What to do in Savannah, GA

Don’t know what to do in Savannah? Let me help you out, my friend. I get it, there are a lot of things to see and do in Savannah.  It can be overwhelming. First of all, ride the trolley! Then proceed to Broughton street and these must-do things below.

 

6 Places to Go in Savannah, GA

 

These are the places I absolutely must go whenever I hit up downtown Savannah.

 

1. Lulu’s Chocolate Bar

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.

Have you ever been to a chocolate bar? Did you even know there’s such a thing as a chocolate cocktail? If decadent cakes and dessert cocktails are your thang, then Lulu’s Savannah is the place to go. So many amazing, sinfully delicious choices.

Tip: they have a killer cheese plate that you need in your life. Trust me.

 

2. World of Beer

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.

If you’re looking for craft beer in Savannah, you absolutely must visit the World of Beer. With hundreds of beers from around the world and design-your-own flights, WOB is a must-do on Broughton St. Hands-down one of the best attractions in downtown Savannah.

Tip: They don’t offer food in-house at this location but if you ask they will provide menus to local eats that have agreed to deliver to WOB.

 

3. The Spice and Tea Exchange

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.

So many smells to smell! Not only are there fantastic tea blends available, there are also flavored salts and sugars. The walls are lined with jars with cork lids that you’re allowed to sniff to your sniffer’s content. The one thing that you MUST smell is the black truffle sea salt. I’m pretty sure this is what heaven smells like.

 

Tip: Usually samples of one or two kinds of tea are available in the center of the store.

 

4. The Savannah Bee Company

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.

First of all, get in line for long string of free honey samples. So good.  When you’re done with that head to the back of the store of $5 honey mead tasting. I promise you’ll leave with a bottle of mead.

This Savannah honey company has a great story and is definitely a business to support.

Tip: Don’t miss their other amazing products. My favorite lip balm of all time is the Savannah Bee Lavendar Rosemary lip balm. I brought two with me to India and made my BFF promise to send me more if I run out.

 

5. The Paris Market

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.
Or, as I like to call it, the Pinterest in Real Life Store. The Paris Market in Savannah is gorgeous and one for wandering through. Everything is just so PRETTY. It’s a great place for finding decor inspiration.

Tip: There’s a ground floor and a lower level. Near the back of the store of the ground floor are many tester bottles of very swanky (read: expensive) lotions and perfumes. Treat yo self!

 

6. Civvies Thrift Store

 

What to do in Savannah, GA.

This ain’t your mama’s thrift store. It’s super hip and I never feel cool enough to be there. But I go anyway. If you love vintage, recycled clothing, you definitely need to spend a few minutes playing dress up at Civvies.

 

Tip: Don’t miss the sign. The entrance from the street takes you straight up a flight of stairs and to the store which is on the second floor.


So that’s the big six – my favorite stuff to do Savannah. All but Lulu’s is located conveniently on Broughton St. But never fear, it’s just around the corner.

 

Have you been to any of these places? What’s your favorite thing to do in Savannah?

 

Heading there soon? Click here to find current prices for great hotels in Savannah.

And check out Groupon for great deals in Savannah at local restaurants and other things to do.

 

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What to do in Savannah, GA. The six best things to do in downtown Savannah, Georgia. The top six things to do in downtown Savannah, Georgia.

 

 

Jessica

Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussoorie

Char Dukan in Landour, Mussoorie has been around since nearly the beginning of this former British summer retreat town. The name “Char Dukan” literally means “four shops” in Hindi. Although in the last 100 years an extra shop or two has sprung up.

 

There are many resorts in Mussoorie and it’s a popular destination with Indian tourists partly due to the lovely Mussoorie weather. When the rest of the country is roasting it’s nice and cool in this old British hill station. Click the Agoda ad below to find hotels in Mussoorie for as low as 12 US dollars.

 


 

Char Dukan, then and now.

 

Char Dukan in Mussorie, India

 

 

 

Char Dukan, Mussorie, India.

 

Naturally, Mussoorie tourism is booming in the summer months and Char Dukan is practically crawling with visitors on any Saturday of the year. Serving up typical Indian snack foods like parantha (<-click for recipe), maggi noodles, and paneer pakora, these old shops keep the masses fed before they venture out for a hike in the Himalayan foothills.

 

Char Dukan, Mussorie, India.

 

Tip Top Tea Shop

 

Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan

 

There are many places to eat in Mussoorie but our favorite shop at Char Dukan, by far, is Tip Top Tea Shop. When facing the shops, Tip Top is on the far right. It serves up much the same menu as the rest of the shops, including the staple bun omelet (an omelet served in a sweet bun).

 

Indian Snack foods at Char Dukan, Mussorie.

 

But what kept us coming back week after week, were the pancakes. These are not your mama’s pancakes. No stacks of thin, flavorless flap jacks, here. When you order pancakes at Tip Top what you get is one, literal, pan-cake.

 

The best pancakes in Mussorie, India at Tip Top Tea Shop in Char Dukan.

 

Thick, sweet, and delicious, you really don’t even need the syrup. They come in a variety of custom flavors including banana, apple cinnamon, and chocolate.

 

Apple cinnamon pancake at Tip Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.

Hot and crispy apple cinnamon pancake.

 

You can guess which flavor our boys preferred.

 

Choclate pancake at Tip Top Tea shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.

 

This is India so be patient, your food will not come quickly or at the same time. Our boys loved to watch the cook work his magic.

 

Top Top Tea Shop at Char Dukan in Mussorie, India.

 

Ginger Lemon Tea

 

Before leaving make sure you don’t miss out on another Mussoorie specialty – Hot Honey Lemon Ginger Tea. It’s a nice alternative to the classic Indian milk chai.

 

Hot honey lemon ginger tea at Char Dukan in Mussoorie, India.

 

I preferred the bun omelet (I’m a salty, not a sweet kinda gal) but the rest of my family never left Tip Top without a scrumptious, fried pancake.

 

Have you ever been to Char Dukan or seen a pancake cooked this way?

 

Jessica

5 Signs You’ve Been Abroad Too Long

If you’ve been abroad for long you’ve noticed that your host culture has a way of creeping up on you. What was initially foreign slowly becomes normal. You begin to adopt the practices of your surroundings.

 

5 tongue-in-cheeks signs that you've been abroad too long.

 

Which, inevitably, comes back to bite you the next time you arrive on the familiar shores of home. Below are five signs that you’ve been abroad for too long. :)

 

1. You Pick Up Local Slang

 

You know you’ve been abroad for too long when you find yourself getting ridiculously excited by local slang from your home country. I never thought I used much slang until I traveled abroad and phased out my usage as I realized that non English speakers didn’t always understand what I meant. It’s perhaps no wonder then that when a fellow Brit I’d just met in New Zealand said she was ‘just nipping to the loo’ I became way too over excited. I was great hearing someone else use such a common phrase back home (FYI it means going to the toilet).

On the other hand, being English I say things like trousers instead of pants. We just say pants for underwear, and I still have a little giggle to myself every time some says ‘pants’, so living abroad can be pretty amusing too! It’ll be interesting to know how much Kiwi slang I’ve picked up while being in New Zealand, ‘Jandals’ have replaced ‘Flip flops’, and ‘no worries’ has replaced ‘you’re welcome’.

– Gemma from Gemma Jane Adventures

 

2. You Haggle

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

Once upon a time the thought of bartering a price stopped me cold. It’s about as far from my American culture as you can get. But recently while in Sri Lanka I found myself talking a tuk tuk driver down on his price without giving it a second thought.

You’re never going to pay local prices, and that’s okay. But usually you can shave a little off the “tourist tax”.

 

3. You Expect Great Service

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

 

Ideas about customer service completely morph while you’re abroad. Living in Korea, I’ve become somewhat of a spoiled-brat. Servers at restaurants come to your beck and call at the push of a button (literally) because tables come equipped with “ding-dong” bells to get the waitstaff’s attention. After every shopping purchase, you are usually given full-sized samples of cool products like socks and nail polish remover.

When I went back to the USA for a quick visit, I was appalled to see that a simple haircut with shampoo cost more than $40 after tips! In Korea, not only do you get your hair shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed, but you also get an unlimited amount of refreshments and snacks served to you including ice cream and to top it of, you get a head, back, AND hand massage! And you are almost attended by two people at the very least. The total cost: 12,000 won or $10, no tipping required. When my brother came to visit, I took him out for a haircut. Let’s just say his standards have changed too.

-Izzy from The Next Somewhere

 

4. You Cut In Line

 

Signs you've been abroad too long.

photo credit http://www.laflinesque.com/?p=747

 

Line? What line? Anyone who’s been abroad long learns that there’s no such thing as an orderly queue. And if you want to get what you need this side of Sunday, you’re going to need to assert yourself. And stand uncharacteristically close to others.

Recently at an airport in India I realized (in hindsight) that I had cut to the front of a line in a restaurant. Twice! The poor westerners in line must have thought I was terribly rude.

 

5. You Think in Too Many Languages

 

I am an Indian brought up in Dubai, moved to Uk and now I live in Belgium. I have lived long in Belgium and we order a beer saying ”een pintje” – One pint in Dutch. When I was in India last time for a trip, I ended up saying the same at a bar.

-VIshanth from Vishualization

If you’re attempting to learn the local language you’ll find your mind constantly working through how to say something in your language and the second language. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself in the shower conjugating verbs. Or lying in bed at night and have a wandering thought demand to be translated.

 


 

All of this is said, tongue-in-cheek, of course. Is there really such a thing as being abroad too long? :) And there are so many more that could be listed. We had a lot of fun coming up with a bunch over on our facebook page.

What would you add to the list? :)

 



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Jessica

 

Our Epic West Coast Family Road Trip

We’ve done a cross-country family road trip or two (or three) in our time but this west coast road trip in 2013 is by far the most epic. We crossed several things off of our west coast bucket list.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

A ridiculously awesome road trip

 

The full trip is mapped out below. More than two weeks on the road and only 1 night in a hotel! Read this post to find out how we did it. In this post I’m going to round up the highlights.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Camping in Northern California

 

Camping among these epic trees was … well, epic. If you ever get the chance to visit the redwoods, don’t miss it.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

And revisiting our old stomping grounds around the Monterey area. There are lots of free things to do in Monterey but we had the aquarium in our sights. We used to visit all the time when we lived in Monterey. In this post I share my insider tips.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Embracing our Inner Tourist at the Grand Canyon

 

YOLO and all that. :D Seriously, don’t come home with the same picture everyone else has. Make a memorable memory. The best road trips involve a balance of beautiful and silly pictures.

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

Discovering an Ancient Meteor Crater

 

Best accidental find ever. With all my research looking for road trip ideas you’d think I’d have come across this sooner. This whole section of Arizona is amazing. Painted deserts, giant canyons, petrified forests, ancient craters. Trust me, not all deserts are created equally and Arizona is where it’s at (we once lived in Tucson for a year).

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

 

Good Old Fashioned Graffiti

 

Turns out, it takes some actual skill to make Cadillac Ranch look good. This iconic road side attraction is neat but doesn’t quite live up to the hype. But, hey, great family road trips are made up of the good and the bad, amirite?

 

An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.

 

It takes a lot of planning to pull off an epic road trip on a budget but it’s worth every minute.

Have you visited any of these places? What’s your favorite road trip memory?

Looking for US road trip inspiration?

 



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Jessica

Cadillac Ranch – What No One Tells You

Cadillac Ranch is one of those road side attractions with a cult following. Everyone’s heard of it or caught a snippet about it on some random travel show.

 

What I wish I knew before going to Cadillac Ranch.

 

When I was planning our big road trip in 2013 and realized we’d be in the neighborhood of this phenomenon, I worked it into our schedule. This is definitely one of those times when expectation and reality collided. Here’s what I wish I had known before going to Cadillac Ranch.

 

1. It’s In The Middle of Nowhere

 

Cadillac Ranch

 

Okay, maybe I did read that somewhere when planning our trip but I didn’t understand just how middle-of-nowhere. It’s literally in the middle of a field. There’s no sign. There’s no snack stand selling magnets. You park on the side of a state highway and walk out into a field.

 

In fact, we passed it altogether at least once. And we were looking for it. Hard. If you weren’t making a concerted effort, you’d never know it was there.

 

2. It’s Trashed

 

Cadillac Ranch

 

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there’s garbage everywhere, mostly in the form of empty spray paint cans. Probably because there’s no garbage cans anywhere. In the middle of the field. That you’re in.

 

Not only is there trash on the ground, the cars themselves are torn to pieces. They’re really beat to crap and full of sharp edges and bent metal.

 

3. It’s Really Windy!

 

Cadillac Ranch

 

Which makes it nearly impossible to spray paint on the cars. The wind can be quite crazy in this section of Texas. My first several attempts to use the spray paint, literally, blew away. I had to spray extremely close to the car which caused a lot of runny bits. I also set the kids lose with spray cans and I think they got paint on everything but the cars.

 

Cadillac Ranch

 

I’m still glad we visited Cadillac Ranch. It was a lot of fun, especially for the kids. And it’s another experience in the old memory bank.  But I wish I had know these tips before we showed up.

Have you been to Cadillac Ranch?

 



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Jessica

 

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Meteor Crater in Arizona – Epic Roadside Attraction

Meteor Crater in Arizona is a road-side attraction worth your time.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

When researching things to do in Arizona, a certain canyon is all the hype. And don’t get me wrong, I love The Grand Canyon. When I was planning our giant cross-country road trip in 2013 I made sure we stayed in Flagstaff 2 nights just to make certain we got a good look at it.

 

Yet somehow in all my research, Meteor Crater didn’t pop up on my radar once.  Instead, we found it the old fashioned way, following signs off the highway.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona - an epic road side attraction.

Meteor Crater

 

Nearly a mile wide, two miles around, and more than 500 feet deep, it’s a lot to take in all at once. It’s also hard to take a picture of all at once! A panoramic photograph is your best bet.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

There’s a nice museum inside for your scientific, nerdy side. There’s also a short video that talks about the crater. And a lovely giftshop where you’re sure to lose a few bucks.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

But, obviously, the best part is when they finally let you outside to explore the lookout points.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

Like the canyon, pictures really don’t do it justice. You can find some cool aerial shots online but they don’t give you the proper perspective on just how big this thing is.

 

Now, the bad news. The admission is steep. Especially for a large family. So if someone holds a gun to your wallet and forces you to choose between the crater and the canyon, well, choose the canyon.

 

But if you have the time and the resources, don’t miss the chance to see this natural wonder. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

Meteor Crater in Arizona

 

And your kids are likely to be much more impressed with it than with the famous canyon. And the small museum gives them a better chance to get hands on. It can be quite the educational pit stop.

 

Have you ever accidentally found a cool roadside attraction?

 



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Jessica

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The Grand Canyon Picture You Need

Going to the Grand Canyon? Let me give you some advice.

 

During our big west coast road trip the Grand Canyon was an obvious stop we needed to make. We had been a decade earlier when we only had one toddler.

 

The Grand Canyon

Before the digital photo age.

 

Since then we had added three boys to our family and everyone was finally old enough to actually remember the trip. Always a plus. Our oldest has been to so many places she doesn’t remember and always feels kind of gypped. I don’t know how many times we’ve been like “Oh, Barcelona – you’ve been there!”

 

But I digress.

 

You're tourist. Be a tourist. The cheesy picture you need to take a the Grand Canyon.

 

The Grand Canyon is an absolutely gorgeous place. And like most gorgeous places, that beauty doesn’t transfer to camera very well. You just can’t capture that kind of scope and depth with a lens. It’s so frustrating.

 

So, instead of coming home with the exact same picture everyone else has (which you could find for free online, btw) make some memories at the canyon by taking cheesy tourist pics.

 

The Perfect Grand Canyon Picture

 

You're tourist. Be a tourist. The cheesy picture you need to take a the Grand Canyon.

 

The grandparents may or may not love it depending on their aversion to heights. ;)

 

Let’s call a spade a spade. You’re a tourist. Be a tourist. Whip out that selfie stick if you need to. I find that I’m much less self-conscious being a tourist in my home country than I am abroad.

 

Disclaimer: No boys were harmed in the making of this photo. They were standing on a ledge and were no where near the edge of anything. :)

 

Grand Canyon

 

What is the cheesiest tourist picture you’ve ever taken? Did you travel when your kids were too small to remember destinations?

 



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Jessica

What to do and what NOT to do at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you ever get the opportunity to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, take it! Several years ago we were lucky enough to spend a year in the Monterey Bay area and we frequented the aquarium.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium – What to do (and not do)

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium - What to do and what NOT to do.

 

If you live in Monterey, buy the family pass. Just do it. You get unlimited “free” admission for a year plus other benefits like special hours, gift shop discount, and access to other events through out the year.

 

And here’s the real kicker – for a family of six like us – buying the family pass costs only $10 more than if we bought 6 individual tickets! So it’s definitely worth it. We visited the aquarium countless times during our year in Monterey and our membership paid for itself many times over.

 

Hotel Packages

 

If you’re just passing through consider some of the hotel packages offered. Booking your tickets through these hotels will give you 2 days of tickets for the price of one. And hey, check Groupon and Booking.com while you’re at it. If you can get a deal at one of the hotels that participates in aquarium packages, even better!

 

When we were planning our big road trip of 2013, I knew I wanted to stay a couple of days in Monterey. It’s such a beautiful place and I really wanted to visit the aquarium. Even though we went often in 2006/7, only our oldest remembered it.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Our first ever visit to the aquarium. That baby is almost 10 now.

 

Our youngest was born after we left Monterey, and our other two boys were itty when we lived there so all those visits were lost on them. It was fun to recreate some old photos of the kids.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

2006

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

2013

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was the first big aquarium we ever visited and it forever spoiled us to other aquariums. We visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore after leaving California and were pretty disappointed.

 

It’s such a fantastic place for kids.

 

It has lots of places where they’re allowed to get hands-on.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

Don’t miss the feeding in the Open Sea exhibit.

 

Make sure and get there early, as it can get crowded. Seeing giant tuna feed is crazy. They are lightening fast.

 

Do not eat at the cafe!

 

Unless you have a spare arm and leg to pay for the bill. It’s absolutely ridiculous, as many of these places are. Pack a picnic or get your hand stamped, grab some lunch on Cannery Row, and then come back. Again, it never hurts to check Groupon for deals on local eats.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

 

I recommend going open to close to really absorb all the awesomeness that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has to offer. There are several places to just sit and chill if you get tired. The Open Sea exhibit and the Kelp Forest are peaceful and mesmerizing.

 

There are several live cams throughout the aquarium that you can check out before visiting.

 

So, if you have some time to kill and some money to drop in Monterey, the aquarium is the place to do it. If you’re looking for free things to do in Monterey check out this post.

 

Have you ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? Or other aquariums? What’s your favorite?

 



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Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium? Here's a short list of what to do and what NOT to do.

Jessica

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Top Free Things To Do in Monterey with Kids

There are so many fun things to do in Monterey. We absolutely love the Monterey Bay area and we were lucky enough to spend a year in this little slice of American heaven. And with three kids under five at the time, you can bet we curated a list of free things to do in Monterey.

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

Free Things to do in Monterey with Kids

 

Monterey really is a perfect place for families. Here is our list of top free things to do in Monterey with kids.

 

1. Dennis the Menace Playground

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

 

Dennis the Menace is is a really fantastic playground in the heart of Monterey. It’s huge and a really fun adventure for the kiddos, especially older ones. It has a climbing wall, suspension bridge, hedge maze, many large slides, and more.

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

photo credit: https://playgroundology.wordpress.com/category/dennis-the-menace-park/

It also has a real-life steam train for your little train lovers. Kids used to be able to climb on the train but recently that was banned.

 

TIP: If you have smaller kids, you’re going to be chasing them a lot as there are a lot of blind spots. It’s not a place where you can just sit on a bench and observe them. Also, it’s surrounded by a chain-link fence, but there is a pond on the other side so if you have climbers, keep an eye on them.

 

For more pictures of Dennis the Menace Playground check out this blog.

 

 

2. Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf

 

Fisherman's Wharf and other free things to do in Monterey with kids.

 

Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey is a great place to spend a few hours with kids. Yes, it is lined with restaurants and touristy knick knack shops but if you breeze past these establishments and head right to the end of the wharf, there’s always sea life waiting to entertain you.

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

Seals and sea lions sit lazily under the wharf, giving off the occasional bark. A playful sea otter is almost always swimming around looking for something to snack on. And pesky pelicans don’t stray far from the restaurants.

 

TIP: The restaurant at the far end of the wharf has a wrap around observation deck that’s free to climb.

 

You never know what you’ll find on the wharf. We once moseyed down to find a pirate ship used in The Pirate of the Caribbean movie. (Funny story, several years later we found, and boarded, the same pirate ship in British Columbia!)

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

On this day we found a free photo op with parrots!

If you’re looking for a places to eat in Monterey, look no further. The best clam chowder in Monterey can be found on Fisherman’s Wharf and several restaurants claim they have it. :)

 

TIP: Many restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf give out free samples of clam chowder and some offer kids eat free deals.

 

If you can find parking on the street then you can visit Fisherman’s Wharf for free with a short walk across a long parking lot. If not then there are many paid parking options as well.

TIP: Dogs are allowed on Fisherman’s Wharf and some restaurants even offer doggy menus!

 

Read more about Fisherman’s wharf.

 

3. Beaches in Monterey

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

 

There are a lot of beaches in the Monterey area and we sampled quite a few of them. Growing up on the east coast, adapting to a west coast beach culture was a little strange for me. I’m used to blistering heat and warm beaches. You can still flirt with the surf of course, and kids don’t feel the cold (or so it always seems to me).

 

TIP: The beaches in Monterey are beautiful and spacious but they’re also cold. Very cold.

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.

 

The beaches in Monterey have something for everyone. Carmel River State Beach is known for its birdwatching. McAbee Beach is popular with divers because of the nearby kelp forests that Monterey is famous for. Or if you’re looking for places to surf in Monterey try Marina State Beach and Moss Landing State Beach.

 

TIP: Many Monterey beaches also allow bonfires including Carmel Beach and Del Monte Beach.

 

4. Parks In Monterey

 

Our favorite free things to do in Monterey with kids.  - El Estero Park.

photo credit: http://mapio.net/s/2416553/

 

There are many dog-friendly and kid-friendly parks in Monterey. In fact several of the best parks in Monterey are all found in one park – El Estero Park.

 

El Estero Park  is built around Lake Estero, a lovely body of water where you can always find ducks and Canada geese to feed. Within El Estero Park you’ll find the Monterey Skate Park, the El Estero Exercise course, and the above mentioned Dennis the Menace playground. It’s also right across the street from Monterey State Beach.

 

Lover’s Point Park is also particularly lovely beach and picnic area with lots of parking and green places to sit, don’t miss it.

 

Find more parks in Monterey.

 


 

There are really so much stuff to do in Monterey, CA you could never curate a full list. But this is certainly enough to get your started.

 

The free stuff to do  can keep you busy for ages, but if you’re willing to drop some money, the absolute best attraction in Monterey is the aquarium. You can read my tips about what to do and what not to do at the Monterey Bay Aquarium here.

 

What is your favorite free thing to do in Monterey?

 



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Jessica

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A list of fun, free things to do in Monterey, CA with kids. A list of fun, free things to do in Monterey, CA with kids. A list of fun, free things to do in Monterey, CA with kids.

 

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Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

Camping in the redwoods of California is not something I ever thought I would have the opportunity to do. I had always wanted to see the famous redwood forests but never imagined it would become a reality. So I jumped at the chance to get up close and personal with them when we planned our big road trip in 2013.

 

Highways Vs Interstates

 

We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see more of beautiful northern California so we left the interstate and spent a good portion of our trip on the scenic California Coastal Highway 101. There’s a time and place for interstate travel and believe me, we’ve spent our fair share of time on them during our previous cross-country road trips but there’s nothing like a state highway for gorgeous scenery.

 

Camping in the majestic California redwoods at Jedediah Smith State Park

 

In an effort to save money on our road trip, we decided camping along the redwood highway sounded like something to check off of our bucket list. After researching the best camping in the redwood forest we settled on Jedediah Smith State Park in northern California.

 

Best Tent Camping in the Redwoods

 

The park itself was amazing. We had giant trees literally right outside of our tent. I know there are a lot of camping sites in the redwoods but this has to be some of the best family camping in California. We’ve camped in fairy-tale settings before but nothing compares to the majesty of the redwoods.  My only regret is that we didn’t take any high quality photos and that we weren’t able to stay longer.

 

Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

photo credit: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=413

 

Unfortunately, my nice camera was out of commission during this road trip and all I had was a really crappy phone camera. But I’ll share my crappy pictures of the redwoods anyway. Because even crappy redwood pictures are impressive.

 

Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

 

But don’t you know I wish I had a high quality photo of this! The kids loved camping at Jedediah Smith State Park. The whole park is a bit mystical and magical, perfect for little imaginations.

 

Family Camping in the California Redwoods at Jedediah Smith State Park

Family Hiking at Jedediah Smith State Park

 

There were various family friendly hiking trails within the campgrounds. One that went right beside our campsite led to the beautiful Smith river. When our kids get a bit older I would love to try family kayaking but for now we’re happy skipping rocks.

 

Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

 

Bear Safety When Camping

 

The many signs giving advice for bear safety tips at this park had us a little on edge. We’ve never camped in a place where such serious bear awareness is stressed. There was a big, metal box for locking away any food or things with a strong scent. And signs imploring you not to leave such things in your car overnight.

 

We were so nervous that when a deer snuck up on us on a trail, my daughter screamed and scared us all to death. All survived the deer encounter. And we never saw any sign of a bear.

 

Drive Through Redwoods

 

When we packed up the next day and headed further south, we stopped several times to explore more of the redwood forests along Highway 101. We really wanted to drive through a redwood and there are several drive-through redwoods to choose from in Northern California. Unfortunately you need a small or mid-sized car to pull this off. Our big SUV with luggage on top was way too big to fit in the trees. Oh well.

 

Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

 

The Redwood Highway

 

What I really loved about the redwood highway is that it wasn’t crowded and didn’t feel commercial at all. There were so many places where you could simply pull off the side the road and explore. Maybe one day we can go back and I can take good photos!

 

Family Camping in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

 

Have you ever visited the California redwoods?

 



Booking.com

Jessica

 

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