Here's the Deal
Fly into San Jose -- an interesting little city in itself -- and use it as a jumping-off point for a driving tour of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Palo Alto, and the Salinas Valley.
What's for Kids
Kids are mesmerized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and wowed by trees in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. San Jose's Children's Discovery Museum is fun, as are the beaches of Santa Cruz.
A Place to Stay
Valley Park Hotel makes a good home base. There's no pool, but rooms with two beds and kitchenettes are reasonable for a family of four -- and that includes breakfast and dinner.
For More Info
For the hotel call 408-293-5000. For the aquarium and surrounding area, visit mbayaq.org. For general information call 800-SAN-JOSE.