The Easy USA West Coast Itinerary that's Super Kid-friendly

In a reminiscent mood so I'm writing up some (of my best!) holiday itineraries for your future reference!

USA - We love the place but the flight hours are daunting!  We were most worried about 3 stretches of the holiday - the flight there, the 8-hour drive from LA to SF, and the flight back. To read how we survived the travel, head over to a blog post here.
 

Day 1 - Settling In

When we touched down, we were off to rent a huge-ass, gigantic car, which we had serious doubts handling it.  But we had 7 people and tons of luggage so we had no choice!  The Ford Town and Country was a monster truck but very comfortable for the kids!  We brought our own booster seats along (zipped them up in the biggest Ikea bag) because the rental for the car seats for 10 days would be akin to buying new booster seats. But do take note of the traffic regulations and bring the compliant models.  

 

Day 2 - Universal Studios

Grateful for the parents' help to keep an eye on the kids and take them for kiddie rides while we took the more thrilling rides.  On hindsight, it was dangerous as we drove an hour back when the sky was dark and we were still suffering from jet lag.  We had a near accident and thank God for protection!  The drivers are generally very considerate and keep a friendly distance from other cars.  They gave us a friendly honk when we are still getting used to the big Ford we were driving. 

 

Day 3 - Disney and California Adventure Park ❤️💛💙

I’m a big Disney fan!  I think it’s just something magical about sharing the same experience and love with my kids - who are quite into Disney too.  Updated nostalgia such that it is relevant in a different way to my kids. 

We are usually rides-people but this time, the Grandparents bought these mega expensive autograph books and the kids went to queue to see the princesses. I must say it was a very different experience and I’m amazed how in-character they are! The kids were absolutely enthralled and in love with the beautiful jiejies. 

 

Day 4 - 8-hour drive up from LA to SF 

The kids were all very comfortable with their pillows and blankets in the car. Grandma volunteered to keep them happy at the back.  Armed with sweets and snacks, they were buckled down into their car seats. 
 

We had 2 stopovers (1 break at a gas point) and 1 for lunch. The kids travelled well and they are generally happy with snacks and their activity stuff. Or they will just sleep. 
 

We stopped for 1 night near Livermore Factory Outlet for 1 evening and 1 morning of shopping - too rushed.  Download their discount coupons beforehand, then go to the customer service and they might have more promotions.  We went to the kids’ clothing stores and got casual wear for the next few years at very reasonable prices. 

 
"Like WUT?!" The staff must be thinking.

 Day 5 - San Francisco

We had to do a 3-hour drive to San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf because we booked the parents for a 5 pm Alcatraz boat tour. We went on it on our honeymoon and it was really good!! But we thought the kids wouldn't appreciate it so we stayed behind in the hotel for their mandatory nap times. 

 

Awesome seafood dinner at the Fisherman's Wharf (I think it was our second choice because the first choice was booked up. I don't know why I was holding a knife and pointing - maybe I wanted to kill 1 of their seals or seagulls)

Day 6 - Bay Area Discovery Museum (GREAT place for kids) 

It was really nice not to have to rush and just have the whole day to stay at 1 place.  It was a really cool and chill play area with lots of outdoor space and indoor play areas with open-ended toys.  Basically the kids can spend a whole hour or longer at each space. 

Lots of sensory play - Zach (<3 years old) spent a whole hour on a drum and musical set-up. Trying to be child-led and having the luxury of time led me to witness how he could concentrate on something for so long!  My husband was with the older girl (5 yo) who chose to play foam blocks/tracks/magnatiles indoors for an equally long time. 

      

After which, they did a lot of digging and shovelling at the outdoor sand/gravel pit area.  This is something you can only do at 11 am, 12 pm in temperate weather. 新加坡会热死 😢

     

Day 7 - San Jose 

San Jose is not the usual touristy place but we went there because we were visiting friends.  It was probably the most awesome part of my trip (in my opinion) because our friends took us to non-touristy places but these places were where they often went on their weekends out. 

 

But first, Jelly Belly Factory. I loved it cuz there was a factory tour and they showed us how they made the jelly beans. And of course, we bought a lot of jelly beans as snacks on our return journey. 

Meeting our friends and going cherry picking at Mike’s U-pick, something my suaku city kids never did. We picked like 8kg of cherries and had to buy all of them. We couldn’t finish them even till the last leg of our journey and gave them to the hotel staff. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picnic at Hannah Nicole Vineyard. Wonderful hospitality by our friends! It’s a great place where the kids can just run around and move freely. They are really happy with just an empty space where they aren’t constrained or hurried to the next activity!

 

Day 8 - Office-visiting 

Our friends took us to visit their work places. One which looked like the inside of a local community centre and the other - the pinnacle and pin-up poster of the best kind of company culture one can have. 🤣 I love such learning journeys! 

 

Day 9 - Last round of shopping, then airport hotel at San Francisco. 

 

Our itinerary is shared in Google Sheets so you can just copy and make your own changes! Hope this helps you for future planning! 

Comment if you have any questions!


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