Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are, because of the people you are with.
I have an unconventional extended family. It includes people with titles like “My Sister’s Mom”. We have so much fun when we get together, it hardly matters where we meet up. Put us in a parking lot with a cooler, a BBQ, and some dice cups and we would laugh for hours.
This year, we all got together in Sea Ranch, Ca. I had never been there before, and it was amazing. It’s in Sonoma County, somewhat close to Napa. The scenery is breathtaking.
In order to get there, you drive along the coast for a hour. The ocean is stunning on the left and the green hills storybook on the right. The road is a bit winding, but the view makes it worth it.
I highly recommend you rent a house within the housing development of Sea Ranch so you can enjoy being right on the beach. We loved the careful natural architecture that blended with the land. We saw spotted fawns that looked like small pets, black ninja ducks diving into the water, herons who hardly moved when we walked by, and a dozen harbor seals sleeping soundly on the beach a few yards away. We saw hermit crabs and fish and sea anemones. The kids were in heaven.
We flew kites on the beach and had a BBQ at the old school park (with a real metal slide and a huge fort) and watched the sunset go down as a group.
And the next day, we went to the enchanted forest.
Seriously, if the beach wasn’t enough. We drove about five miles away and walked through the most beautiful redwood forest I have ever seen. Awesome trails with green ferns blanketing each side, trees reaching so high only streams of luscious light streaming through, and a river for the kids/dogs to swim in when we were done.
Oh, and I did it all with people I love. Kids who aren’t afraid, and parents who let them get filthy dirty crawling in tree trunks and playing with sticks and bugs.
So, if given the choice between people or places, I will always pick people.
Luckily, often, we can have both.