Back in the great outdoors, the world famous Yosemite National Park is full of family friendly activities including the amazing Yosemite High Sierra Camps. On these four to six-day guided hiking or horseriding treks you are free to go at your own pace without the hassle of carrying multiple days’ supply of food and water. At the camps you’re treated to dinner and breakfast and provided with a packed lunch for the next day. The scenery is enough to impress even a sulky teenager.
For a different kind of wilderness adventure, Fort Bragg’s Skunk Train will take you at a leisurely pace through the majestic North Coast redwoods. The train follows the coastal Redwood Route as it has done since 1885, when it was built to transport the massive redwood logs to the sawmills further south.
A visit to California wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the surf culture, which of course is so similar to our own here in Australia. California boasts more than 1700 kilometres of coastline so there’s no shortage of opportunities.
A good place to start is the California Surf Museum in Oceanside. Their Women On Waves exhibition is a classic, covering 300 years of history, from Hawaiian queens, to Sixties icons like Gidget, to today’s women’s pro-surfing tour.
Down in the OC, Huntington Beach is a classic surf beach town where you can enjoy a bonfire on the beach, grab a bite to eat at Dwights (a local favourite since 1932) or visit the famous Sugar Shack. If your kids want to hit the waves there are a number of surf schools including the Billabong-sponsored Salty Grom Surf Camp. The camps run from 8.30am to 1.30pm daily and you can even watch your little grommets compete in a mini surf contest.
California has been a dream destination for kids since I was little. Back then, it was all about movie stars, Disneyland and the Hard Rock Café. But most of all, it was all about fun, and that hasn’t changed really – there’s just a whole lot more of it.