As our twin sons progressed through their teens it became increasingly difficult to come up with holiday destinations that appealed to all the family without breaking the bank. However I can highly recommend San Francisco as an ideal destination for families with teenagers.
We visited San Francisco for Christmas when our twin sons were fifteen. After paying for flights our next largest expense was accommodation. We wanted to have separate rooms even though a family room would’ve been cheaper. We thought that a week sharing one room would not have been conducive to family harmony. We also thought it would be good to have some basic cooking facilities. We choose the Halycon Hotel in Jones Street, described by Frommer as “a penny pinchers dream”. I did read reviews of the hotel and know that it was close to the rather notorious Tenderloin area and that you had to be careful in which direction you walked. You may decide that you’d rather pay more to stay in a swankier hotel in a more salubrious area and/or plump for a family room to get a better room for the same price as two separate rooms.
Our sons loved the trip to the former jail island of Alcatraz. In peak season you should book your trip well in advance as it’s a really popular attraction. We visited Fisherman’s Wharf several times, I know it’s a bit of a tourist trap but it’s still fun, especially observing the very noisy honking sea lions at Pier 39. The restaurants here are generally pricey and the whole area is full of hustlers.
The whole family enjoyed riding the famous cable cars. If you’ll take a few rides it’s much better value to purchase a pass, available for one, three or seven days. The Cable Car Museum
is really interesting and it’s free to enter.
Of course we just had to do the walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Park covers one thousand acres and is home to the Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Gardens.
One of our sons was into skateboarding, so already knew the layout of pier 7 from a computer game. He was able to stock up his skateboarding gear at much lower prices than in the UK and found a good selection of skateboarding shoes in size 12. Our other son had a good trawl around the music and record shops.
So if you’re looking for a super destination for a family holiday with teens, San Francisco is a great option.
Posted : Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 10:31
Karen Bryan is the founding editor of the UK based, multi author Europe a la Carte Blog which features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit in Europe.