Favorite Family Friendly Bed and Breakfasts on the West Coast

Genie Davis June 10, 2012 No Comments


Many families chose chain motels or hotels for a vacation. The reason: a known quantity, size of the room, amenities such as a pool or video games for the kids, portable cribs for the smallest travelers. Another reason is: sure, we’d love to stay at a bed and breakfast, but most of them don’t welcome or aren’t suitable for children.

Here are two beautiful bed and breakfast’s that are perfect for families – as long as parents are willing to keep their eye on their offspring. I’ve always believed that part of the charm of a family vacation is to spend time with your family – not send your children off to hotel sponsored children’s program or plunk them in front of the television. If you feel the same way, these two stops are the perfect destination.

Hawaii’s Halaekilohana B & B

Bed and Breakfast Hawaii big island Kalekilohana

A view from Kalekilohana's front porch

Hawaii itself is a family friendly destination, and the Kalaekilohana Bed & Breakfast outside of remote Na’alehu, on the Big Island is a perfect example. Kind, welcoming, friendly hosts will feel more like friends than inn keepers by the time you leave, and the accommodations are stellar. We loved the massive outdoor lanai, or porch, perfect for conversation, a cool beverage, and star gazing. With a porch swing to rock the kids to sleep, first let the kids run out onto the vast, groomed lawn and watch the moon rise. Inside, the rooms are large, many with french doors and private lanais. Several family suites feature three queen size or king and queen beds each in a separate nook of the room. Smooth eucalyptus wood floors smell heavenly. This plantation style lemon yellow b & b offers craft classes such a lei making and basket weaving for older children and the entire family. There’s a true sense of the culture of the islands and a connection to it, and that warmth will be felt and welcome by kids of all ages, and their parents. Kalaekilohana is one of the only Hawaiian owned bed and breakfasts in the state of Hawaii.

Hawaiian plantation Kalaekilohana Bed and Breakfast

The bed and breakfast itself – a welcoming Hawaiian plantation

Hawaiian music will play on the stereo while you breakfast on house made treats from pancakes to scones, local K’au coffee for adults, fresh squeezed juices, and island grown fruits like mango, papaya, and strawberries fill the table.

With a washer and dryer available for guests to use, you won’t have to worry about your family getting dusty on a pleasant hour-long hike to near by Green Sands beach. Centrally located between major Big Island attractions like Volcanoes National Park to the East and pristine snorkeling spots like Pu`uhonua `O Honaunau National Historic Park to the west, sightseeing as well as relaxing make this our number one favorite b & b.

For more information on this charming and family friendly B&B visit their website at: http://www.kau-hawaii.com or call (808) 939-8052.

Julian, California – The Observer’s Inn

Light snow fall near Julian

Crisp winter days outside the Observer's Inn in Juilan - a little sledding with the star gazing

Well, maybe it’s a tie for number one, with our other favorite in Southern California -  The Observer’s Inn, a small B&B in a spotless guest house that shares this Julian, California property with a private observatory built and operated by astronomer Michael Leigh and his wife Caroline. We love that families can rent the entire guest house – two bedrooms, two baths, and a living room, all with star gazing art, books, and video.

The planetarium Michael built offers a private star-gazing tour through the clear night air, first with the aid of a laser pointer and then with the assistance of four observatory class telescopes. Stools are offered for the kids to get a solid view of Saturn’s rings, Orion, the Pleiades, the craters of the moon – whatever planets are “in season,” you’ll see them sparkling, no matter how many light years away. You and your children will learn about the star clusters and galaxies under your gaze; the smallest children will enjoy just looking at the sparkling stars, and settling back on the comfortable couches in the observatory with a staff-provided cookie as a treat.

A Julian Sunset

A Julian Sunset - just wait til the stars come out

If the wonder of this special outlook into the universe wasn’t enough, in the morning, breakfast is served right in the guest house at an ample dining room table, along with friendly conversation by your hosts. With a strong emphasis on fresh baked local pastries and lovely fruit and teas, after the family-style repast, you can stroll the relaxing grounds, or head into the quaint town of Julian to take a horse and carriage ride. Not far away is the famous Palomar Observatory, open for tours and a look at a telescope even more impressive than those at the Observer’s Inn.

For more information on this charming and family friendly B&B visit their website at: http://www.observersinn.com or call (760)765-0088.

Two Grand Runner-ups

One runner up favorite bed and breakfasts in our family include the charming lighthouse keeper’s home on the windswept Oregon Coast, Heceta Head Lighthouse, where family board games and a fire place keep you company, and guests can share a kitchen for evening dining, or stroll a pleasant, gently  winding path to the lighthouse itself. Nearby: enormous sand dunes in the small town of Florence are made for coasting, rolling, climbing, and picture taking. For more info on the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B visit their website at: http://hecetalighthouse.com/bed-breakfast

Another favorite B&B is the sparkling Trinidad Inn in northern California, whose peaceful luxury belies the rugged coast on which it is perched. Below the inn, tide pools beckon. Nearby, mighty redwoods tower.

Once you get started on bed and breakfast stays, you’ll want to discover your own special place  – away from the corporate owned and impersonal accommodations you may have thought were your family’s due.

Related Articles:

Apple Picking, Star Gazing and Pie Grazing in Southern California

Family Fun on the Oregon Coast

More Family Fun in Southern Oregon


avatarAbout the Author:

Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

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