Try Cross Country Skiing With the Family This Winter

November 27, 2017

cross country skiing

With more snow moving into the Sierra, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!

When we first tried cross-country, my kids picked it up right away; after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off skiing the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.

Ring In the Holiday Season at Mill Valley Winterfest!

November 27, 2017

Mill Valley Winterfest

Mill Valley's downtown plaza will once again be filled with an eclectic mix of live music, children playing, and community togetherness when the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Mill Valley present the annual Winterfest, taking place Sunday, December 3, from 11 am to 5 pm. Winterfest celebrates the holiday season with a fun-filled afternoon for children, families, and anyone who enjoys the holidays!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Blossoms

November 27, 2017

Peanut butter blossom cookies

These delicious cookies were one of my favorite holiday treats when I was a child, so I've made sure to include them in my own Christmas baking repertoire. They're easy to make and the kids love to help mix ingredients and roll the dough into balls.

Go Play in the Snow! Great Places for Family Snow Play in Northern California

November 26, 2017

Tubing in the Sierras

The winter season in the Sierra is starting! While we love the skiing and winter fun at Lake Tahoe, we know that not everyone's a skiier, and sometimes families just want to go up and have some fun in the snow. While many of the Tahoe ski resorts like Northstar, Squaw Valley, and Heavenly have tubing parks, ice skating, and other winter non-skiing activities for the family, there are plenty of other places in the mountains where you can get your snow play fix without the ski resort hustle and bustle (and price tag).

Holiday Family Fun in San Francisco

November 25, 2017

Union Square Ice Rink
Photo: Union Square Ice Rink

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of my holiday season was a trip into San Francisco. It's something that I still love to do with my family, and there's so much fun to be had. Here are 6 ideas for festive family holiday fun in the city.

U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms in Sebastopol

November 25, 2017

Garlock Tree Farm in SebastopolTake a horse-drawn wagon ride at Garlock Tree Farm in Sebastopol

It's time to think about getting that must-have of the holiday season—the Christmas tree. There are those practical people who merely unpack the artificial tree from its storage boxes, and assemble it in the living room, pre-wired, perfectly shaped and sized, and flame-resistant. Then there are those of us who have to have the real deal, despite any inconvenience.

For the hopeless holiday romantics among us, nothing beats the experience of going to a honest-to-goodness genuine Christmas tree farm, getting our hands dirty, and cutting a tree down ourselves. Of course it's a great family photo op and it's usually a lot of fun, too. Those annual trips to the Christmas tree farm remain some of my fondest childhood memories, and now it's a tradition with my own family

U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms in Petaluma

November 25, 2017

Larsen's Tree Farm Petaluma

If you want to have the experience of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree, you're going to have to pack up the family truckster and head north on Highway 101 to visit our neighbors in Sonoma County. There, you'll find a selection of Christmas tree farms mostly concentrated in the rural areas of western Petaluma and Sebastopol.

We made our traditional day-after-Thanksgiving trip to the three Christmas tree farms located in Petaluma—Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm and Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm—to see what they had to offer this season. There's nothing that gets you in the holiday spirit more than visiting a tree farm. Did I mention that they're great places for holiday photo ops, too? You can also check out our rundown on the tree farms further north in Sebastopol.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 24–26

November 23, 2017

Winter Wonderland in San RafaelVisit downtown San Rafael this Friday and Saturday for free snow sledding and more!

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Also, check out our guide to North Bay Christmas tree farms and Lots.

Friday, November 24

  • Holidays Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday, various times
    'Tis the season to celebrate with our community. Join Sonoma County farmers and producers as they open their gates and barn doors to offer a behind-the-scenes peek at life on the farm. Shop their unique farmstands for your holiday meals, cut your own Christmas tree, make a gift at DIY workshops, greet farm animals, and so much more. Free. Register online for a complete list of participants. For more info, visit their website.

Holiday Family Fun at Bay Area Museums

November 23, 2017

'Tis the Season for Science California Academy of Sciences'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. ©2016 California Academy of Sciences.

The holidays are a perfect time for a family visit to a museum, where you can both have fun and learn something indoors. Many local San Francisco Bay Area museums offer fun holiday-themed programs, including hands-on activities, special exhibits, and more. You'll even find ice skating and real live reindeer! Here are six of our favorite local museums worth visiting with the kiddos this holiday season.

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