Backpacking the Beautiful Little Lakes Valley Trail (Near Rock Creek)

Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierras is one of the most beautiful hikes in the high sierra and one our favorite backpacking hikes in California with kids and for beginners. This beautiful hike follows along a creek, passes several pristine alpine lakes and offers gorgeous scenery without too much hard work. This is almost … Read more

10 Unexpected Life Lessons From My 11 Year Old on the John Muir Trail

This summer, I hiked 180 miles of the 211+ mile John Muir Trail (JMT) with my 11 year old son. The JMT runs through the Eastern Sierra mountains in California, starting from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous US. For many this isn’t a huge outdoor accomplishment, … Read more

Seeking Out the Beauty of Mammoth Lakes Fall Colors

Did you know that you can find fall colors in California? While New England wins hand down for the best fall colors, those of us on the west coast can also cash in on this fall favorite. Mammoth Lakes fall colors lures visitors from near and far for their yearly display of bright yellow aspen trees and beautiful fall colors in California’s eastern sierras. The best fall colors are typically popping around mid Sept to the end of October, making it the ideal destination for a fall leaf peeping trip.

For those of us in Southern California, sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the seasons are really changing elsewhere in the US. We have heat waves and fires all through the fall, often making the changing of temperatures further up north a distant thought. If you are like me and try to bring a little bit of fall foliage into your autumn, head up the 395 where you can experience the beauty of fall from Bishop to Mammoth Lakes and even further north to the South Lake Tahoe area.

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Hiking the John Muir Trail: A Helpful Beginner’s Guide

More than 1,500 people attempt to walk the entire John Muir Trail every year. A bit more than half of them succeed in a good year, with less than a third making it through in a year with natural challenges – high snow, monsoonal rains or wildfires. This guide from a JMT thru-hiker provides key … Read more

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Yosemite with Kids

A family trip to Yosemite National Park is the quintessential American summer holiday. Exploring Yosemite with kids while camping (or glamping as it is for us!), splashing through rivers, and spying out some of the best natural scenes in the US is one of the best trips you can do with your family.

If you are planning a visit to California’s most iconic park, we have laid out all you need to know in order to have the best trip ever in Yosemite with kids. Below are our top picks for things to do in Yosemite National Park with kids as well as options on where to stay and eat. Trust me, seeing this national treasure through your little one’s eyes is a truly magical experience that you will not want to miss.

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Backpacking In California: 20 Amazing Spots You Must Visit

Our two favorite things to do in the outdoors in California is hike and camp. Why not combine the two with a backpack camping trip? We know camping in Southern California is very popular with families to couples and folks with their dogs, but for the more adventurous, finding cool spots for backpacking in California is even more exciting.

There are some amazing spots for backpacking in California, from the Bay Area of San Francisco to Southern California and everywhere in between. Some favorite places for backpack camping include Joshua Tree, the Lake Tahoe area, Yosemite National Park and the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park areas. Much of these wilderness areas are more ‘hard core backpacking’ for those with experience and the legs to carry themselves further than a couple of mile hike.

For those of you who are new to this outdoor adventure, we share relatively easy, doable backpacking trails here in California to consider for your first (or second or third!) backpacking camping trip with or without kids. As we explore more of the backcountry camping options throughout California, we will update this list.

Don’t miss our top tips and backpacking hacks for beginners!

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Epic Family Weekend in San Luis Obispo County (SLOCAL)

The California Coast is filled with amazing destinations making it difficult to decide just where to go when you are looking for a quick escape. We have found the answer with a weekend in San Luis Obispo County (SLOCAL). Sitting in the middle of the Central Coast, SLOCAL offers tons of adventure, nature and of course some luxury too!

San Luis Obispo County is a fun place to visit for families as there is no shortage of beautiful nature scapes, awesome food, and plenty of family fun that will easily keep you busy for several days. Read on for our recommendations on how to have an epic family weekend getaway in San Luis Obispo County.

ADVENTURE: A California Family Weekend in San Luis Obispo County // NATURE:  Sailing with Captain Mark // CRAZY FUN: Sand Dune Buggies // LUXURY: The Cliffs Spa & Hotel

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15+ Beautiful Things to Do in Lake Tahoe Year Round

Whether you arrive in winter or summer or anytime in between, there are so many amazing things to do in Lake Tahoe that you could easily spend months here without getting bored. Lake Tahoe truly is one of California’s (and Nevada’s) most magical destinations.

Below we share some of the best things to do in Tahoe from summer to winter.  That said, we highly recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons as the crowds are thinned out and you can get the best of both seasons often in a week visit!

Check out SierraSafely for more information on how to experience Lake Tahoe during COVID, including a trail list with various businesses and activities to safely explore on your visit. 

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This is the Tri-Valley: 15 Exciting Things to Do in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin & Danville

Are you looking for a weekend getaway in the Bay Area? Consider the Tri-Valley area where there are a ton of great things to do in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin and Danville. I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade while my cousins and aunt lived in the Tri Valley area just across the bridge. … Read more

Explore the Suisun Valley: A Vibrant Emerging Family Destination

Suisun Valley is a unique, rustic wine country and farming community located just north of the San Francisco Bay Area in Solano County between San Francisco and Sacramento. In the recent past most visitors made their way up to the area for the Jelly Belly Factory that is located in Fairfield. These days, there are … Read more

Pinnacles National Park: Everything You Need To Know To Visit

Are you planning a trip to Pinnacles National Park in California? Whether you are interested in seeking out California condors, hiking through talus caves or rock climbing, California’s smallest national park packs a lot in for all types of  visitors. Pinnacles is mainly known as a hiking park, with towering rock formations, an abundance of … Read more

7 Reasons to Visit the Bass Lake Yosemite Area

Looking to visit Yosemite but don’t want to stay inside the park? Our favorite place to stay outside the park is in the Bass Lake Yosemite area. The area is cute, quaint, offers a new dimension to your Yosemite visit and is well worth the drive into the park. Read on for our favorite things to do in and around the Bass Lake California as well as where to stay and eat.

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Finding Fall Colors in Bishop, California

Growing up in Texas and spending most of my adult life in places that do not experience fall, I had had enough and wanted to find some cooler air and pretty fall foliage in Southern California! My nature loving sidekick was game as he has been searching for fallen leaves representing all the colors of fall. So off we went.

You may not think of Southern California as a place to see fall colors, and you are right! To really experience it, we had to drive several hours away. After doing our diligent research, the closest place to Los Angeles to see the true turning of the seasons from hot summer days to brisk cool mornings is in the Eastern Sierras, specifically around Bishop, California. 

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50+ Amazing Spots for Camping in Southern California

Best beach camping in Southern California

Camping in Southern California is one of the best outdoor, social distance activities available. Lakes, mountains, and beaches – a multitude of campgrounds in Southern California offer an incredible array of places to match the season and everyone’s interests. With vacations being cancelled and people worried about gathering in groups, camping is the in thing to do! Below is a collection of our favorite campgrounds in Southern California that we will continue to update as we come across more.

If you have some favorites that we have missed, please share them with us as we would love to check out more off the beaten path sites around the state.

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25 Magical Mammoth Lakes Hikes You Must Do

Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierras is an outdoor adventurer’s year round playground. From skiing in the winter, hot springs and a variety of Mammoth Lakes hikes the rest of the year, there is no shortage of fun. With everyone looking for safe outdoor fun these days, we have compiled a list of our favorite Mammoth Lakes hikes that all ages can enjoy. There are an unlimited number of amazing hikes to do from multi-day treks to simple lake walks.  There really is a trail (or few) for everyone no matter your fitness level.

The combination of majestic mountains, lakes and relatively cool summer weather make hiking in Mammoth Lakes one of our favorite things to do every year. Not to mention that this is also where two of the most famous California trails pass through. The John Muir Trail goes from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney passing near to Mammoth Lakes (more specifically Devil’s Postpile) which is also near to where the famous Mexico to Canada Pacific Crest Trail goes. 

Below I outline some of our favorite hikes in Mammoth Lakes by area to help you plan your next visit.

Don’t forget to check out all the other amazing things to do in Mammoth while you are in town!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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21 Spectacular Things To Do in Mammoth Lakes CA

Mammoth Lakes California is one of the most beautiful regions in the western US. Known for its wealth of outdoor activities, there are so many amazing things to do in Mammoth Lakes CA regardless of what time of year you visit. This stunning town offers an abundance of hiking trails and mountain biking adventures in the summer while providing world class skiing in the winter. Well loved by Californians, but not always on the tourist maps for visitors, though it should be!

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Kings Canyon Camping Advice You Need To Know

Camping in Kings Canyon is one of the best ways to really experience the magic of the Giant Sequoia trees and the rushing rivers found deep within the park.  Kings Canyon National Park is truly one of the most underrated parks in the national park system, with visitors often just skimming the surface, rushing ahead to Yosemite to the north or Sequoia National Park to the south. However for those of you in the know, this is the place to beat the crowds and to experience towering trees, cold snow melt rivers and spy a few bears along the way too.

Below we share all you need to know for planning the best Kings Canyon camping experience- with information on the best sites, which campgrounds to choose and how to book it all.

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Kings Canyon Scenic Byway: 10 Surprising Places You Will Love

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful drives in all of California. Located in Kings Canyon National Park, the drive takes visitors through massive canyons, past raging waterfalls, all while following a beautiful roaring river. Visiting the sights along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is one of the most best things you … Read more

7 Easy, Fun & Uplifting Things to Do in Visalia California

Have you driven through Visalia in the Central Valley but wondered what all there might be to do there? Well, let me share with you there are so many great things to do in Visalia that makes it a great stop on a longer road trip or even as a base for a few days … Read more

10 Amazing Things to Do in Big Bear for Summer

Often only thought of as Southern California’s place to play in the snow, there are a ton of great things to do in Big Bear throughout the year. As the heat of the summer sets in, Big Bear is the perfect escape. Nestled high in the mountains on the banks of a lake, Big Bear offers cooler temperatures during summer. From water activities to exploring the beautiful scenery, Big Bear is an outdoor lovers dream. I recently had the opportunity to visit Big Bear to learn more about the summer offerings, and I have to say that I was pretty excited with everything there is to do, especially for families. It really is the perfect family vacation destination.

Located less than two hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear offers a multitude of outdoor activities, water sports, mountain biking and more for the perfect summer vacation.

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