Only a month left before summer is over! The kids will be going back to school and the days will start getting shorter.  Make the most of what’s left of the season by planning some excursions a bit farther from home.  If you’re looking for some new ideas here is a list of doable daytrips for kids that have been suggested to me by fellow moms.  All of these suggestions are from parents of younger kids but children of all ages, and adults, will find plenty of fun at these destinations.      

Hit the Beach: We are only a half hour from the coast where you can find various beaches to enjoy with the kids.  Go a bit further to the Tomales Bay side of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula to visit Heart’s Desire Beach and other more secluded coastal nook and crannies. 

“Heart’s Desire Beach is one of our favorite summer family spots. The drive from Petaluma to there is a bit long but it is beautifully scenic and well worth the time it takes to get there. It is a beach where the water is shallow and calm enough for our son to play in for hours.”  -Anna Abeyta, mom of a two and half year old boy

Commune with Nature: Gather up some of your extended family and head to Spring Lake or Armstrong Redwoods State Park. These parks are great for family day trips with picnic grounds for parties and plenty of activities, like hiking, swimming, and boating, to keep everybody busy all day long. 

A Park with a Bit of Everything: Take a break from the neighborhood park and make a trip to Howarth Park in Santa Rosa.  This park has two play structures, pony rides, a train, boat rides, a jumpy house, animal barn, and a carousel; enough to tucker out the most energetic kid, and his parents! 

“The park space is well done and spread out so it never felt crowded. [My son] loved the play structure, especially the multi-layered web… The park has a little bit of everything except swimming (though there’s a water sprinkler play area).” -Mary Machens Martin, mom of three year old and nine month old boys

Take a Dip:  Skip the pool and hit Morton’s Warm Springs in Glen Ellen for a nourishing soak or swim.  With three natural mineral pools, sports courts (bocce ball, basketball, baseball, volleyball, horse shoes, ping pong), walking trails, and numerous picnic and BBQ areas, this destination will both stimulate and rejuvenate.

Get Your Science On:  San Francisco is only a half hour away and both the Academy of Sciences and the Exploratorium offer hours of edutainment.  Look, listen, touch, and feel; learn about the stars, the earth, the ocean, yourself and everything around you.  The perfect way to have fun and get those brain cells humming for the next school year.

Play in a Fort: Experience a bit of history and adventure up at Fort Ross State Park on the northern Sonoma Coast.  Overlooking the ocean, this park feels remote but is easily accessible and is a great place for kids to indulge their imaginations.

“The fort structure is in really good shape and there are model (non-functioning) canons on the grounds. Picnic lunch, run and climb, and it’s a good afternoon!!” – Ruth Thompson Mann, mom of a five year old boy

That is going to be enough to keep my family busy for the rest of the summer. Stay tuned for more details on these fun destinations.  If you still need more ideas check out this list provided by the Petaluma Mothers Club, seventeen pages of things to do with kids!!  Now you have no excuses so pack a picnic and get going!

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