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Santa Cruz/SF with baby

Los Altos...
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Santa Cruz/SF with baby

We were thinking of traveling for a week to celebrate our daughter's first birthday in April but after her recent checkup and a talk with her allergist (she is allergic to tree nuts and I've also eliminated dairy, egg, soy and peanuts from my diet), the consensus is that if we don't NEED to fly, we shouldn't.

We are still working on her getting to love her car seat and I am hopeful by the time April rolls around she'll be able to sit in the car for a 45-minute to an hour-long stretch at a time. Her dad has two weeks off mid-April and it would really be nice for the three of us to be able to get away from routine and celebrate her special milestone in a low key way. We co-sleep and she is exclusively breastfed but does enjoy eating everything off of my plate at mealtimes.

So, all of this said, I was wondering if we should just do a week-long local "tour" with overnight stays within the Bay Area. For example, we would drive a maximum of an hour or two from base camp (starting in Los Altos), check out some activities in the local neighborhood (with, perhaps, visits to allergy-friendly restaurants) stay the night (airbnb or hotel with kitchenette), and then drive again.

We've done it a couple of times earlier in our pre-parenting life where we stayed overnight in San Francisco, Saratoga, Pacifica, Glen Ellen, Santa Cruz, etc. but those days we could be cavalier, stop wherever, eat whatever. With her allergies, I'd like to plan this ahead of time.

Is it odd to do something like this? I'm not into burning cash but I don't know how else we can have a relaxing family vacation...we live in such a beautiful part of the country and I'm just thinking we could revisit some places we haven't been in a while and discover some new hikes/parks/local landmarks that are baby/toddler-friendly.

Here's what I have in mind:

3 days in Aptos/Santa Cruz (picnic at Natural Bridges Beach Park/could do the train ride at Roaring Camp/what else?)

1 evening back home

3 days in San Francisco (near Ocean Beach or Marina; visit the zoo, picnic at conservatory of flowers, picnic at Crissy Field, ferry ride)

Does this sound doable with a one-year-old? Should we do Monterey instead of Santa Cruz? Is the zoo something she'll even enjoy right now? Should we stay in Sausalito and go to Muir Woods or other hikes instead? I don't want to pack too much activity and want to be cognizant of her nap times/patience with long car rides...

We will still have one day in the bank that we could use to relax at home after...

Many thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

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1. Re: Santa Cruz/SF with baby

We just did a 3 hour drive to Santa Cruz with our year old grandson, he does very well in the car. He is having a blast here, walking on the wharf, swimming and playing on the beach. I'm very surprised the boardwalk isn't open this week. The beach is very crowded with young families and college kids. Try to spend some time here with your little one! :).

Santa Cruz...
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2. Re: Santa Cruz/SF with baby

Have you ever stayed at Seascape? It might be what you're looking for. The resort has a lot to do right on site, and it would be a quick drive to other activities in the Santa Cruz area. In the evenings, they will bring supplies down to the beach for a bonfire/picnic. Also, the Corralitos wine trail is a short drive away. It's a handful of low key wineries, nothing like Napa.


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3. Re: Santa Cruz/SF with baby

We just stayed 2 nights at The Dream Inn. They have a nicely heated pool, jacuzzi, lots of lounge chairs, poolside food and beverage service and access to the beach. Lots of families with little ones there! :)

4. Re: Santa Cruz/SF with baby

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