San Francisco, CA / 2016-06-22

With thoughts of waking up super early and heading into town and be first in line for Alcatraz tickets, we actually took a bit longer than expected getting breakfast at Embassy Suites (including stashing away 6 apples, 6 bananas, snack cups, peanut butter and jelly) and getting ready for the day.  Of course, our departure necessitated another visit to the grassy area waterfront for the kids to all play and run around.  Our plans for the day shifted to visiting some sites north of San Francisco.  First up, Muir Woods!  This meant a trip through the city and over the Golden Gate bridge.  What an awesome sight!  It is more amazing in person than all the pictures.  The kids, especially Caitlyn, were impressed.


Good fortunes continued for us (I count getting a nice Expedition for our rental car, catching the rental car shuttle bus at the exact right time and the ease of checking the luggage in TPA as good fortune thus far too) as we snagged an upfront parking spot.  There were only 10-15 of these spots in total at Muir Woods and the next available spots were at least ½ mile down the road.  Plus, the Federal Government was running a special promotion this summer where 4th grade students gained free access into National Parks, and their families too – thanks Emily!  Up front parking and free entrance, this is going well.

Weston, Caitlyn, Lila and Emily at the entrance to Muir Woods

We made our way through the 1 mile loop of Muir Woods, which was amazing.  The Redwood trees towered above us and the kids had a great time running around and exploring.

Our picnic lunch (thanks to Target) came in handy just outside our prime parking spot, making quite a few passerby’s quite jealous.  We were asked multiple times when we would be leaving.

Next, we hoped in the car and headed to the Muir Beach Overlook.  Once we made it there, however, Weston and Lila had fallen asleep.  So, Brooke and I had to explore Muir Beach Overlook separately with Emily and Catilyn.  The vistas from this overlook were like nothing we had ever seen.  Certainly not something you see in Florida!  Views to the North and South were sweeping coastlines and cliffs and beaches.

We took turns exploring and taking pictures, before taking the 101 North up to Stinson Beach.  The curvy road created more amazing beach views along the way, ending down at Stinson Beach.  Again, we took turns with the girls exploring the beach with the little ones slept.  It is amazing how cold the water was!  And, how many dogs were on the beach!

Departing Stinson Beach, we made our way back toward our vacation home in the midst of San Francisco on Clayton Street (nearest Frederick Street) in Cole Valley.  We checked into the blue classic Victorian house, of which the first floor was ours.


Two bedrooms, two bathrooms with a full kitchen and living room, it was nice to have a full space to ourselves.  The parking was extremely tight, especially for our large Ford Expedition.

Emily, Caitlyn and Lila at the San Francisco Vacation Home

A little while later, we grabbed the stroller and headed to Golden Gate Park and made a beeline for the Koret Playground.  The kids loved the “Secret” slides made of concrete and the climbing nets.

This playground seemed slightly more dangerous than ones we are used to seeing in Florida, and parents did not seem to hover quite as much.  We are used to helicopter parents and cushioned everything.  But, not one injury while we were there, so I guess this way works out too!  We left the playground in search of dinner, but had to walk through a large number of homeless people in front of Golden Gate Park. We expected to have to explain to our kids, but they hardly noticed anything.  Brooke also witnessed an assault behind the McDonald’s, after which we changed our dinner destination.  We made our way to the Street Tacos, which was pretty good and then over to the Ice Cream Bar, which was just OK.  Finally, back to the vacation home to call it a night!  It was a whirlwind day in San Francisco!

This is day 2 on our California Road Trip Summer 2016.  Make sure to check out the entire trip!

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