Pumpkin spice may be on the menu and Halloween candy in stores, but an end of summer heatwave is still warming up the Bay Area. Fall is traditionally a beautiful time in San Francisco and for much of Northern California’s coastline, offering some of the clearest and warmest days of the year. However, all this hot weather has some people begging for relief. If you’re looking to make the most out of the nice weather while beating the heat, we’ve got 4 kid-approved escapes from the Bay Area heatwave.
- The Redwood Forest – Head north to Guerneville, Sonoma County for a family trip to Armstrong Redwoods State Nature Reserve and bring a light sweater! Even when the weather is blazing hot in the riverside town of Guerneville, the redwoods can be much cooler. There are plenty of paths for all to enjoy, including parents with strollers and in addition to exploring the beautiful redwood forest, visitors can view the tallest tree (310 ft) and the oldest tree (1400 years) while learning about forest conservation. Pack a lunch and enjoy the picnic area, think sandwiches, wraps and finger foods! There are even grills available if you wish to BBQ. S’mores?
- Francis Ford Coppola Winery – This famous winery makes a great day trip for families especially in hot weather. After enjoying the impressive collection of movie memorabilia inside, families can rent a cabine or purchase family pool passes to enjoy the two swimming pools and poolside seating area. The warm weather of the Alexander Valley is perfect for frolicking in the water and with the winery’s popularity with families, the kids might even make new friends! Toss a blanket on the lawn for a poolside picnic or bring snacks and order light lunch fare from the outdoor bar. Some of our favorite pool snacks include frozen grapes, fresh vegetables with hummus or dip, and protein-packed edamame!
- Sonoma – If Geyserville is a bit too far to drive, try the historic Sonoma Plaza in the heart of Sonoma! The center holds a beautifully shaded park that’s perfect for running around, playing and enjoying a family picnic. There are plenty of art galleries and shops to poke around in, including a great thrift store and a toy store for kids to enjoy. This wine tasting mecca begs for a nice cheese spread. Try making your own at-home “lunchables” with cheese squares, whole grain crackers and fresh fruit. Add a little fruit spread like strawberry or apricot to your cheese and crackers for some extra flair! Good news for mom and dad, alcohol is permitted in the park so go ahead and purchase a bottle of wine while you’re there.
- The Coast – Now is the time to head west and enjoy our rugged coastline and its amazing tidal pools. The fog and the tourists have rolled away and you’ll enjoy some incredible California days on the beach. It’s always smart to dress in layers but don’t be surprised if it’s nice enough to wear a swimsuit. Bodega Bay is a popular destination with plenty of easy to reach beaches, some of which are accessible for people with low mobility. With so many opportunities for walking, running, hiking and even kite-flying, it’s easy to work up an appetite. Our suggestion is to bring along some seafood snacks and sides and enjoy them with fresh clam chowder, which you can purchase to-go from many bayside restaurants. Some chowder-friendly picnic food ideas could be tuna sliders, salmon and kale wraps, shrimp pasta salad or crab quiche!