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Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

San Francisco
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Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

We live in San Francisco East Bay area, but really haven't explored much of CA since we moved from East Coast 3 years ago. We are not a big Thanksgiving celebration family since all our family is in Florida. We are looking for suggestions on somewhere to go within a 6 hour drive, north or south of us to take kids, ages 4, 2.8, and 7 to a location where we can rent a house or cabin and explore for a few days. We want to avoid the Tahoe crowds and prices and are looking for an alternative, more off the grid kinda of place, but still with some town for walking and enjoying.

Any specific areas, towns or even kid-friendly cabins/houses that you may have to suggest?

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

You might look into renting a house at Sea Ranch, which is on the coast on the border of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. If you don't want to pay the price for an oceanfront, there are lovely ones with white water views, higher up.

There are a lot of trails for walking/hiking....along the bluffs and higher up. It is not in a town, but the charming town of Gualala is only a couple of miles north, where you would buy groceries, look at art galleries, the Four Eyed Frog bookstore, etc. plus restaurants.

We have gone there often when we want serenity and beauty and to get away. It is around 3 hours from Oakland. You will be driving up the beautiful Sonoma coast for part of it.

Here are some links to rental properties.

vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/…sea-ranch

http://searanchrentals.com/

http://ramshead.com/

http://www.searanchgetaway.com/forrent.htm

Napa, CA
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2. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

I was thinking Sea Ranch or some nice spot on the coast too. That's where I would want to go. But the request was for "some town for walking and enjoying".

That's a tough one. Places like Mendocino and Carmel will be quite busy that weekend and probably fairly expensive. I also thought about the Sierra Foothill towns like Nevada City or Murphys but they might not be that much fun with a 2.8 year old in tow.

Maybe a town like Santa Cruz would be the answer where they could play on the beach and also walk around town.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

I thought of the Gold Country, but your little ones might still be a bit young for that. If the 7- and 8-year-olds are into anything Western, trains, and such, they'd probably enjoy it. There are many quaint historic Gold Rush towns along Hwy 49, and there is a state historic railroad park in Jamestown (near Sonora). In some places, like Columbia and Coloma, kids can pan for gold. Columbia has a stagecoach to ride. But ages 2 and 4 may not get so much from it and could keep you busy so you're not focused enough on the good times with the older ones. Maybe this should wait another couple years (maybe until the 8-year-old has had California history in school and is eager to show off his/her knowledge to the second child who is about to have it).

OK, how about Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as Supercilious suggested? The Boardwalk is an old-fashioned Coney Island type seaside resort (not a modern theme park with thrill rides). It's very seasonal and some attractions have limited hours, weekends only, etc. so check the website or contact the management for more details.

http://beachboardwalk.com/

Next to the Boardwalk is the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. Unlike Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, it is a long extension into the ocean, about a quarter mile long (it even has parking lots), with shops, restaurants, exhibits, a fishing pier, and a big colony of sea lions that hang out on the pilings below the deck. There are openings cut in the deck so people can look down and see them.

A couple miles north of all this is Natural Bridges State Beach. It has two notable attractions. One is a nice beach with picnic areas (grills too) and tidepools. Whether or not the water is warm enough to go into, you'll have to decide when you get there. But I will say I've seen people at beaches around Santa Cruz playing volleyball in swimwear at Thanksgiving time.

Alao at Natural Bridges is the Monarch Butterfly Grove. Thanksgiving is right in the middle of Monarch butterfly season, when they fly in to spend winter in a moderate climate. When you walk into the grove, the eucalyptus trees appear to be covered with brown and orange leaves, but they are actually tens of thousands of colorful butterflies.

Santa Cruz as a vacation town has something for just about everyone. We have several TAs who live there or know a lot about it; maybe Puter will show up. They can tell you about the downtown shopping area, places to eat. etc. that I know less about. Also, bicycling is popular and there are paths along the beach and elsewhere that would be safe for families.

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

I don't know why *I *didn't think of bringing you to Santa Cruz. It is a natural with the Boardwalk and the sea lions and the Monarch butterflies overwintering in Natural Bridges State Park and watching the surfers at Lighthouse Point,

The downtown is lovely and tree-lined with sidewalk cafes and there are three ice cream stores and a cookie factory.

For a rental I would suggest Bailey Properties.....

http://www.baileyproperties.com/

Or, if you would prefer a hotel or motel type accommodation, let me know and I will suggest. You do not want to be in the immediate vicinity of the Boardwalk.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

I should have said "maybe Puter will show up again," since you were here just before me. LOL.

Some years ago I stayed at the Casablanca, which I thought was kind of a fun place--a historic home originally built by a mayor or some other pillar of the community IIRC. I liked the location right on the Boardwalk and thought it was safe enough. I stayed in the main building up front, in a smallish (but adequate) room that opened onto the deck and had a view. What do you think of this place, Puter?

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

Here is a Traveler Article on Santa Cruz...

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g33048-c133677/Santa-…

7. Re: Where to take family for Thanksgiving quick getaway

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