Help me get some forest time!
October 2, 2015 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I live in the SF Bay area and I might be getting some last minute time off to take a break. My ideal destination is somewhere where my husband and I can stay in a cabin with our two kids (2 years and 6 months) and take long walks through the forest.

What I am looking for:
- Within a 5 hour drive of SF Bay peninsula
- Kid and baby friendly place to stay
- Redwood forest nearby that is safe for a two-year-old to walk around (meaning a more gradual hike is better than one with steep drops). Ideally this would be so close that you can walk out the door instead of having to drive to it
- Week long rental with at least a small kitchen and separate living and sleeping areas
- Detached structure (like a cabin or an house) is better since my kids can be loud
- Healthy food nearby would be a big plus
- Not too crowded (definitely not Yosemite)
- Budget for one week of accommodation is about $2k or under
posted by insoluble uncertainty to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at June Lake? I love it there. There's lots of lodging, a little lake with low key fishing and kayaking, and it's on the eastern side of the Sierras, so it's not in the big touristy world. Many different kinds of activities, very family friendly. It's like this cute little town that you could walk around.

It's on the edge of the Inyo National Forest, and although there aren't redwoods, there are aspen and pine.

It's about 5 1/2 hours from either SF or San Jose.
posted by janey47 at 10:27 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd go for Arcata... nice little college town, tons of trails near HSU, you can walk everywhere. Used to take me ~6 hours to get there from the bay area, I think.
posted by Huck500 at 10:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Big Sur or the Lost Coast.
posted by trbrts at 10:44 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The camps at the Mendocino Woodlands are beautiful. See the bottom of this page for how you can volunteer to stay there.
posted by three_red_balloons at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2015

Sonoma County along the Russian River has redwoods and lots of food choices. Anything along CA 116 would probably have lots of redwoods close by. Armstrong Redwoods is just north of Guerneville.
posted by elmay at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have rented from Russian River Getaways a ton of times, though never with this requirement -- that said they're super helpful and if you call them and ask they will know if any of their rentals meet your needs. Only had good experiences with them.
posted by brainmouse at 11:12 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Point Reyes. You can take a boat to Bodega Bay for the last night. Inn at the Tides is excellent for families.
posted by parmanparman at 11:19 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Russian River is perfect for this. There are also places up near Gualala, including Sea Ranch if you look for the "hillside" houses rather than the ones close to the ocean.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: How about Butano (by Pescadero)? I think they have cabins there.
posted by dragonbaby07 at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: Ripplewood Resort at Big Sur is where we used to go with the kids, and still do, even though everyone is grown up. Be sure to reserve early and get one of the cabins down by the river, not the ones by the highway.
posted by jasper411 at 12:37 PM on October 2, 2015

Russian River for sure, but also look through AirBNB listing and the like for Napa. Napa-Bothe SP has great trails, streams, etc., but no cabins (although they do have yurts).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:08 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: Fort Bragg - There are cabins that can be rented along the Skunk Train railway and you catch the train back and forth to town. Kids love it!

If you go, make sure you try the ice cream store in Fort Bragg, it's won national awards. Tthey have an amazing one they make that's unbelievably good that weirdly is made/flavored with mushrooms.
posted by IpsoFacto at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: Little Basin?
posted by latkes at 2:53 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about the Cabins at Calaveras Big Trees?

You could also just go and rent a home in Bear Valley, which is right in the middle of Stanislaus National Forest. These are great places, and the area is beautiful. It's not flat as you suggested, but you can hike a very easy hike in the nearby meadow and surrounding areas.

( NOTE: Make sure you get a "home" in "Bear Valley" I would avoid things labeled "Condo" or "Sky High Ranch". We've been going to Bear Valley with the kids every winter since before we had kids, and continue to go yearly even with kids as young as 3mos.
posted by slacy at 3:09 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: I haven't been to the redwoods at Navarro River state park south of Mendocino, but I loved the quirky cabins at The Andiron, which is very close by. Board games, goats, deer outside the cabins, and an onsite hot tub under the trees. Some of the cabins share a single wall, so you might want to check which would be best with kids.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:22 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: I've stayed at Mendocino Magic and loved it. There are dogs and goats and a reservoir you can swim in and squeeeeeee.

I was with my dog, a 40lb Australian Cattle Dog, who had a great time chasing the goats about.
posted by andrewpcone at 3:40 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: When I was a kid we would do exactly this in Bear Valley.
posted by mollywas at 4:46 PM on October 2, 2015

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