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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Northern California Secret Vacation Places Offer Fun, Relaxation, and Inspiration. Petrified Forest Calistoga CaliforniaFinding new places and new ways to share time is easier than it seems. Chilling out is nice to do at any age because sharing time together is what a family vacation is all about.

Our Secret Places vacation folder showcases family vacation ideas focusing on off-the-beaten-path locations with a mix of activities but no lines or tight schedules. In addition to the choices featured in the folder, I have highlighted three unique destinations in northern California each offering a friendly easy-paced atmosphere with the potential to share time with family and create memories.
Calistoga in Napa Valley – Wine, Petrified Wood, and Spa Time. Wine country with kids, why not? The family-friendly yet sophisticated small towns, delightful vineyards, and easy-paced atmosphere provide the ideal backdrop for an uncomplicated family getaway with benefits for kids of all ages – parents included. Outdoor activities abound in the area with horseback riding among the coastal redwoods, hiking in the Palisade Mountains and exploring a three-million-year-old petrified forest at the top. Bonus Points: Spend time at the Culinary Institute of America’s Napa Valley campus watching aspiring chefs using their artful cooking skills. Wait for it! Escape to Calistoga and spend time with the kids at Safari West- a 400 acre wildlife complex with enriching exotic animal encounters and dozens of ways to connect with nature. Location on the planet: The historic resort town of Calistoga is at the base of Mount St. Helena in northern Napa Valley. Family vacation base: I like any place with a day spa onsite and The Euro Spa & Inn in downtown Calistoga offers tranquility and terrific relaxation space along with excellent services and first-class accommodations at discounted rates.  (1202 Pine Street, Calistoga, CA 94515. (707)942-6829 or Euro Spa & Inn)

Ukiah in Mendocino County – Bowling, Hiking, and 10,000 Buddhas. Whether it's bowling with the kids at Yokayo Bowling Center or hiking with the family around Lake Mendocino this area of Northern California provides a vacation atmosphere without lines except maybe at if the line is part of a roller skating adventure at Ukiah Skate City Roller Center.  Enjoy hiking within Cow Mountain Recreation Area or swimming, boating, biking and picnicking around Lake Mendocino. Bonus Points: Pack your family’s set of Frisbees and challenge the kids to show their flying skills at Lake Mendocino's Disc Golf Course. Peacock at on Campus of 10,000 BuddhasWait for it! Ukiah is the home of City of Ten Thousand Buddhas – a Buddhist teaching and learning complex with a temple, restaurant and mediation space all open to the public. It’s never too early to share a zenful space with your children and create the opportunity to talk about our earth and our actions. Wander the grounds along with dozens of inquisitive peacocks and visit the temple - a sacred place where children can practice whisper-speak. Location on the planet: Ukiah is about two hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge in a bucolic valley not far from Point Reyes National Seashore. Family vacation base: Discovery Inn Ukiah offers unpretentious family-friendly space complete with unparalleled amenities and services. Some rooms have full kitchens.  (1340 N. State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. (707) 462-8873 or Discovery Inn Ukiah)
Modesto – Nuts, Baseball, and Awesome Family Entertainment. Sharing baseball with your kids is much easier and certainly more affordable at a Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies) minor league game where there are special events, live entertainment and often giveaways. Add to that the chance to play ball at Big League Dreams Sports Park a unique facility with scaled replicas of famous major league stadiums including Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. Modesto is also the home of one of the oldest railways in North America - Sierra Railroad built to connect the Central Valley with the famous Gold Country.  Actor with YES - Youth Entertainment Stage CompanyWait for it! The Gallo Center for the Arts offers audiences of all ages a range of live performances, including top-name performers and is the home to five resident companies, including Youth Entertainment Stage Company (YES), Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Townsend Opera Players. Bonus Points: Visit the Blue Diamond Almonds factory and enjoy free tastings. Location on the planet: East of San Francisco about 90 miles and about 70 miles south of Sacramento, Modesto makes a great stop along the way to Yosemite. Family vacation base: For old-fashioned hospitality, modern guestrooms and suites, and oodles of amenities Modesto Super 8 fits to bill. They offer a California Gas N Go Yosemite Package. This value travel package features overnight accommodations for two, a $20 Shell gas card, complimentary hot breakfast, and free high-speed internet access. 4100 Salida Blvd. Hwy 99 at Pelendale Modesto, California 95358. (209) 543-9000 or Super8 Modesto)

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images courtesy City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Petrified Forest, and Youth Entertainment Stage Company, Modesto. Copyright updated 2015.

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