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Ask An Expert: Spring Break Staycation Activities For Kids In The Bay Area

(credit: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Jennifer Chung (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Chung)

Jennifer Chung
Kinsights Inc.
600 Fourth St. Suite 348
San Francisco, CA 94107

Since having her son, Jennifer Chung has gained a new appreciation for the staycation. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School, she is the co-founder and CEO of Kinsights, an advice-sharing network for parents integrated with a pediatric health record, whose headquarters is in San Francisco. She has previously served in roles as the business development manager for CNET, senior product manager for Genentech and chair of the San Francisco SPCA.

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? If you're hoping that spring break actually feels like a break, try a staycation this year. And the best part? You might find a few Bay Area spots that become part of your regular family routine. In case you're not familiar, staycations are mini-vacations where you enjoy activities within driving distance and you sleep in your own bed at night. Staycations are a great money saver, and you'll probably come away with a new appreciation of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here are a few favorites from local Bay Area parents:

Marin Headlands (Credit, Randy Yagi)

Marin Headlands

From rolling green hills (that make you feel like you're in Scotland), to breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, to secluded black sand beaches, you can make a full day out of a trip to the Marin Headlands. Be sure to snag a spot at Battery Wallace for a scenic picnic.

Camera Obscura (Credit, Randy Yagi)

Unique spots in San Francisco

Spend the day hopping around the city and checking out a few of San Francisco's more unique (and less well-known) spots. The Mechanics Institute Library and Chess Room was originally founded to serve artisans, craftsmen and inventors. Sign up for a Wednesday lunchtime tour and see its quirky collection, architecture and the chess rooms where you're likely to see a grandmaster deep in a match. Burn off some calories on the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, a neighborhood project that resulted in 163 beautiful mosaic tiled steps that lead up to Grand View Park. Finish off the day at The Old Clam House, the city's oldest restaurant serving seafood and spirits in the same location – you can kick off your meal with a shot of clam juice!


Safari West

Located on 400 acres in Santa Rosa, Safari West is a wildlife preserve with 900 exotic mammals and birds. Spend the day on safari and learn about animals, their habitats and conservation. If you want to turn your staycation into a quick vacation, Safari West also has luxury overnight tents.


Bayfront Park

If your kids love plane-watching, Bayfront Park (in Millbrae) is the perfect place to lounge for an afternoon. Pack a picnic and enjoy a fantastic view of planes coming in and out of SFO.

Giant Dipper, Santa Cruz Boardwalk (Credit, Randy Yagi)

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

With carnival games, a wooden roller coaster and funnel cakes, you'll feel like you've gone back in time. And if games and rides aren't enough to keep the kids occupied, there's always the beach!

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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