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Help me plan a 10-day late September northern California getaway for my parents?
May 6, 2011 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan a 10-day late September northern California getaway for my parents (who are 60 year olds from the South) ???

I live in Sonoma county, California (just north of SF) and my parents are coming to visit for a week and a half at the end of September. Since I've only lived here for a year AND their idea of fun (laid back, easy, touristy stuff for 60 year olds) is completely different than mine, I need your help!

They are both born and raised in Georgia and don't travel much, so this is my opportunity to wow them and show them what California is all about (and why I'm never moving back to the south!).

1) What should they see and do in San Francisco and the bay area? What about Sacramento?

2) Where else should I take them that is within a 3-hour drive of Sonoma county?

3) What particular activities should they do that are unique to the late summer / early fall time frame?


A lot of stuff may be obvious like "go to the coast" or "visit the redwoods" or "go sailing in the bay" but I need details about which parks/sites are the best and what to see and do on the way to these destinations (where to eat, what bed and breakfasts to stay at, interesting things along hwy 1 or hwy 101 to stop and see, etc).

Give me your best!
posted by buckaroo_benzai to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do they drink? Will you have a car? Because the weather at that time of year will likely be spectacular, and if I were you I'd head north to the Anderson Valley and its vineyards (generally much less crowded than Napa), especially Navarro. Hendy Woods State Park is a beautiful place with old-growth redwood groves, and the Navarro River runs through it. Keep going on 128 out to the coast if you want - you could make an overnight of it in Mendocino or Ft Bragg.

For SF-specific stuff, please do check the many, many previous (and recent) askmes; so much depends on what they like to do. Museums? Architecture? Ferry to Alcatraz? etc. If you can be more specific, you'll get more helpful answers.
posted by rtha at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2011


Oh lordy, don't bring them to Sacramento. There's nothing to see. Sacramento is a great town to live in but it's horrible for visitors and vacations.

Take them to Sonoma vineyards and Bodega Bay and Muir Woods. And there's enough stuff in San Francisco to keep anyone busy for at least a week.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2011


Alcatraz is an interesting trip -- if the weather is good and if your parents are mobile. The NPS does a good job with the tour.
posted by elmay at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2011


Healdsburg is a cute small town filled with shops, cafes and opportunities for wine tasting.

And seconding Hendy Woods State Park. They have some lovely trails that are very accessible -- some even wheelchair accessible -- so it would definitely be doable for them.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2011


I love Sacramento to death, but I am going to have to agree with elsietheheel, it's not really worth a visit, unless your parents are into trains or the gold rush. I would recommend a drive to Nevada City / Grass Valley / Empire Mine.
posted by Duffington at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2011


But if they do like trains, the Railroad Museum in Sacramento is worth a trip. You can make a pleasant day of it by taking Amtrak (museum is a short walk from the Sacto station). It's right on the edge of Old Town - think Pier 39, but with dust, boardwalks and a Gold Rush theme. It is likely to be quite hot and dry at that time of year.

Muir Woods is touristy and crowded at popular times, but it's beautiful. The central trails are very accessible.
posted by expialidocious at 10:12 AM on May 6, 2011


Certainly take them wine tasting if they drink. Even if they don't drink they might find the vineyards and wineries to be attractive.

There are lots of little delis that you can pick up so that you can eat outside. For example, V. Sattui does wine sales, tastings as well as selling breads and prepared foods. That's only one of many places that do similar things.

As mentioned before, Alcatraz is really well done with a great audio tour. I bet your parents would also like Sausalito with dinner on the waterfont with the SF skyline across the water.
posted by mmascolino at 10:24 AM on May 6, 2011


Also, take them to a Giants game. The ball park is awesome.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:00 PM on May 6, 2011


I love Sacramento to death, but I am going to have to agree with elsietheheel, it's not really worth a visit, unless your parents are into trains or the gold rush. I would recommend a drive to Nevada City / Grass Valley / Empire Mine.

...which you'd kind of have to be into the gold rush to be into. I'm a big fan of Nevada City but its largely Old Town on a hill with pine trees and a touch more authenticity. Even -with- the mine you'd be hard-pressed to spend as much time up there as you would on the road.

Old Town itself is a trap and best to be avoided. Were you going to the Railroad Museum (nearly worth the drive), I'd traipse thorough Old Town only on the way to the Crocker Gallery. Its no DeYoung or SF MOMA but is a nice companion to round out the day. Out-of-towners lurking that area absolutely must eat on the river in fashionable weather, though joints along there are kind of a mixed bag. Scott's Seafood is pretty good, the Virgin Sturgeon old-n-funky (yes, that -is- a recycled jetway you'll be entering on), and Chevy's about what you'd expect but a good time with a nice view. Hornblower apparently cruises about from down there, and I'd imagine that would be pretty nice. Another floater but all-indoor is the Delta King which has some pretty nice views.

Rumors of late-September Sacramento heat are greatly overrated.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:50 PM on July 5, 2011


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