Can that be a new school year looming on the horizon? Quick as it may seem, summer has sped by, and backpacks and pencil cases are quickly replacing swimsuits and suntan lotion in store displays. Luckily, there are still lots of fun things to do before kissing summer goodbye. Here are five Must-Do Summer Activities to add to your list:
Spend a night under the stars
Load up your camping gear onto a bike trailer and hop on the Angel Island Ferry for a dose of nature that's literally right in the middle of the Bay Area hustle and bustle. If you can brave the steep hills (that's what trailers are for!) and the occasional gusty winds (pack lots of layers!), you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and the cities beyond.
Go on a factory tour
Get your children excited for all their upcoming school field trips by going on a summer field trip of your own to the Jelly Belly factory. Their Fairfield plant (just an hour's drive from San Francisco) holds free forty-minute factory tours. Visitors tour the factory, learn how jelly beans are made, and enjoy free samples along the way. What a sweet way to spend the day! The plant does not run on weekends—visitors tour the empty factory and watch videos instead—so take advantage of your summertime weekdays to show the kids a real working factory.
Visit a museum
Get the kids back on the learning track with a visit to The Tech museum in San Jose. They can have a robot draw their portrait, grow their own jellyfish DNA, find out what an earthquake feels like, and enjoy other interactive activities that will have them looking forward to all the other math and science experiments they'll be doing in the upcoming school year.
Indulge in summer fruit
These days, you can get peaches, berries, watermelons, cherries and other summer fruit all year round, but they're never as fresh, juicy, tasty (and inexpensive!) as they are in the summer. Take advantage of the summer crop by including seasonal fruits in your meals whenever you can—your kids will love you for it! You can stir fresh blueberries into your morning oatmeal, flavor a pitcher of iced water with oranges and lemons, have a strawberry spinach salad for lunch, slice up a big, juicy watermelon, bake a cherry pie, grill some nectarines for dessert. Enjoy their sweet flavor all day, every day, while they last. Even this late in the season, some U-Pik places are still open for ollalieberry pickgin (check with Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, Webb Ranch in Palo Alto, or Swanton Farms in Pescadero), so you can enjoy your summer fruit straight from the vine. Whether you get your summer fruit from the farmer's market or the field, don't forget to take an extra basket to pop into your freezer, so you can take them out at any time and give yourselves a sweet reminder of your summer adventures.
Build a sandcastle
Give the little ones a chance to get sandy and wet one last time! With so many great beaches up and down the Pacific Coast, from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay to San Gregorio to Santa Cruz, you never need to drive more than an hour to enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Let the sand get in their shorts and let the surf wash over their toes as they build the best sandcastle ever. Rent a couple of boogie boards, fly a kite, and let the wind mess up their hair. They'll be donning those school shoes, jackets and caps soon enough.
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