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Kristi Marcelle

Oakland, California

MY KIDS

My Travel Style

I'm always planning my family's next adventure. I like to mix it up with day trips, weekend getaways and extended vacations. I'm continually surprised by the hidden-gem attractions, activities and restaurants that I find in my own backyard. I have a soft spot for the California coast and the various wine country regions that dot the state. A favorite quote by Mark Twain sums up my thoughts about traveling. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

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Hofsas House Hotel Carmel By the Sea

Between 3rd & 4th Ave on San Carlos Street, Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Pet friendly
  • Babysitting
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Microwave in room
  • Kitchenette or kitchen in room
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Outdoor pool


Average user rating (1 Reviews)

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  • Tweens (9-12)

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$115

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Visited: 2014-12-01 | Submitted: 2015-01-08 18:25:44.0 | I traveled with tweens (9-12)

Affordable, Two Bedroom Family Suite in Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Hofsas House Hotel makes a family vacation in pricey Carmel-by-the-Sea affordable. The two-bedroom family has a King bedroom and a separate bedroom with two beds and its own bathroom. The suite is basically two separate hotel rooms connected by a hallway. Continental breakfast is mroe than adequate for breakfast with local pastries, fruit and yogurt. The staff is friendly and there's a small pool. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a great base for exploring all that Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel has to offer.

Tips for Families

There are 3 two bedroom suites; some with fireplaces and full kitchens. It's a 5 minute walk to the center of downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea.

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Pillar Point HMB

235 Main St, Half Moon Bay, California

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  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2014-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-12-05 18:51:36.0 | I traveled with tweens (9-12)

A Harbor Full of Things to Do and Kid-friendly Restaurants

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Pillar Point Harbor isn't your typical harbor. It's a gathering spot for locals and tourists especially on weekends when you can buy fresh catch right off the boats. There are many restaurants that are kid and dog-friendly. For a view try the second floor of Flavor or with a dog or on a nice day the patio at Half Moon Bay Brewing is great - they even have homemade dog bones made from the spent grain of the beer production. We kayaked with Half Moon Bay Kayak on another morning and whether it's seals or sea birds, there's always something to look at. We were surprised by how much there is to do in the harbor with kids. Highly recommended!

Tips for Families

Half Moon Bay is less than an hour south of San Francisco. It's an easy day trip and if you're here during Dungeness crab season which starts in November, try to go on a weekend. Kids will be fascinated by the bags of live crabs people are carrying and some fisherman may let them touch one.

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Ritz Carlton Hotel Half Moon Bay

One Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, California

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  • Tweens (9-12)

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$401

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Visited: 2014-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-12-05 18:10:07.0 | I traveled with tweens (9-12)

A Taste of the Scottish Highlands on the California Coast

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The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a luxurious getaway for families less than an hour south of San Francisco. The grounds are immense with cliff views reminiscent of Scotland and reinforced with sounds from a bagpipe player who roams the grounds from late afternoon until sunset. The coastal bike trail runs through the resort and surrounding golf courses. Families can easily stop for a walk on the beach or a look in the tide pools in front of the resort at low tide. The outdoor seating areas are a must-do at sunset.

Tips for Families

There are bikes for use on site and staff can arrange for children's bike to be brought over from the bike shop in town. Check the pool schedule before heading over as some hours are adult-only. The location is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Half Moon Bay.

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Oddyssea Outside

Half Moon Bay, California

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  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2014-12-01 | Submitted: 2014-12-05 17:32:54.0 | I traveled with tweens (9-12)

Outdoor Adventure and Activity Garden Entertains All Ages

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Very rarely can you find a place that merges nature and crafts and appeals to all ages - including tweens and teens. My 11 year old son was as engaged as his 9 year old sister and 70 year old aunt. We made air plant terrariums, sand jars, outdoor lanterns and necklaces. This is a unique experience created by people that understand families. The inside retail shop was almost as much fun as making the crafts. The games, toys and projects inside are unusual and interesting.

Tips for Families

This is an excellent activity with grandparents. Would put this at the top of the list for things to do with kids in Half Moon Bay. If you're looking for a family-friendly restaurant, we ate at It's Italia nearby. The quality of the food is good and many pastas/pizzas that kids like.

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The Phoenician Hotel Scottsdale

6000 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)

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Visited: 2014-04-01 | Submitted: 2014-06-06 16:28:53.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

A Desert Getaway with Dozens of On-site Activities

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The Phoenician backs up to Camelback Mountain and the lushly landscaped resort is surrounded by desert vistas. Multiple pools mean toddlers, school age kids and teens can all have their own space not to mention adults that want a quieter day poolside. If you don't want to hear "Marco Polo" you don't have to. Rooms could use a refresh but they're big and have plenty of space for a family. There are so many on-site activities for kids of all ages that they will bounce from the pool to activities and back again at night for dive-in movies. Most of the activities are free and you'll never hear an "I'm bored". This may be the reason that so many families return year after year. The resort is located 5 minutes from Scottsdale's shopping and dining district so it's easy to get out and do things.

Tips for Families

The grounds are a dream for toddlers who can run on the grass and try to catch the bunnies that live here. For tweens and teens, there's a free activity center near the tennis courts that has ping-pong, pool, video games and a small movie theater.

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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

1001 Fairgrounds Dr, Vallejo, California

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Average user rating (21 Reviews)

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2014-05-01 | Submitted: 2014-05-15 13:15:39.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Not Just Roller Coasters - Animals too

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At first glance, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom looks like it's only roller coasters but they have a shows running throughout the day. These provide an excellent opportunity to rest and catch a bit of shade. Odin's Temple of Tiger showed how tigers have learned to swim if needed and was a quick introduction to the wild cats. There are also dolphins, sea lions and more.

Tips for Families

When you need a break from the summer heat, we found a show and more water did the trick.

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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

1001 Fairgrounds Dr, Vallejo, California

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Average user rating (21 Reviews)

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My ratings by kids age

  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2014-05-01 | Submitted: 2014-05-15 13:09:13.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Roller coaster Heaven for Tweens and Teens

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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is about a 45 minute drive from San Francisco. Highlights here are the rollers coasters and thrill rides. Superman is the short and not-so-sweet though Medusa was our groups' favorite coaster. It's a longer ride with loops and twists and turns. The relative compact size of the park means you can let tweens/teens go off for awhile and easily meet them in an hour or two. There are tamer rides by the butterfly pavilion and lake if you need a break from the roller coasters. On Mother's Day Sunday we never waited more than 5 minutes for a ride - it was perfect.

Tips for Families

No food and beverages (except water) can be brought into the park. We saw many frustrated families have to dump their food or eat it at the gate. The food court area has a pizza/beverage deal that is more reasonable than ordering a la carte food. Bring sunscreen and hats - it's hot here. The season pass is a good value if you will be returning.

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Mount Roberts Tramway

Juneau, Alaska

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2013-06-01 | Submitted: 2014-03-28 16:16:30.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Hiking and Snow Summit are Highlights

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The 5-minute ride from the base of Mt Roberts is over before you know it but there's a lot to do at the top. We watched a film, saw a bald eagle and then hiked around. Even in June there was snow on the summit and we were able to have a snowball fight - this was more exciting than the tram ride for the kids. There are a couple of restaurants here and plenty at the base area of the tram.

Tips for Families

To the left of the base of the tram at the waterfront, there's a concrete whispering wall that the kids thought was pretty cool.

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Lands End

El Camino Del Mar, San Francisco, California

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2014-03-01 | Submitted: 2014-03-21 16:14:40.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

Bluff Hikes and Big Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

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Lands End Visitor's center sits on the cliffs above the ocean surrounded by hiking trails. Ruins from the Sutro Baths, a private swimming pool complex, are visible from the parking lot and there are hiking trails that begin in the parking lot and lead down to the beach, ruins and around the cliffs. This is a busy spot on weekends and while you're out in nature, you won't have it to yourself. Picnickers, hikers and walkers with dogs pack the trails. If the fog has rolled in, head to the nearby Marina area and Chestnut Street for lunch or dinner.

Tips for Families

Parents with toddlers should know that there are steep cliffs and steps on the coastal trail that toddlers won't be able to manage on their own. You might have more fun running or flying a kit on the beach.

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Palm Beach Historic Inn

365 S County Rd , Palm Beach, Florida

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Pet friendly
  • Refrigerator in room
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


Average user rating (2 Reviews)

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  • Big kids (6-8)
  • Tweens (9-12)

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Visited: 2014-02-01 | Submitted: 2014-03-14 18:54:30.0 | I traveled with big kids (6-8) and tweens (9-12)

A few Blocks from the Beach and Worth Avenue Shopping

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Palm Beach Historic Inn is located in downtown Palm Beach, a couple of blocks from the beach and the shops on Worth Avenue. For families, the best things are the location, 2-bedroom rooms (with a TV in each room) and complimentary breakfast. The hotel provides beach towels and chairs so it's easy to walk to the beach for a few hours. Walking distance to a few restaurants.

Tips for Families

I would probably go elsewhere with a baby or toddler and not because the staff are not friendly but because I"m not sure how soundproof the rooms are with a crying child and for a toddler there's no area to run.

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