NorCal Fun For The Family
Free family fun abounds in California. From the beach to the boardwalk to the best parks around, here's a guide to the best family activities that are free, to boot!
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North of the Bay Area
Redwood National & State Parks, Hiouchi
Pack up your family for a day amongst the redwoods. The magnificent Redwood National & State Parks offer an educational experience courtesy of Mother Nature, with five visitor centers located throughout the state park along a 40-mile corridor, including the Hiouchi Information Center, Jedediah Smith Visitor Center, Crescent City Information Center, and others.
Be sure to maximize your excursion by stopping in to one of these visitor centers, where you'll find knowledgeable staff, maps, exhibits, films, bookstores, restrooms, and picnic areas. The trails throughout the park are always opened, but call ahead for program information about tours and campfire programs that begin during end of May/early June.
Website: Redwood National & State Parks
Address: US Highway 199 at Hiouchi, California
Jelly Belly Factory Tours, Fairfield
The free Jelly Belly Factory Tours in Fairfield offer visitors a sweet experience as they step behind the scenes to learn how the famous Jelly Belly jelly beans are made. 40-minute guided walking tours begin once every 10-15 minutes, but peak times such as holidays and summer seasons could find you waiting up to an hour for the next tour.
The factory is fully functional during the week, but weekend tour-goers view video monitors showing the machines in action. If you need your own stroller or wheelchair, be sure to bring one because they are not available in the Visitor Center.
Website: Jelly Belly Factory Tours
Address: 1 Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield, CA 94533. Hours: Daily 9am-4pm; Admission: Free.