It’s cold in California! Now let’s go play outside…

I’ve noticed a funny thing here in California (at least in the Bay Area).  When the temperature drops below 60F, kids disappear from the playgrounds.  This morning before school, the thermostat was still hovering around the freezing point, yet the kids who arrived early had a blast running around on the playground.  Really, parents, playing outside is healthy in all weather.  If kids in Finland … Continue reading It’s cold in California! Now let’s go play outside…

5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Thank you to guest writer, Ernie Allison, for sharing this article! *** Even though summer isn’t the peak season to witness a heavy migration, the bay area is still full of spots for birders to see some beautiful wild bird species. Whether you’re a local looking to quench your bird watching craving before the migration season, or a visitor looking to see what kind of … Continue reading 5 Best Places to Bird Watch in the Bay Area

Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

In the coming months, I’m going to be trying out trail runs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of these trails will be great for both hikers and trail runners. My personal form of trail running is a combination of both (I prefer to hike the hills and run the flats, rollers and downhill sections). However, I’ve become bored with covering the same terrain … Continue reading Hike / Trail Run: Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

I’m frequently asked what my favorite campground is near the Bay Area.  My answer is always, “the one at Butano State Park, just outside of Pescadero, in the Santa Cruz Mountains”  We’ve been camping at Ben Ries Campground in the park every summer for several years now, and it’s become a family tradition.  The small campground, tucked away in the redwoods, is extremely popular with … Continue reading Camping: Ben Ries Campground, Butano State Park

Camping: Juniper Campground, Mount Diablo State Park

Mount Diablo is the perfect place for those of you in the Bay Area who want a quick mountain escape, but who aren’t up for the three-four hours it takes to get to the Sierra Nevada’s.  At 3000 feet elevation, the views from Juniper Campground are stunning.  Of course, this is also a great campground for those from out of the area, looking for an … Continue reading Camping: Juniper Campground, Mount Diablo State Park

Framed: Step Into Art Exhibit, Bay Area Discovery Museum

If you are in the area and have the opportunity, I highly suggest you take your little ones to the Bay Area Discover Museum in Sausalito to play in the “Framed:  Step into Art” exhibit, which will be on display until September 8th, 2013.  We’re fortunate, in that this is this is the second time we’ve been able to check out this great exhibit.  It … Continue reading Framed: Step Into Art Exhibit, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda

I participated in a super fun 5K run (See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon and 5K San Francisco Bay Area) yesterday morning at Crown Memorial State Beach / Crab Cove in Alameda. What a gorgeous place to run! There’s a paved trail that runs along the bay (the beach is 2.5 miles long!), perfect for strollers or a bike ride with the kids.  I’ve been … Continue reading Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda

This Sunday! Butterfly & Bird Festival, Coyote Hills

If you live in the San Francisco area, and you’re into butterflies, I suggest you head to Coyote Hills Regional Park this Sunday (June 9th, 2013) for the annual Butterfly & Bird Festival.  We’ve attended this for the last three years and always love it!  See what I wrote about our visit last year…  Monarchs!  Butterfly & Bird Festival, Coyote Hills, Fremont. When:  June 9th, … Continue reading This Sunday! Butterfly & Bird Festival, Coyote Hills

Bay Area Train Rides: Niles Canyon Railway

Love trains?  Check out this railway with beautiful views located in the San Francisco East Bay…. the Niles Canyon Railway.  You have the option to board in Sunol or Niles for a round trip (out and back) trip.  We rode on the “Education Train”, which is popular with school groups, but other excursions that look fun include the Spring Wildflower Trains and Livermore Valley Wine … Continue reading Bay Area Train Rides: Niles Canyon Railway

Fun! Great American Backyard Campout

The Great American Backyard Campout is coming up on June 22nd, 2013. It’s time to start planning now! What is the Great American Backyard Campout? It’s an event created by the National Wildlife Federation and their “Be Out There” campaign to reconnect kids with nature and the outdoors. On the 4th Saturday of every June, thousands of families will head outdoors for a night of … Continue reading Fun! Great American Backyard Campout

Stinson Beach: Play!

Saturday was the perfect beach day… not hot, not cold, not a bit foggy.  With such gorgeous weather, we couldn’t resist heading to Stinson Beach to attend the 9th Annual Create-With-Nature Earth Day Celebration.  There were so many fun art activities to participate in, I can’t possible contain them all within one post!  So, for now, here are a few photos of my son simply … Continue reading Stinson Beach: Play!

Citizen Science: FrogWatch 2013

As I sit here at my computer with the backdoor open to allow some fresh air into our home, I’m listening to the lovely sound of frogsong.  The chorus is coming from the creek on the other side of our backyard fence.  Up until today, we’ve only been hearing one frog at a time.  Suddenly, this afternoon,I can’t distinguish how many I hear.  Has the … Continue reading Citizen Science: FrogWatch 2013

Fun! Magic Mountain Playground, San Mateo

I have to rate this playground one the best in the entire San Francisco Bay Area.  We’ve been here a few times over the years, and it’s always so much fun.  If you have a kid who’s into knights, princesses, dragons, and/or castles, this park is a must-visit.  The three-story slide is a highlight! Interested in going?  Magic Mountain Playground is located within the Coyote … Continue reading Fun! Magic Mountain Playground, San Mateo

Point Reyes Lighthouse

A highlight of any visit to Point Reyes National Seashore, on the California coast, thirty miles north of San Francisco, is the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Growing up, my family would visit here every January to watch the migrating gray whales.  Assuming a clear day, the views from here are incredible!  The lighthouse is located on the tip of the Point Reyes Peninsula, which extends ten … Continue reading Point Reyes Lighthouse

Strawberry Picking Fun! Swanton Berry Farm U-Pik

As part of our annual summer camping trip to Butano State Park, our tradition is to go strawberry picking at our favorite organic u-pik farm, Swanton Berry Farm, located just south of Pescadero (or north of Santa Cruz).  This is an easy day trip from the Bay Area, and great to incorporate into a visit to Ano Nuevo State Park or Pigeon Point Lighthouse. What’s … Continue reading Strawberry Picking Fun! Swanton Berry Farm U-Pik

The Kora… Outdoor Music at the Farmer’s Market

We try to attend at least one of our many local farmer’s market weekly. While our primary reason for a visit to the market is to purchase fresh, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables, what my son likes the best is the music. Each of the markets seems to have a different musician or band playing each week. This week, at the Thursday San Ramon Farmer’s … Continue reading The Kora… Outdoor Music at the Farmer’s Market

Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (or plan to visit) and you have kids and enjoy hiking, you should have Laure Latham‘s (aka Frog Mom) book, Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area, in your personal library.  When this book first came out last year, I checked it out from the library.  After only a few days, I realized I had … Continue reading Book Recommendation: Best Hikes with Kids, San Francisco Bay Area