Slide Ranch VC_SlideRanch_Supplied_TerryHuesbye_i-px2QpKH-X3_1280x640
Terry Huesbye

Slide Ranch

Slide Ranch
Bring your kids to this educational nature haven, 30 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge

On the western edge of Mill Valley, tucked between Stinson Beach and Muir Beach, Slide Ranch is a 134-acre coastal haven with an idiosyncratic heritage. Originally a 19th-century dairy farm owned by a Portuguese family, the property fell into disrepair over the years and, in 1969, was purchased by the Nature Conservancy and protected from any future commercial development. A year later, Slide Ranch was formed—with financial support from iconic frontman Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead—as a nonprofit with the purpose of reconnecting Bay Area kids to nature. And because the ranch sits within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, the property has always been open to the public for hiking, picnicking, and exploring. 

A visit to this rare bucolic beauty is an education—in local ecology, organic farming, native animal life, and the environment. You can explore the grounds on your own—there are miles of coastal trails and multiple picnic areas—but for a richer experience, you’ll want to sign up for a tour with a resident teacher. Slide Ranch also hosts a variety of workshops, campouts, and other family events to bring guests deeper into this wildly special habitat. As of September 2017, the ranch also boasts a Farm-to-Table Teaching Kitchen, a state-of-the-art classroom with a deck overlooking the Pacific.

Through the ranch’s programs, kids can milk a goat, collect eggs from the chickens, learn about the native plants and wildlife, explore the tidepools, make nature crafts, cook from the garden, and much more. Check out the ranch’s Family Farm Days, themed four-hour programs that range from hikes to learn about resident birds (like the great horned owl) to ocean-related activities, sheep-shearing, or wool-crafting in the yurt. 

For the ultimate weekend campout experience, book the overnight program for families. Slide Ranch teachers lead a day of farm activities and exploration, then you’ll dine and sleep beneath the stars. All Slide Ranch programs sell out fast, so book early.

If you’re in love with the location, good news: Slide Ranch also offers site rentals so you can throw a party or get married on a vista overlooking the Pacific before joining your guests for an overnight camping celebration.

Slide Ranch VCW_TI_5_BayLoop_Hero_Manley_1280x642_sized_0
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.

"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me." —singer Tony Bennett

The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation. 

Slide Ranch VC_Questionnaire_NatalieCilurzo_RussianRiverBrewingCompany_NC5-060117_1280x640
Russian River Brewing Company

THE CALIFORNIA QUESTIONNAIRE: Natalie Cilurzo

The co-owner of the wildly popular Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa shares her story, along with a few Golden State favorites

Natalie Cilurzo will never forget the day everything changed for the Russian River Brewing Company. It was February 5, 2010—the first Friday in...

Slide Ranch VC_Sausalito_Hero_Stock_RF_508260845_1280x640
Eiojo Torpe/Getty Images

Sausalito

Explore this quaint town that’s just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a steep hillside covered in chaparral and eucalyptus drops from Highway 101 to a flat, sunny shoreline, two...

Slide Ranch VC_SpotlightBerkeley_Hero_Stock_RF_149303390_1280x640
Chao Kusollerscharlya/Shutterstock

Spotlight: Berkeley

Slide Ranch vca_maps_sfbayarea_2
See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

A haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But...

Slide Ranch VCW_D_SFcity_CableCarWharf_1280x642_0
San Francisco's cable cars are the country's only mobile National Historic Landmark.
Slide Ranch SF_GGB_TS_1280x642_sized
Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Golden Gate Bridge

Slide Ranch vca_maps_sfbayarea
See one of the world’s most famous landmarks, spanning an elegant bay

With towers soaring 746 feet/227 meters into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay, and all of it painted bright red-...

San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.
Rudyard Kipling
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

Slide Ranch VCW_SI_T10_Milliken&Feniger_Portrait_preview_686x885
Slide Ranch VC_NapaSpotlight_Hero_RF_88650897_1280x640
Mathew Spolin/Getty Images

Spotlight: Napa Valley

Slide Ranch vca_maps_sfbayarea_0
Explore ultimate wine country luxury in the land where Cabernet is king

Napa Valley reigns as the land of grand estates, expansive tasting rooms, quaint towns, and elegant lodgings, many of which edge up to the...

Slide Ranch VC_MasterChefAustralia_AtelierCrenn_Chef-Dominque-Crenn-Restaurant-is-called-Atelier-Crenn-EXT_1280x640
Courtesy of MasterChef Australia

Atelier Crenn

Two Michelin stars sparkle at this minimalist gem

For a visual feast that also happens to taste amazing, book a table at Atelier Crenn, where gifted chef Dominique Crenn creates visually stunning...

Slide Ranch VC_SpotlightSonoma_Hero_SonomaCounty_Stock_RF_520387436_1280x640
Vicki Jauron/Getty Images

Spotlight: Sonoma County

Slide Ranch vca_maps_sfbayarea_1
Escape to wine country with secret vineyards, cozy inns, and rich history

Spanning more than one million acres from the Pacific Ocean to the rugged Coast Range, this slice of wine-country bliss defies typecasting. Yes,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

Slide Ranch VCW_SI_T5_John_preview_686x885
John/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

Slide Ranch PalaceHotel_LynGateley_preview_686x885
Lynn Gately/Flickr
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
Slide Ranch VCW_D_NC_T1_RedwoodNP_Manley-sized
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Northern California

Explore the best of Northern California's Great Outdoors
Slide Ranch VC_Hero_Manley -1280x642

It may measure less than 50 square miles/130 square kilometers, but San Francisco justly ranks as one of the greatest cities in the world. Famous for grand-dame Victorians, classic cable cars, dynamic diversity, a beautiful waterfront, and a soaring crimson bridge, the  “City by the Bay” is the...

Slide Ranch VCW_D_T3_MUWO_140510_LRu_08_ copy

Tucked into an ocean-facing fold of Mount Tamalpais, the signature peak just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, Muir Woods National Monument protects the last stand of uncut old-growth coast redwoods in the Bay Area, where loggers had all but denuded the region by the late 1800s....

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

Slide Ranch VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
SPECIAL FEATURE
From Gold Rush history to the 8th wonder of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

Slide Ranch McWayFalls_JPB_SP_preview_686x885
Amy Meredith/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

Slide Ranch Carmel_BeachDog_Farnum_preview_686x885
Alex Farnum
Slide Ranch VCW_D_SF_T7_AKLB_1280x642_sized
Courtesy of Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Performing Arts

Museums, music, and a hint of bohemia

Nested near the city’s cupola-topped City Hall, impressive performance spaces in San Francisco present some of California’s—and the world’s—...

Slide Ranch VCW_D_Sjose_Hero_TerminalB_1280x642
Courtesy of San Jose International Airport

Spotlight: San Jose

Slide Ranch vca_maps_sfbayarea
Tech savvy, international flair

The first hit of this city’s unmistakable techy-ness starts right off the bat—if you get here by plane. Meet Space Observer, a 26-foot/7.9-meter-...

It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
Julia Child
SPECIAL FEATURE
Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city-park charmers, boisterous adventures—smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play.  These smaller parks offer old-...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
Slide Ranch FF_NCA3429_sh
According to legend, Winchester Mystery House's maze of passages and building oddities were designed to confuse the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your kids to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a bumper...

Slide Ranch T8_TurtleBay_PeterAlfredHess_preview_686x885
Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr
Slide Ranch VCW_TI_5_Hero_Baybridge-IMG_5424b copy

Trip 3-5 days 10 stops

San Francisco Bay Loop

Discover this something-for-everything loop tour around an iconic bay
Slide Ranch SF_GoldenGate_1280x642

Start your trip with a visit to one of the most iconic spans in the world. With towers soaring 746 feet/227 meters into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay, and all of it painted fire-engine red, the Golden Gate Bridge makes a dramatic destination, and a great way to...

Slide Ranch PaintedSisters_SanFrancisco_1280x642

End your road trip by exploring one of the world’s great cities. Famous for grand-dame Victorians, classic cable cars, dynamic diversity, a beautiful waterfront, and a soaring crimson bridge, the “City by the Bay” truly has it all. Trend-defining cuisine ranging from Michelin-starred dining to...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

Slide Ranch VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Michael Saechang/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Slide Ranch Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
Slide Ranch Livermore_TaiPowerSeeff_1280x642_sized
Tai Power Seeff

Livermore

Ranches, vineyards, and relaxed appeal east of San Francisco

With warm sun and wide-open spaces cradling vineyards, ranches, and wine-country estates, the Livermore Valley makes an appealing destination just...