Family Day Trips in the Bay Area

There is no denying it – summer is coming! With the arrival of this beautiful weather our thoughts turn to enjoyable activities and good times with family and friends. It’s the perfect time of year to load up the family vehicle and take a day trip. With a little bit of planning most day trips can be turned into an event with a literary connection. A simple trip to the beach can produce a long list of picture book and chapter book titles  as well as an assortment of nonfiction ocean related topics.

Now let’s plan a few other trips. Some of these will require admission fees and others will be free. Click on the website links to get all the details and plan the perfect family day.

If there is an aspiring astronomer in the family you may want to make plans to drive up the Peninsula to the College of San Mateo to attend an evening astronomy program. Children must be at least age 5 to attend these free events.

Young stargazers will find a great selection of fiction and nonfiction titles at the Library.


If history and adventure appeal to your family then  travel to Alameda and tour the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, distinguished to have participated in World War II, the Vietnam War and the first moon missions. Children 4 and younger are admitted free; fees for older children and adults.

A visit to the USS Hornet could inspire curiosity about a variety of topics. A general list of aircraft carrier materials might be a good way to prepare for your trip and then a return visit to the Library to find materials specific to your child’s interests after the trip.

Next up in our list of family excursions, takes us to Fairfield and is sure to be a hit with the whole family – a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory!! If the kids are excited about seeing how these famous jellybeans are made then mom and dad will be thrilled to learn that everyone gets in for free!

The Library has many books about candy (and some of them are quite sweet.) Take a look at this selection of books that include a variety of informational topics. There are of course some classic stories that celebrate candy and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a must read for chapter book readers. Younger readers and listeners will giggle along with Curious George Goes to the Chocolate Factory.

Our last trip takes us back to San Mateo County for a visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. At low tide the rocky shoreline becomes an extraordinary center for observation of marine life. Admission is free.

Explore these titles to learn more about tide pools before or after your trip.

What is your favorite Bay Area family day trip destination? Remember that the Library has books on a wide variety of topics and Children’s librarians love matching the perfect book with just the right kid! Happy travels!

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About Children's and Teen Services

The Children’s and Teen Services blog entries are written by the seven Children's and Teen librarians. We are your go-to people for help with book selections for toddlers through teens, storytimes, parenting, and family fun.

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