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Anaheim San Francisco

Tips on toddler friendly stopping points bw Orange Cty and San Francisco

I am Taking a minivan road trip from Orange County to San Francisco with my 3 kids under 5 years old (4.5 yoa, 2.5 yoa, and 4 months old) to visit my sister because due to health reasons she is not able to travel come and visit her neices and nephew. Are there any suggestions for places to stay and things to do along the way to San Francisco that are good stopping points for the kids to get out of the car and take a break that can be done in a day. I plan to leave Friday May 26th in the morning at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in San Francisco by bedtime 8:30 p.m.  and then stay a day in SF and come back on a sunday or monday Memorial Day.  Or is it better to go a weekend earlier or later?  Any kid friendly activities along the way?  I'll need at least five stopping points along the way to break up the road trip so that I can feed the kids and nurse my baby who is not taking the bottle yet.  Restaurants and easy sightseeing activities such as parks or other points of interest are much needed.

4 Answers

answered first by
John from Chicago

Check out the tips people wrote on this question about current road closures and places to stop. Common suggestions are San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle. Here's a general route along the coast for a road trip from LA to SF. Hopefully you can get some more detailed recommendations from other travelers about which weekend is best.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Luis Obispo (city)
  2. Hearst Castle (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Laura from Atlanta

Near San Simeon is an area where huge elephant seals congregate. There are areas to park your car and sidewalks to get close to them. This is a great quick stop where kids can see nature at its best.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Simeon (city)

answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

Due to road closures on route 1 (coast road) I recommend you take I-5 to Pacheco Pass Highway (152) and then 101 into San Francisco I always stop at Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant on I-5 and Casa De Fruta Orchard Resort in Los Banos There are many rest stops along the way. It's a long drive so bring a cooler with beverages and snacks.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pacheco Pass Highway (attraction)
  2. San Francisco (city)
  3. Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant (restaurant)
  4. Casa De Fruta Orchard Resort (attraction)
  5. Los Banos (city)

answered by

I don't think Hearst Castle is particularly kid friendly.  

Near SF, I would recommend Dennis the Menace Park and Big Basin State Park

Down closer to you perhaps Monarch Butterfly Grove and Downtown City Park

But this means that you will be driving up the coast.  It is going to take longer than if you just took I-5 and stopped at various rest stops

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dennis the Menace Park (attraction)
  2. Big Basin State Park (attraction)
  3. Monarch Butterfly Grove (attraction)
  4. Downtown City Park (attraction)

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