent a weekend in Reno just after Labor Day and headed up to Pyramid Lake for a few hours. The weather was a little chilly, but we managed to surf, tube and swim. This lake is awesome! It is about 35 minutes north of Reno and the lake is big enough that it is never that busy. The rock formations are beautiful and the clear blue water is awesome!
My daughter had her class pet with her all weekend and was able to take him on the boat. Good thing we had an extra life jacket, because safety first! She was so pleased to have him on the boat and she got to write about it in the class journal as well.
Another little gem that is close to our house is Hidden Falls Trail. This is a quick drive from our house but the parking is very limited when you get there. There are a variety of trails that you can choose from with miles to explore, hike and run on. There are some cool waterfalls, bridges and a scenic river as well. We usually go early in the morning, or towards the end of the day and it doesn’t seem to be as crowded.
The kiddos get to run and explore and see everything that that trails have to offer. The trails are easy to hike/walk on as well. This is a fun family friendly hiking adventure.
They give out free samples!
Just outside of Sacramento on the way to the bay area, you can make a quick pit stop at the Jelly Belly Factory and take a fun tour! We have been several times over the last year and we keep on going back. The kiddos love it too! They enjoy seeing and watching all of the workers, seeing all of the colors, machines and of course the jelly beans! They hand out fun little hats and everyone gets a bag of jelly beans as well.
They have a little shop at the end where you can purchase even more candy. We usually get a big bag of the belly flops and eat them little by little at home. They give out samples as well and they have little cafe where you can grab some food as well. It’s fun to go around the holidays as they have fun decorations. I am sure we will go back and visit again real soon!
Great hiking trail for the whole family
Every time we drive over Donner Pass on I-80 we see these old tunnels on the side of the mountain above Donner Lake. We have always wanted to go hike through them and explore them. We finally made some time this past summer and spent a Saturday in the old train tunnels and they were awesome! We hiked about 3.5 miles in total and the kiddos loved it! I let them each wear their own head lamp when it got dark in the tunnels and it never got too hot because of the nice breeze and the tunnels were very cool.
There are tons of artwork and graffiti on the tunnel walls. There were only a few inappropriate items drawn or spelled out on the walls too. Ha! Good thing my kiddos don’t read that well….yet. They are still pretty young. In fact, we saw artists up there that day marking their territory with paint and all. It was pretty cool to see. As yo hike through the tunnels there are breaks where you can walk out and see amazing views of Donner Lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s beautiful! This is another hike that I would highly recommend and it’s great for the kiddos as well.