It’s spring break time and you have about a week to wander with your family. From the Sacramento area, heading to the mountains, the ocean or the desert are all within range. Venture to the north coast, the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and more. So many choices, so little time. What will you and your family do?
Breakers Inn
39300 S. Highway 1
Gualala, CA 95445
(707) 884-3200

This wonderful little town on the coast offers all kinds of wonderment, in and out of the ocean. The Inn is a fine place to explore from. Besides being in a spot that looks out over the great Pacific Ocean, the town has art galleries, very good restaurants, specialty shops and is the doorway to kayaking in the ocean or in the river, horseback riding or hiking in the coastal forest. Of course, there’s the beach and sea shells, and tide pools too. Your family might find that relaxing here is just part of the package.

Strawberry Lodge
17510 Highway 50
Kyburz, CA 95720
(530) 659-7200

This historic lodge in the Sierra is located just a short drive from Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort. Staying here gives you access to skiing all day and relaxing in front of the fireplace after dinner. Rent your ski gear here too, downhill or cross country. Strawberry Lodge is very family friendly and in a truly beautiful spot right on the American River. If skiing isn’t in your plans, nearby Lake Tahoe offers lakeside play, strolls along the shores and hikes to fit all types of hikers, and world class dining. Your location gives you access to all of that and more.

Squaw Valley Lodge
201 Squaw Peak Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(530) 562-4881

Perhaps your dream spring break activity is skiing. If that’s the case, Squaw Valley Lodge has a lot to offer. The Lodge itself will keep you busy, with workout, sauna, pool and hot tub facilities. Located in Squaw Valley, your skiing day will begin early. Ski Squaw, which could take the whole week. Expand your opportunities easily by also skiing at Alpine Meadows or Northstar. Head over to Mt. Rose. Granlibakken could be a gentle family choice. Cross country skiing? Sure. Coast in the meadow at Squaw, at Tahoe City’s winter cross county ski center or a little farther away at Royal Gorge. If you want ski time, you’ll get that and more in Squaw Valley.

Related: Best Day Trips For Under $100 In The Sacramento Area

Sorensen’s Resort
14255 Highway 88
Hope Valley, CA 96120
(530) 694-2203

This is the year you plan to really put some effort into snowshoes and cross country skiing. Hope Valley and the Highway 88 corridor is about as good as it gets for that gear. Sorensen’s is a fantastic place to stay, year round. Grab a pair of snow shoes and off you go. Go over to Hope Valley Cross Country, just up the road, and get lessons and rentals. Kirkwood’s cross country center is close by. Lessons and gear on groomed trails will keep you busy. If you have your own gear, all you need is a place to park, and you’ll spend wonderful hours exploring this area. When you’re done, head back to your cabin, fire up the wood stove, make dinner and relax. Dine at the main lodge or head into Tahoe. It’s a stunner no matter where you go.

Convict Lake Resort
2000 Convict Lake Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(760) 934-3800

Expand your driving time and head to Convict Lake Resort. You’ll be amazed at the drive as you head down Highway 395, on the east side of the Sierra. The resort’s cabins have small kitchens and are very comfortable. The restaurant is wonderful. The surrounding territory offers unending vistas, hiking and skiing not too far away at Mammoth. Fish in Convict Lake from the shore or rent a boat. Marvel at the terrain you’re in. Explore the roads leading to Yosemite, but understand that at this time of year, Tioga Pass is probably closed. Find the hot springs or go back up to Mono Lake. Hike, wander and enjoy the majesty of this side of the mighty Sierra. It’s a trip that may turn into a family tradition.

Related: Out In Style: Most Comfortable Wilderness Retreats Near Sacramento

Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 41 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at