Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ferry day trip to Sausalito

Burrito, neato, mosquito –- My kids had fun trying to think of words that rhyme with Sausalito as we took the ferry from San Francisco to get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and explore the town.

The Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry to Sausalito

The Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry to Sausalito

We had to drop my husband off at the airport on the way to San Francisco, so I told the kids we’d make the noon ferry and eat in Sausalito or if we missed the ferry, we’d eat in the city and wait for the next one. We found a place to park, speed-walked a couple of blocks, bought our tickets and made it to the ferry with just a couple of minutes to spare!

Although it was December, the ferry ride wasn’t too cold and it was a pretty clear day. We had fabulous views of the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate, Alcatraz and Angel Island. The ride was about 20 minutes and we were deposited into the tourist heart of Sausalito.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

The first order of business was to find lunch, and we ended up at Venice Gourmet, getting small pizzas for my mom and I and the kids. I’m glad my mom shared the garlic pizza with me so I didn’t feel self-conscious about talking to her the rest of the day.

After lunch, we needed a walk so we walked along the waterfront. A little boy pointed out to me “look at the crabs!” I looked closer and realized that the rocks with literally crawling with crabs of all sizes. We strolled along and watched the crabs retreat whenever we tried to get a closer look.

Crabs in Sausalito

Crabs in Sausalito

Being good tourists, we explored some of the stores. Of course, the toy store was the kids’ favorite and we bought them a couple of bouncy balls to keep them occupied. We also did some damage in the candy store, finding the old-fashioned types plus the newer popular candies, as well as many, many flavors of saltwater taffy.

We decided to venture to another part of town marked on the map and ended up in the more residential shopping area that had a few restaurants and other stores so we walked back to the main area.

The town was full of other shoppers as well as tons of bicyclists. A popular trip is to bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and then take the ferry back to the city, or bike back for the more hardcore adventurers.

We stayed on foot for this trip but loved the vibe of the town as we explored. We’d definitely come back again to try other restaurants and just enjoy the lakeshore.

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Day trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17 Mile Drive

What should we do on a rainy day with relatives in town? The forecast was rain in the morning and clearing up for the afternoon but with a house full of people, we had to find something to do. The nearby mall wasn’t an option because it was too busy that close to the holidays.

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

We hadn’t yet made the trek to Monterey so we decided to check out the aquarium we have been hearing so much about.

Apparently, quite a few other people had the same idea but during our visit, we never felt rushed or crowded. Parking was a little difficult to find due to the rain but we managed to find a spot a few blocks away.

We had fun watching the sea otters play and eat their breakfast. The sea otter enclosure is part inside, part outside so it’s more of a natural habitat for them. The aquarium had a large jellyfish exhibit so we were able to see all kinds of jellyfish – even very tiny ones in a tube that one of the employees had in his hand as we walked in.

turtle

Turtle at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The kids liked the hands-on portion, although the stingrays were huddled in the farthest corner in their enclosure, where none of the visitors could touch them. The starfish and crabs were on display and my kids thought it was a pretty neat experience.

Around lunchtime when hunger struck, we decided to see if the rain had stopped and ventured out to Cannery Row in Monterey. There are plenty of restaurants and shops, so we spent some time wandering around after lunch. As we looked over the bay, we watched some sea otters playing in the shallow water – no admission needed!

Not quite ready to end our day but being done with window shopping and standing, we decided to check out nearby 17-Mile Drive, which winds through the golf courses of Pebble Beach. There’s an entry fee of $10 per vehicle, but you receive a map and guide of the area with admission.

The area is really quite beautiful – from crashing waves, rocky beaches to sand dunes, forests and golf course greens – it has something for everyone and keeps your eyes on the scenery to find out what’s coming next.

The kids of course liked the beach that was filled with barking seals and tons of birds – a wildlife beach resort at its best.

The drive was the perfect way to end a day of sightseeing and trying to capture the elusive sunset photo on a deserted stretch of beach.

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