I’d like to pass on a suggestion for travel, alone or with kids that we used extensively when our children were younger. I once passed this tip on to a single mom. A couple years later she thanked me and said she and her daughter have made a habit of travelling once a month. Here is the tip. Youth Hostels. They are NOT only for youth, but the young at heart.
I know that some of us have a bad image of hostels. I can tell you from experience that you can toss your bad thoughts out the window. You can travel close to home and experience great things, or travel internationally on a tight budget. For many years we had tent camped with the kids, because money was a concern. Then we discovered hostelling and opted for that over tent camping. We were members of American Youth Hostels http://hiusa.org/. You get a price break if you are a member.
Most of the places are in historic buildings. Most have family rooms you can reserve ahead of time by calling. You don’t have to be in a dorm room with other hostellers, you can reserve a room of your own.
You can stay in two lighthouses on the California coast.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse http://norcalhostels.org/pigeon/ They even have a hot tub you can reserve. Stop by the little town of Pescadero for wonderful fresh artichoke bread.
Point Montero Lighthouse http://norcalhostels.org/montara/ Also has a hot tub and close to Pescadero. We shared a Hanukah celebration with a family in the kitchen when we stayed here.
My single Mom friend goes to one of the lighthouses every month.
You can stay in the heart of the city. How about Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. http://sfhostels.com/fishermans-wharf/
Santa Cruz has Historic Beach Bungalows. It is a City Park during the day and is walking distance to the boardwalk. We loved this one and met people from Holland. http://hiusa.org/santacruz/ A small private room runs $55.00, with shared bath.
In Monterey you can stay right on Cannery Row. http://hiusa.org/monterey/. Private rooms are $59 to $64.
We loved hostelling and the kids always had fun and we met lots of people (old and young) from around the world.
Often the kitchen is a joint effort. Someone makes a pot of spaghetti and invites others to partake. Someone else offers a loaf of bread.
You used to bring your own bedding, but they now provide all the bedding.
Our daughter is a youth director and she rented the entire Sacramento Youth Hostel for the a youth conference this last year. She then invited other groups and managed to fill the whole place. Her kids were able to go for less money. A group of volunteers made breakfast each morning in the HUGE hostel kitchen and packed sack lunches for the kids to eat at the conference. It was a great choice and my daughter knew about it because we had stayed at this hostel several times. It is a Victorian house with lots of stained glass and carved woodwork. Beautiful building.