Where to Stop with Kids on the Way to Tahoe - 510 Families
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Where to Stop with Kids on the Way to Tahoe

Tahoe is a popular Bay Area vacation all year long, however, a trip up North may seem daunting with little ones. Thanks to our Facebook group, we’ve rounded up some favorite stops to help you out along the way.

Weather permitting, the trip to Tahoe is about 4 hours long, and totally manageable with stops. We’ve added destinations ordered closest to home first, so if you make it past the first one, you can keep on truckin’ until you’re enjoying the beautiful Tahoe shore.

kid sledding in the snow
Sledding and all smiles | Photo: Mike of SF Dads Group

Best stops for families going to Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area

Paddle boating on Lake Tahoe during the sunny months

Kid-friendly Fairfield

If you need to stop ASAP, Fairfield is a fun choice. Hit up the Jelly Belly Factory for bribe-worthy candies to use throughout the trip, or spend more time at Scandia Family Fun. Stay out of the weather with a trip inside to the Jelly Belly or the arcade and laser tag at Scandia. Then again, I can almost guarantee you a round of mini-golf in the summer heat will bring on a nice long nap.

Where to go with kids in Vacaville

Several of our community members love to stop at Nut Tree Plaza in Vacaville. This road stop attraction has got it all: shops, food and fun. Stop into Fentons for a scoop of ice cream, ride the carousel, take a spin around the plaza on the train, or relax with a coffee while your kids climb around the play area. Forgot important gear for your vacation? Head across the freeway to the Vacaville Premium Outlets to pick one up. Lots of options to take a break here.

All aboard! The Nut Tree Plaza train. | Photo: Yelp

Davis with kids

Davis is a great stop along the route to Tahoe. Right off the freeway, find a cute downtown to stretch out your legs. Run around at Central Park – clean, grassy and cute play structures, or get a cone at the Davis Creamery where ice cream is made onsite. Yum! A little past Davis you can find an IKEA – it’s probably super crowded on a weekend, but if you need a cool or dry place to stop with AC, cheap food, and bathrooms, you can’t beat it. Perhaps you need a total break? Drop the kids off in the IKEA daycare. Ha!

Roseville stops with kids

Just past Sacramento is Roseville. Stop off for In-N-Out and get your wiggles out at Maidu Regional Park – grass, play structures and LOTS of shade here.

Family-friendly Auburn, CA

So many readers love old Auburn. If you’re an early riser, set a plan to have breakfast at Katrina’s Cafe, where you can find lemon yogurt pancakes and shareable omelets. Auburn Alehouse is a kid-friendly lunch spot, or stop into Ikeda’s Market for a quick lunch, clean bathrooms, groceries and their famous homemade pie!

Pick up a pie at Ikeda’s Market. | PC: Yelp

Truckee fun with kids

You are almost there! If you have to stop now, Truckee is the place. There’s a cute KidZone Museum with art, dress-up and pirate ships, or Truckee Regional Park is a fun free place to play outside. Just need to stop for a quick diaper or bathroom break? Pop into Little Truckee Ice Creamery. Truckee is so cute, who knows, maybe you don’t even need to go all the way to the lake.

snowball tahoe
“Take that, Mom!” a snowball flies in Truckee | Photo: Alissa McLean

What did we miss? Where are your favorite stops along the way to Tahoe?

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1 thought on “Where to Stop with Kids on the Way to Tahoe”

  1. Sacramento Children’s Museum is just east of Sacramento and a good place to stop if traveling on 50 to South Lake Tahoe.

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