Wherever you go in the Bay Area you will have ample opportunity to hike, soak in some culture, beautiful scenery, eat well and find something for everyone’s interests. Here are just a few picks for families with teens. Let me know if I’ve missed something important! -Susie
Berkeley & Oakland
- Walk from my Airbnb to the UC Berkeley campus, down College Ave. and walk through campus. Lots of food along the way!
- Oakland Museum has really fun California history exhibits. There is a small, very authentic Chinatown nearby.
- Pizza at Zachary’s near Rockridge BART
- Rosie the River Museum featuring the country’s oldest ranger, a 94 year old woman!
- Ferry to San Francisco from Jack London Square, then BART back to Rockridge. OR ferry to Sausalito for the day, from the San Francisco Ferry Building to where you can take BART. Lovely way to see the bay!
East of Oakland, en route to Wine Country
- Jelly Belly factory tour in Fairfield.
- Cut up to Napa and tour wine country. (Ideas of things to do with teens)
- If you’ve got lots of time, you’re on your way to Sacramento and Lake Tahoe…keep going?
3 Days in and near San Francisco
You could pack a few of these together and even in 1 exhausting day. Here are suggested days that will be pretty full:
- Exploratorium / tour Alcatraz (need to get tix in advance) – BART to Embarcadero or drive there. You can walk along the waterfront from BART to get to the Exploratorium then to the Alcatraz point of embarcation. It is near Fisherman’s Wharf, which is really just touristy. After, you can
walk and eat through Chinatown.
- A few moms recommend…
- Ride a cable car from Powell St. to Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Baseball game at AT&T park…be sure to get a seat from which you can see the Jumbotron and the water.
- Rickshaw bike ride to Musee de Mechanic.
- Disney Family Museum (if you are fans) near the Marina / waterfront in San Francisco’s Presidio. On a Sunday you can lunch with food trucks at Off the Grid. Then walk across the Golden Gate Bridge!
- Golden Gate Park – with the Academy of Sciences aquarium and more. Roller skating lessons on Sundays.
Walk down Haight St. (if you would find that interesting)You can also go to Ocean Beach and swim, although it may be a little chilly.
Nearby, visit the Sutro Baths which used to be an ocean water spa in the 1920s. You can hike a bit and get a bite to eat.
- Drive to Muir Woods, and walk through the smell the ancient redwoods. Continue to Point Reyes or Stinson Beach for some nature. The Marin Headlands near the Golden Gate Bridge are a historic barracks that have some fun climbing. Mount Tamalpais makes for great hiking.
- Lunch at Palo Alto’s Town & Country mall, to have wealth rub off on you (maybe). It’s across the street from Stanford which is nice to walk around and has some good museums.
- Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose
- continue on to Santa Cruz over Hwy 17 if you have time…
Santa Cruz Area
- Walk on West Cliff Drive along the Pacific Ocean
- Go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for old fashioned boardwalk fun. (Lots of cool skate shops and surf shops for clothing in Santa Cruz! Pacific Ave is fun to walk down and for lunch.)
- The Mystery Spot
If you had an early start, drive up Hwy 1 by the ocean where you will pass a sea lion preserve and lots of farms.
For a cheap stay, the youth hostel at Pescadero lighthouse has an incredible hot tub overlooking the ocean. You can walk into town for the famous artichoke soup at Duarte’s and to visit Harley Farm, a goat cheese farm.
You can walk through the tiny town of Half Moon Bay and cut over Hwy 92 which becomes the San Mateo bridge and lands you just south of Oakland.
Monterey Peninsula Area
- A friend with 4 kids suggests kayaking among sea otters at Elkhorn Slough
- Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best in the world
- Hearst Castle is not that much farther.
And there is SO much more! Order the free Visit California guide book.