Nestled along the Pacific Ocean in northwestern California sits the small planned community of Sea Ranch. This coastal community offers the ideal spot for a low-key vacation with your family to reconnect and relax. Choose a Sea Ranch vacation rental with beach views, and wake up each morning to gorgeous scenery. Look forward to spending your days playing on the beach, biking around town, and exploring the countryside. When traveling with kids, you will want to make sure that your itinerary is well-planned. With that said, check out the top nine kid-friendly things to do in and around Sea Ranch.

1. Fort Ross State Historic Park

This military fortress originally belonged to the Russians, who built it in 1812. It’s also the location of the first Orthodox church in the United States. Today, your family can tour this historic camp. Start with the visitor’s center to learn more about the fort’s history and get maps of the surrounding hiking trails. If you packed a lunch before leaving your vacation rental, choose one of the picnic tables and eat before seeing the remaining buildings. End your afternoon with a hike along one of the trails to see the wildlife that makes this fort a home.

2. Bufano’s Obelisk

At the height of the Cold War and just months before the Cuban Missile Crisis, famous sculptor Benjamino Bufano placed his beautiful sculpture, the Peace Obelisk, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This unique piece of artwork sits at the Timber Cove Resort. When you arrive, there’s a separate gravel parking lot for those who want to see the sculpture but aren’t guests. From there, walk along the path until you arrive at the obelisk that soars a stunning 93 feet in the air. Make sure to bring your camera to take photos of the stunning view.

3. Whale Watching

Depending on the time of year, the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sea Ranch becomes a hot spot for migrating whales. Contact one of the local boat charter companies, and take your family out on the water for a day of whale watching. These cruises typically last for a couple of hours. In addition to an up-close look at these majestic animals, your family can take in the amazing views of the rocky coastline with its soaring cliffs and rocky outcrops along the beaches.

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4. A Day on the Beach

In northern California, the water of the Pacific is too cold to swim without a wet suit most of the year, but your family can still enjoy a day on the beach. Although Sea Ranch is a private community, all the beaches in the state are open to the public, so use one of the six access paths to reach the sand. Pack a kite, and watch your kids run up and down the beach to catch the wind. Tidal pools along the beach provide a wealth of sea life for your kids to explore and learn more about. You might even have a few new seal friends join you on the beach.

5. Sea Ranch Chapel

No matter your religious faith, stop by the Sea Ranch Chapel to see its unique architecture. This non-denominational chapel opens most days at 8 a.m. and stays open until sunset. When you arrive, you’ll notice that it looks like a set of wings about to take flight, and from the front, it resembles a butterfly. This chapel is well-known for its whimsical appearance and its peaceful setting. The building features dried redwood and copper accent along with local stones at the base. Spend a few minutes appreciating the design before stepping inside for some quiet time.

6. Gualala Point Park

Get out and smell the sea air at Gualala Point Park. This park covers a little less than 200 acres but includes a meadow area, a forested area, and, of course, a beach area. Pack a lunch from your vacation rental or bring burgers to throw on the grill at one of the picnic areas, then take the family for a hike. This park provides well-marked trails, and the forest trails lead to the beach, where your family can take off their shoes and dip their feet in the ocean.

7. Point Arena Light Station

Drive up the coast along the breathtaking Route 1 to visit the Point Arena Light Station. This lighthouse first began warning sailors of the coastline at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it’s a hotel with several suites available. Your family can walk around the lighthouse and check out the gorgeous views from this isolated point on the coast.

8. Fishing

Teach your kids the finer points of baiting their hooks and a little patience waiting for the first nibble. Several of the local state parks, including Gualala Point Park, allow fishing in the ocean at certain times of the year. You can schedule a charter with one of the local companies for a day out on the ocean, where you can catch really big fish, from tuna to the blue marlin that can weigh up to 600 pounds.

9. Take a Day Trip to Santa Rosa

In less than an hour’s drive, your family can arrive in the moderately sized city of Santa Rosa. Check out Safari West, where you can get some great views of giraffes and zebras. Visit the museum dedicated to the comic writer of Snoopy at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, and take your picture with Charlie Brown statue outside. On the way back to your vacation rental, stop by the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market for fresh veggie and fruits.

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