staycation


China Camp State Park camping and beach

china camp state park beach

China Camp State Park is a Bay Area jewel. It’s a beautiful state park which features camping, hiking, biking, water activities, and a beach on the bay. In addition to outdoor activities, China Camp State Park offers local Bay Area history which isn’t typically taught in schools. Love!

We recently took a weekend camping trip to China Camp State Park, and it was both beautiful and fun. The campsites are flat, and well maintained. There are plenty of hiking trails, biking trails, and fabulous views of the bay. The campsite is a quick drive from the beach, which also features a museum, and several buildings that are original to the historical fishing village.

You can drive, hike, or bike to the beach from the campgrounds. Then, you can relax on the beach with your own picnic, or you can buy snacks from the shop on-site. We drove to the beach from the campgrounds, and we brought our own sandwiches. It was relaxing and fun!

China Camp State Park campgrounds are easily accessible from 101 in San Rafael. I recommend making your campsite reservations six months in advance so you can pick the site you want, and ensure you actually get a site. October was a great month to camp since it wasn’t too hot, and the campground wasn’t crowded.

The campgrounds offer bathrooms and showers. For the showers, make sure you bring quarters as they require payment with quarters. Also, prepare to store your food at night in your car, or the bear box. The racoons are very smart, and not afraid to go after your food. We kept our cooler in the car after dark, and it worked perfectly.

There is a lot of wildlife at China Camp State Park. If you need quiet while you sleep, bring earplugs. There are plenty of coyote sounds, and bird sounds, in the middle of the night.

You can learn more at FriendsOfChinaCamp.org. If camping isn’t your thing, and you are local, you can always day trip to China Camp and enjoy the hiking trails, beach, and museum!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Alum Rock Park hiking trails

wearing: adidas sweatshirt / gaiter / spring nail polish / backpack / water bottle / sweatpants / hiking boots (sold out, similar here) /

Alum Rock Park is a large outdoor recreation area in San Jose, California. This park is the oldest municipal park in San Jose, dating back to 1872. It’s located on the eastern side of San Jose and offers playgrounds, picnic areas, multiple hiking trails, and a visitor center with camps and activities where visitors can learn more about the wildlife in the area. In addition to being a great place for outdoor fun and education, there is a historic aspect to the park!

The Alum Rock Mineral Springs were very popular in the early 1900s. While the mineral springs are now defunct, the remnants can be found along the hiking trails and provide a beautiful addition to the natural surroundings.

The hiking trails in Alum Rock are not too difficult, and are perfect for families. We enjoyed hiking through the park and occasionally stopping to take pictures of each other with the ruins from the springs. It was extremely relaxing and beautiful. I cannot believe we hadn’t visited Alum Rock Park before! It’s perfect for a day of fun, exercise, and a little education.

If you are local to the Bay Area, I highly recommend visiting Alum Rock Park; especially if you have children. The park gets very busy, so I recommend going early; before 9am. This way you can enjoy the park stress-free. Love that!

Have you been to Alum Rock Park before? What are your favorite spots? We parked by the visitor center and went on the hiking trails from there.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Marin Headlands Kirby Cove Road

One of things I love about the San Francisco Bay Area is all of the history you can find; in almost every corner. While our history is not as deep as other areas, we still have pockets with remnants of our past; and it is important to learn about it as well as share it with the next generation.

The Marin Headlands is rich with history. While exploring the area, you may come across sites from around 1900, WWII forts, and Cold War relics. This is in addition to beautiful views, nature, camping grounds, trails, wildlife, beaches, and more. It’s truly a destination you cannot see all in one day. When we visit, we choose one little spot, and explore it.

We decided to explore the Kirby Cove area of the Marin Headlands. This area is normally overrun by tourists; but during the cold winter months, we are able to park easily and explore stress-free.

PRO TIP: Arrive before 9am during the off-season so you can park where you want to, and avoid crowds.

The points of interest we explored were Battery Spencer, Ridge Battery, and Battery Wagner. We also hiked along the Kirby Cove Road. This road leads to an amazing beach which is less busy than beaches such as Stinson and Muir; as long as you follow my pro tip above.

Kirby Cove Road is wide, which makes it a great trail for hiking right now when social distancing is so important. It’s really easy to keep your distance from others. We enjoyed the unparalled views of the Golden Gate Bridge, beach, ocean, bay, and general nature. It really is a must-see hiking area; especially if you are local to the Bay Area!

The Marin Headlands is really easy to find. If you are coming from the north on 101, take the last exit off the freeway before the bridge, and follow the road into the headlands. If you are coming from the south, take the first Sausalito exit off the bridge and follow the signs; they will take you right into the Headlands.

Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring a backpack filled with snacks, water, and lunch. Always bring your trash back out of the trail. There are plenty of trash and recycle cans in the parking areas.

I hope you enjoy exploring the Marin Headlands! Remember, the best time to visit is in the off-season, when tourism is down. Also, arrive before 9am so you can easily park.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy