No matter if your family enjoys the great outdoors, baseball games, amusement parks, or museums, there’s something for everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area. Add these top 10 kid-friendly vacation ideas near San Francisco to your itinerary and get ready for an adventure — all within a short drive of your San Francisco vacation rental.

    1. Fisherman’s Wharf
      View Apart/Shutterstock

      With so many attractions, restaurants, and shops, it’s no surprise that Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the top Bay Area family vacation ideas. Visit Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Aquarium of the Bay, or just watch the sea lions sunbathing on the shore. As you can see, there’s tons to do all in one place.

    2. Oracle Park
      Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock

      There’s nothing quite like baseball games in the summer time. Take the family to catch a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park, formerly known as AT&T Park. For real baseball fans, come back for a stadium tour to learn the history of the team and interesting facts about the park.

    3. San Francisco Zoo
      Bryan Brazil/Shutterstock

      Kids of all ages love to look at the wildlife living in the San Francisco Zoo. There are over 2,000 exotic animals living in the 100-acre park. Enjoy the gardens and playground, and be sure to check out the feeding schedule to see your favorite animals getting their meals.

    4. Bay Area Discovery Museum


      Learning is fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum where kids enjoy hundreds of hands-on STEM activities and exhibits. There are several daily drop-in programs for kids as young as six months old. Kids get the opportunity to explore, imagine and create while on vacation.
    5. Exploratorium


      The Exploratorium features more than 650 interactive exhibits that allow you to explore human perception, science, and art. It’s a fun place for your whole family to play and learn. These hands on exhibits will surely spark curiosity and creativity with your little ones.
    6. Golden Gate Park
      Alsu Sabirova/Shutterstock

      San Francisco is rife with parks and outdoor spaces. Golden Gate Park is 1,000 acres of wide open spaces for running and playing. Have a picnic or toss a ball around in the meadows. Visit the Koret Children’s Quarter to ride the merry-go-round. Go for a hike and search for waterfalls, catch a glimpse of the buffalo in the Bison Paddock, or explore the California Academy of Sciences.

    7. The Presidio

      Presidio is a historic national park on the northern end of San Francisco. There are several hiking trails throughout the park — many of which are easy and short enough for even the smallest children. The park features sculptures from felled trees, hidden forts and tons of natural wonders throughout. Additionally, there’s plenty of space to pack a picnic or play games at Crissy Field. Entertain your little one with a game of tag on the field, with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge right in front of you.
    8. San Francisco Cable Car Museum


      After bringing the kids on one of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars through the hilly city, take a stop at the Cable Car Museum for your San Francisco vacation. Admission is free after all! Families learn about the history of the iconic cable cars and even watch the large wheels at work.
    9. California’s Great America


      If your family enjoys amusement parks more than museums, add California’s Great America to your list of Bay Area family vacation ideas. Located in Santa Clara, it’s one of the Bay Area’s top attractions. It features nine roller coasters and a waterpark.
    10. Jelly Belly Factory

      Kids don’t enjoy anything quite as much as they love candy, which is why a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield is a popular Bay Area family vacation idea. Take an hour drive out of the city and go behind the scenes to see how these treats are made and shop the hundreds of flavors available in the shop. To make your trip worthwhile, the Jelly Belly Factory Tours are also free to the public!

    11. Monterey Bay Aquarium


      A couple hours south of San Francisco is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, home to more than 35,000 marine animals. The Open Sea exhibit has a 1,200,000-gallon tank — the largest of its kind — that makes you feel like you’re underwater with the rest of the animals. The aquarium is located right at the end of Cannery Row, so be sure to take a walk down the street and enjoy some snacks along the coast.
    12. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

      The mighty redwoods in California are a sight that you don’t want your family to miss. If you want to get your family out of the city and into nature, head over to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where several hiking trails allow you to see these amazing trees up close.

    Ready to plan an incredible trip to San Francisco for you and the kids? Find the right rental to accommodate the whole family using VacationRenter.