During the winter, our family took a trip up to Northern California and visited Muir Woods National Monument, a national park just north of San Francisco. We also drove down to the harbor to take in some scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Watch our family travel video to Muir Woods National Monument
Where we stayed in Northern California
Other than Muir Woods, we actually visited a few places not shown in the video, including downtown San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Sonoma County. So we wanted a home base that was central to all of that for day trips. We rented an AirBnB house in Richmond, which is just North of Oakland and across the bay from San Francisco.
What we did in Northern California
Muir Woods National Monument
Take walk through large redwood trees. A main boardwalk loop makes it easy for young kids to go along, while there are many other trails that branch out for the more adventurous.
This small harbor with boats is in Sausalito and just a short drive out of Muir Woods. It has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco.
We discovered these places by looking on TripAdvisor. You can also find other top places to go and things to do in the Bay Area, along with creating and saving a shareable itinerary.
Map of Muir Woods & Golden Gate Bridge Scenic Point
This map shows the Muir Woods Visitor Center and Travis Marina.
Trail map of Muir Woods Trail
Here is a map from All Trails with the specific path we took on our Muir Woods walk:
Travel lessons from our Northern California trip
You learn something new with every trip. Here are a few tips:
- Be strategic with where you stay, it makes travel easier. For this trip, we prioritized being in a central location for our day trips, and having a good coffee shop nearby.
- Check the weather. It rained heavily on the day we had planned on exploring downtown San Francisco, so we didn’t get to do much. Muir Woods was also a lot colder than we anticipated.
Travel gear that was helpful on our Northern California trip
Here are some recommended items we took on the trip that helped make it easier, or was used for taking our photos and videos:
Kolcraft Cloud Umbrella Stroller – Our 1-year old was just starting to walk and loved running through Muir Woods, but couldn’t walk the whole trail, so this stroller came in handy. This is a super small and lightweight umbrella stroller that’s easy to carry around when you want to travel light. It’s become our default stroller for most trips.
Canon EOS Rebel T4i – We used this camera for some scenic photos and some of the clips in the video. This is a nice entry-level DSLR camera that’s easy to use and takes solid pictures. There are newer versions of the rebel that offer more features, but you can get the older models for fairly inexpensive now.
GoPro Hero5 Session – We used this to record most of the footage from the video, specifically all the walking and running clips. This is an incredible little action camera that’s waterproof and has mild stabilization. It’s a cube shape and doesn’t have a viewing screen like its newer models, but is perfectly convenient quick action recording in Full HD.