I found some wonderful places to visit (in both Northern and Southern California) on this website, called AmericanSouthwest. I'm putting both North and South California here, and will reconsider how I'm organizing this!
Bay Area Camping Notes: Pescadero/Half Moon Bay
Costanoa is a very good camping area if you're not sure that you like to camp. They bill themselves as a lodge and camp. The camp has tent sites, which are wooden 10 foot by 12 foot platform with hooks for your
ten strings, double water spigot, a picnic table, and an electrical
outlet. They also have different levels of cabins (some are tents, some are wooden), and a lodge. The cabin is like a small, nice hotel room with no bathroom. The lodge is apparently just like a hotel. Note: the tent cabins are too small for a portable crib.
The shared bathrooms, called comfort stations, are clean, heated and
had dispenser soap and shampoo. Some even have saunas. Two
drawbacks are the weather (it can be freezing at night and foggy in the day), and you can't have a fire at your campsite. They do build fires at a fire sitting area between the comfort stations. Let me say it again: bring a lot of warm clothing.
The "general store" is actually a restaurant, so you don't have to cook a thing, and if you stay in a cabin (not a tent), you get to use the hot tubs in the lodge. Although food is pricey, if you bring your own and stay in a cabin, they have a refrigerator.
Apparently the playground is not great, but there is plenty of stuff to do, like hiking, biking, beach combing, tide pooling, watching the elephant seals, looking at light houses, and so forth. They also schedule things like a falcon demonstration.
miles north of Costanoa- it's a short walk from where you park to the
ocean, strollers ok, and then you see a fantastic view of the
Pacific. There are also tidepools almost directly across from Costanoa
Good family accomodations
The cabins are comforable, but if there are no cabins available, the tents
are also warm enough, though more rustic. My daughter and I stayed in the
tents during some cold and rainy/snowy weather in October and we had a lot
of fun. But then my daughter is five and liked the adventure, which included
hearing bears rummaging through the trash at 1 a.m. Not much room in the
tents for a crib either, though our friends did sleep their toddler on one
the beds (three per tent). I remember the cabins being a bit bigger than
The public baths are fine. You'll need to store your food and bath stuff in
bear-proof boxes outdoors, which are plenty big.
I've also stayed in the lodge (the motel), which is nothing special, but
comfortable enough. The Ahwahnee (sp?) is the historic century-old lodge
and is of course the most beautiful and prob the most comfortable, etc. It
is also the most expensive, but also the most impressive--would be a treat
for you and for your out-of-town guests. They are going through a remodel
right now. Don't know how that'll effect availability. Don't know how
difficult it would be to get a room there with a month's notice, but at this
point getting ANYTHING in the Valley could be tough. The dining room in the
Ahwahnee is one of the most beautiful in the country. If you don't stay
there, try to at least get dinner reservations there for one meal.
Have a great time. Good family hikes: To the bridge to view Vernal Falls;
The the base of Lower Yosimite Falls. If there's still snow on the gronnd
and you're into snowshoe hikes or short trips on cross-country skis, head to
I strongly recommend the Evergreen Logde. They have 2 bedroom cabins that
are fabulous for families, and kid friendly activities as well. We have gond
for the past two years and it is a really beautiful, special place.
Hi - we like the cabins at camp curry (rustic) but when my Mom comes with
(she's 70) she much prefers Yosemite Lodge - better food!
I am looking into this. I was told about
http://www.theredwoodsinyosemite.com. It is inside the park and the cabin my
friend stayed in was very nice.
We have liked using Scenic Wonders (http://www.scenicwonders.com/), which
offers condos and houses for rent. The location is within the park near
Badger Pass. Last year, we went in March and were delighted to be nestled in
the snow at the condo we rented. The condo wasn't luxurious, but the
location was fantastic. You'll most likely need chains to drive there.
We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge, outside the park. It had an indoor pool,
horse drawn sleigh rides, and guided snowshoe hikes at night. The kids
themselves as ''Club Med in the Mountains.'' It's totally gorgeous, and
there are activities for babies through grandparents. There are literally a
dozen things to choose from every day. You can either stay in a rustic
cabin or a more hotelish lodge room. The food is excellent. You need
to book early though - many families rebook every year as they leave.
The Hyatt Resort in Lake Tahoe has a kids camp during busier
vacation times in the year. It can be a pricey place to stay
but it is very gorgeous with it's own beach (with food and
drink service), a few restaurants and a casino. I hire a nanny
service when I go there for an evening out (Neta's Nannies).
We bought a timeshare at the Hyatt a few years ago and have
found it very enjoyable with our 2 girls (2.5 & 5). You can
rent out the timeshare condos, but it doesn't include the hotel
services, they will accomodate 8 people. The hotel has had a
major renovation the past few years and will have an oasis type
pool with a spa overlook this spring. Look the Hyatt up on
their website (Hyatt.com), it might be what you are looking for.
You could look into the Montecito Sequoia family vacation
camp. Part of my family went there for a reunion a few years
ago, and had a great time. It's a beautiful area. I would not
call it high-end, but you sleep indoors (motel-style rooms),
they provide meals (in a large dining room), and they have
activities for kids (divided into age groups).
Northern California Vacation Rentals
Want to go upscale? (sort of) Here's a castle in Ben Lomond!
Mountain Notes: Lake Tahoe Area
I was referred to the River Ranch Inn by a contractor. He said that it's outside of Truckee on Highway 89. Here's their restaurant.