Family Trips

Learn More About California With the Whole Family!

  1. Coyote Hills Regional Park: 8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont. There are hiking, bicycle and equestrian trails, plus good picnic sites. Saturdays, a park naturalist leads trips back to the 4000-year-old Indian shell mound.

  2. John Muir National Historical Site: The Site preserves the 14 room mansion where the naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. 4202 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez.

  3. Oakland Museum: 1000 Oak Street,Oakland. This museum has art galleries and exhibits that include everything from natural science to fine arts to the history of California—from the Indians, through the gold seekers right up to this century. This is an experience no California child or his or her parents should miss.

  4. Fort Ross: Fort Ross was established in 1812 by Russians as an outpost for sea otter hunters and as a permanent trade base. It was the southernmost outpost of a Russian presence in the Pacific Northwest. The Russians remained at Fort Ross until sea otters became scarce in 1841. The holdings were sold to John Sutter, who later became famous when gold was discovered at his saw mill in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

  5. Fort Bragg: In prehistoric days, the area now known as Fort Bragg was home to the Native American Indians, most of whom belonged to the Pomo tribe. They were hunter-gatherers who lived close to the land and sea along the northern coast of California.

  6. Petaluma Adobe: Four miles east of Petaluma. This adobe home was built at about 1840 by General Mariano Vallejo on his vast Petaluma Rancho. The restored adobe is considered by many to be the finest building of its kind in California.

  7. Vallejo Home Historical Monument: Located on Third, West and Spain streets, Sonoma. This was once the home of General Mariano Vallejo, one of California's leading figures and a man who played an important part in the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846.

  8. Silverado Museum: than 8000 items relating to Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped, are displayed at the museum.

  9. Sutter's Fort: In 1839 a Swiss immigrant named John Sutter received a 48,000-acre land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He used the land to create a flourishing agricultural empire and named it New Helvetia (New Switzerland.) This empire established Sacramento's earliest settlement and the first non-Indian settlement in California's Central Valley. The park is located in midtown Sacramento between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets.

  10. Coloma and Gold Discovery State Park: Located on State Highway 49. This is the site of James Marshall discovery of gold which set off the 49er Gold Rush—the saw mill no longer stands where Marshall found gold, but the place is well marked and you can wade in the American River at that spot: There are interesting museums in the park. Marshall's cabin at Coloma can be seen and a monument in his honor.

  11. Gold Country and Highway 49: Traveling north and south on Highway 49 and its by-roads will well acquaint you with California's gold mining history. Pick out one area for your visit and absorb what it has to offer. There seems to be three main areas worthy of exploration. Nevada City-Grass Valley: Auburn-Placerville: Jackson: and Sonora-Mariposa. Columbia a state park is the best preserved gold town. You can even pan for gold at places like Jim-Bob mine near Coulterville or a mile east of Plymouth on the Fiddletown Road. You may visit working gold mines at the Empire or Idaho-Maryland Mines in Grass Valley. Some of the inns and hotels are rich in pioneer atmosphere. Try the National Hotel in Nevada City, the Saint George in Volcano, and the Mine House in Amador City.

  12. Mariposa County Courthouse: Located in Mariposa, two blocks north of town center. This wooden courthouse is the oldest courthouse in continual use in the state. The clock in the tower has been running since 1866 and the courtroom is just as it was a century ago.

  13. Bureau of Mines in San Francisco: Ferry Building. An excellent exhibition of rock and ore.

  14. Wells Fargo Bank: Located in San Francisco at 30 Montgomery Street. There are excellent diorama exhibits showing ways of digging for and washing gold, later machinery, etc. There are samples of gold nuggets, a gold rush relief map showing mining towns, and a stagecoach.

  15. Coit Tower: On Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. The tower provides an excellent view of San Francisco. You can ride up in the Coit Tower elevator. This is a real landmark of San Francisco.

  16. Balclutha: Located on the wharf near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The ship was built 30 years after the gold rush. It is now a museum ship. It made many trips across the ocean and around the Horn. There are many signs on the ship explaining the work of the sailors, and names and use of the equipment. This fully outfitted ship is well worth a trip to see it.

  17. San Francisco Maritime Museum: Located at Beach and Polk Street, San Francisco. This small museum is very interesting for a short visit. There are exhibits of boats and ships, a huge old anchor, and old ships' figureheads. On the Bay you can explore four restored sailing vessels of various types.

  18. Fort Point: San Francisco. This is a historic fort built to protect San Francisco Bay. Take first right on the approach to the toll plaza of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is located right under the bridge. The fort contains a military display of guns, canons, etc. Avery worthwhile visit.

  19. California Missions: The missions located close to home are the ones at Santa Clara, San Jose, and Mission Delores in San Francisco. San Juan Bautista is exceptionally interesting. It is located in San Juan Bautista near Highway 101 south of Gilroy. It has more to see than at most missions. Sonoma Mission and other historic buildings face the plaza where the Bear Flag was raised in 1846. Trip us and down the state will bring you close to many other missions, such as Carmel, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Gabriel, San Miguel, and San Juan Capistrano.

  20. Colton Hall and Jail: 522 Pacific Street, Monterey. Two-Story Colton Hall was built in 1847—49 and was the scene of California's constitutional convention of 1849. The jail looks like it is right out of a movie. The old Monterey jail has thick walls and still has prisoners' graffiti etched on them.

  21. Old Custom House: Located at No. 1 Custom House Plaza in Monterey. This is one of the most interesting buildings in Monterey. In the early 1800's ships that came into California were required by Mexican authorities to stop at the Custom House. Everything was unloaded and the citizens often came to buy luxuries and household items.

  22. First Theater: Pacific and Scott Street, Monterey. Built in the 1840's, California's first theater was originally a boarding house and saloon. The first performance was given in 1848 and in spite of interruption over the years, the theater is still going strong, presenting old-time melodrama in an early California atmosphere.

  23. New Almaden Museum: 21570 Almaden Road, New Almaden. New Almaden was one of the major quicksilver mining areas in the world. During the gold rush years the quicksilver was much in demand because of the ore-reduction process. There is a large display of artifacts from the mine and the equipment used in refining the quicksilver.

  24. San Jose Historical Museum: 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose. The San Jose Historical Museum offers a unique view of the past—a visit to the heart of San Jose much as it existed near the turn of the century. The Museum located on 16 acres, through original and faithfully reproduced homes, businesses, and other historical landmarks presents the city's rich past in a delightful manner.

  25. Luis Maria Peralta Adobe: Located at 184 W. St. John Street, San Jose. The Peralta Adobe in downtown San Jose, is the only remaining architectural link to San Jose's beginning as California's first settlement. The Adobe is a California State Landmark.