Top 5 Places for Family Day Trips in the Bay Area


    If you are searching for local places your family can visit and enjoy for a day, you are in the right place. In the past three years, my family has enjoyed taking many day trips in the Bay Area, especially to the following places:

    Mount Tamalpais State Park

    bay area day trips

    Mount Tamalpais is located in Marin County. It has hiking trails and the highest peak — East peak —at 2,571 feet high. The gorgeous view from the East Peak attracts many visitors every year. I have a friend who even hosted his wedding ceremony there because liked the scenery there so much.

    Our family really liked the view and enjoyed the real “rock climbing” feeling. When we sat on top of the highest rocks to look down at the Bay Area and the mountains, we felt as if we were touching the blue sky and white clouds, and the feeling was great!

    Ages 5 and up are recommended for East Peak. Strollers will be inconvenient for the journey on the 0.7-mile rocky path to the East Peak. The other trails might be OK for strollers. See more pictures and details such as parking, and other suggestions in this post.

    Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

    point lobos one day trip from bay area

    Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is close to the very famous 17-mile drive in Monterey.

    We really liked this pure, natural place and the sea life there. We were amazed to see the unique, beautiful shapes and patterns of the rocks that are surrounded by sea water. They became a mini obstacle course for my kids where they jumped from one rock to another. Beware — some of the rocks are too far apart for jumping. Point Lobos has a lot of seaweeds, but the water there is crystal clear water, and you can see crabs, clams, fish, seals, etc. in different sizes and colors. It’s a fun place to explore for both kids and adults.

    The reserve has hiking trails, picnic areas, beaches, bird islands, and it’s surrounded by the sea on three sides. The best part is the terrific views and that the place was not crowded. Parking is convenient, too.

    Point Lobos is great for people of all ages and you can use strollers throughout (except for climbing rocks!). See more details such as admission, parking, and other suggestions in this post.

    Big Basin Redwoods State

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    Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located in Santa Cruz County, and it’s a must-see place.

    When we got there, we were amazed by the 300+ ft. tall Redwood trees and learned that Redwood trees’ roots are connected together to be able to survive through extreme weather conditions for more than a thousand years. We saw how big and how tall the Redwoods can grow and felt how fresh the air was in the park. We admired the natural beauty and the awe-inspiring Redwoods.

    The Redwoods are not found naturally anywhere else in the world except for Oregon’s and California’s coast. We really enjoyed our time there and hope we can get more time hiking there next time. This park has more than 81 hiking trails.

    It’s a great place for people of all ages. See more details in this post.

    Computer History Museum

    day trip to the computer history museum

    The Computer History Museum is in Mountain View is not far away from Google’s campus. If your family is interested in the fascinating history of computer hardware, software, and the internet, this is a must-see.

    I took my family there because I wanted my son to see how the computer was born, what the first generation of computers looked like, how fast the technology has evolved, and what revolutionary inventions have led to today’s powerful computer hardware and software, mobile devices, internet web, robotics, and autonomous car technology. We learned a lot during our visit such as observing the real Apple-1 computer made in 1976, how the Apple computer was born, who the first woman engineer was, and the funny conversations she had in a male dominant world.

    This Computer History Museum is a great place for adults and the kids of ages 8 and up. See more details here about the admission price, hours and other suggestions.

    Garin and Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park

    This park is located in Hayward and is absolutely worth visiting in the rainy season while the grass is green. 

    The scenic view is breathtaking and you will remember the park forever after only one visit. It’s a pure, natural park with picnic areas. This park has 20 miles of trails and it’s a perfect place for hiking. Sometimes you can see people also riding horses in the park. Whenever our family feels like we need to go out for some exercise, relax, enjoy the sunshine and the fantastic view, we come here. 

    It’s great for people of all ages. Young kids can play in the plain grass area if they do not want to climb mountain or hills, and you can see more pictures, parking information, and suggestions here.


    Yanchun Zhang

    Yanchun moved to the Bay Area with her family 3 years ago after living in Houston, Texas for more than 15 years. Yanchun is a senior software engineer working in the Bay Area and holds a master degree in Computer Science. She also has another master degree and has a physics background. She loves natural beauty and enjoys walking and running in the sunshine. Yanchun likes to be outdoors with her family when she is not at work.

    Yanchun is the founder of, a website and a platform for regular travelers who just like you, to post “Things I wish I had known before” and other suggestions, and get travel ideas and practical suggestions when you need them through search. You can find more posts in and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



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