Family Vacation: San Francisco, California

When one thinks of California, San Francisco is often the next thought. There is a good reason why Frank Sinatra left his heart in San Francisco. Leaving the beauty of the mix of modern and Victorian houses, cable cars, fresh cool breeze, museums and more is so hard to do that you just leave the city a part of you.

There are different ways to tour San Francisco: cruises, tours like cable car tours, and the GoCar tours. The most popular of all the water tours is the Alcatraz Island Tour. Explore the once-highest security prison in the land. Expect long lines when getting on board the ferry to the island for Alcatraz (or the Rock) is one of the hottest tourist attraction in San Francisco. The group of seals and seagulls all around will keep you entertained while you wait. For a family of San Francisco Giants or Major League Baseball fanatics, the AT & T Tours gives you the chance to walk on the very grounds where the baseball games are played. One of the best things in San Francisco is the GoCar Tours. Ride a GPS-navigated story-telling car that brings you to the city’s corners no tour bus is ever allowed to go. The car “speaks” 5 languages and allows you to stop when you have to and picks up where you left off. This half-hour ride is going to be a sure hit for the whole family! If you want to have a day on your own pace, however, you can always go to the Golden Gate Park. The park is so big, you will have to give one whole day to explore everything in it.

Family vacations mean all sorts of active experiences. Rent bicycles and bike the bay! Whether you are a pro or just learning, there is a bike and a trail for you. Or you can go to Exploratorium for a different kind of active fun. Exploratorium houses interactive exhibits, making learn fun for the kids and parents alike. Crawl, slide and climb a maze in the dark in their Tactile Dome. The highlight of your California family vacation in San Francisco would be the Aquarium of the Bay in Pier 39. Catch your children in awe as they learn and see thousands of underwater species through a walkway tunnel surrounded by hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. The Aquarium of the Bay offers a special one-of-a-kind sleepover for kids that includes a tour around the Aquarium, fun-filled activities, a chance to touch the animals and sleeping in the tunnel while sharks, eels and other nautical animals swim above.

There are a lot of museums in and around San Francisco. Two of the most popular for family vacations are the Cartoon Art Museum and the Wax Museum in Fisherman’s Wharf. Become a kid again as you find yourself standing in front of a collection of your favorite cartoon characters from your childhood. The Cartoon Art Museum is focused on preserving and documenting cartoons of all forms such as comic books, editorials, magazines and animation. Take pictures with the waxed version of your favorite actors and public figures at the Wax Museum and find out how many people back home will fall for it!

The key to enjoying your family vacation in San Francisco is public transportation. It is the best way to get to know San Francisco. The transportation system is also very convenient – you can choose from the Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) or the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). The Muni operates trolley buses, historic cars and the very popular and tourist-attracting Cable Cars. Walking the hilly streets of San Francisco is not a problem. It may be quite a challenge for adults, but it is definitely a fun trek for the kids. The steep streets add to the city’s beauty and character.

A bonus for family vacations to San Francisco is that it has neighboring cities with great family attractions, too, like Chris’ Whale Watching in Monterey, Chabot Space Center and Planetarium in Oakland and more. On the last day of your family vacation, you realize how hard it is to leave a city so beautiful. As your California family vacation ends, you realize that, as Frank Sinatra’s, your heart is also left behind.

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