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Bay Area to Central Coast Family Adventure

Bay Area to Central Coast Family Adventure
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Fly across a redwood forest, visit tech museums, and go on a bargain-hunting safari.

Trip length: 3-4 days
Total distance: 209mi/336km

DAY 1
MOUNT HERMON. Get a new and dramatic perspective on redwoods—from 100 feet up—when you zip-line on a two-hour guided canopy tour complete with six zip lines and 400-foot-long glides above the trees. INFO Mount Hermon Adventures Redwood Canopy Tours ; 831/430-4357

SANTA CRUZ (9mi/15km; 20min). Sea stars, crabs, and anemones fill the tide pools at Natural Bridges State Beach . Look for seals and otters year-round, migrating whales in winter, and monarch butterflies mid-October to mid-February. Also check out a rad display of surfboards and history of the sport at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum  located in a lighthouse at renowned surf spot Steamer Lane. INFO Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council ; 831/425-1234

DAY 2
BOULDER CREEK (25mi/41km; 55min). Join ongoing guided nature hikes and special activities for kids at Big Basin Redwoods State Park (programs listed on park website). Stop in at the park’s nature museum, with its many taxidermy animals and re-creations of local habitats. INFO Big Basin Redwoods State Park ; 831/338-8860

WOODSIDE (34mi/54km; 1hr3min). Mosey on over to the equine-friendly community of Woodside and Buck’s , for a burger and luscious shakes. To work off that gut-buster, rent bikes from nearby Menlo Velo and enjoy wide bike lanes and reservoir views along La Cañada Road . INFO San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 650/348-7600

SANTA CLARA (25mi/40km; 27min). Get a peek at what makes laptops work, how chips are constructed, and more at the Intel Museum . Learn about life here way, way before computers at Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the eighth Spanish mission built in California. INFO Santa Clara Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 408/244-9660

DAY 3
SAN JOSÉ (6mi/10km; 12min). Get a look at the brilliantly ecentric life—and unorthodox mansion—of Sarah Winchester at Winchester Mystery House . Then interact with robots, dance with projected butterflies, play electronica, and feel a simulated earthquake at The Tech Museum  of Innovation. INFO Team San José ; 408/244-9660

GILROY (39mi/63km; 46min). Have the little one climb aboard the Banana Split and Bulgy the Goldfish rides at Gilroy Gardens . Check out impressive savings on Calvin Klein, Juicy Couture, and other big-name brands at Gilroy Premium Outlets . INFO Santa Clara Convention & Visitors Bureau ; 408/244-9660

SOLEDAD (71mi/114km; 1hr23min). Bring flashlights to go on a bat hunt on the 2.4-mile round-trip Balconies Cliffs-Cave Loop; hike through the rocky spires of Pinnacles National Park to Balconies Cave. INFO Pinnacles National Park ; 831/389-4462
 

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