Sacramento: A Great Destination For A Multigenerational Family Vacation

You've seen them around...you're on vacation, leisurely snapping photos in places like Disneyland or the Grand Canyon, when all of a sudden you are descended upon by a group of people ranging from toddler age to senior citizens.  You know who I'm talking about, those families who travel in packs.  With matching t-shirts.  Maybe you are one of those families, or maybe you would like to be one of those families (perhaps not the matching shirt part.)  Well, there is a lot to be said for traveling with extended family members. 

According to Road and Travel Magazine, multigenerational travel is the fastest growing travel trend in America.  Over 5 million family vacations each year include three generations.  Whether the intended destination is a relaxing exotic island far from home, or simply a weekend away in a nearby city, vacations that include extended family members are often some of the most enjoyable and memorable. 

The author's kids and their grandparents on a recent day trip.Today's seniors are generally more energetic and adventurous than in generations past, and therefore crave spending quality time with their grandchildren.  When families live miles apart they often plan multigenerational vacations to bridge that distance gap.  It is during these family vacations, away from every day life, that experiences and memories are created that might not otherwise be possible.  Most seniors say that traveling with their grandchildren is more enjoyable because it helps them see things through "new" eyes, and offers a unique perspective.

Sacramento is an ideal city for multigenerational visits, and here is why.

Weather.  We have great weather here in Sacramento.  According to Climatezone.com, Sacramento enjoys sunshine nearly 78% of the time.  That's approximately 265 sunny days each year.  So, chances are, if you visit anytime between April and November, you'll enjoy great weather (albeit a tad warm in July and August.)  Although the typical rainy season runs December through March, you might want to note that some of the most beautiful days of the year come in between those rainy days.  So don't rule out visiting in the winter time!

Walkability.  Sacramento is one of the easiest cities I know of to navigate on foot.  Downtown streets are level (no killer hills) and organized in an easy grid system.  Restaurants, hotels and many attractions are located within just blocks of one another making it so easy for a family of both little children and mature adults to get around together.  One can stay in a downtown Sacramento hotel and easily spend several days sightseeing without having to get behind the wheel.  You can explore the museums, shops and restaurants within a few blocks of Old Town, or head a few blocks to the east where visitors will find the hustle and bustle of life around the California State Capitol including theater productions, shopping and dining.

Attractions.  There are plenty of things to do in the Sacramento area that appeal to a variety of ages and interests.  The California Gold Rush history alone is sure to peak the interests of both adults and children with the California State Railroad Museum, the Sacramento History Museum, the Old School House Museum and shops and restaurants galore.  Both excursion train rides, river cruises, as well as a variety of Sacramento walking tours originate in Old Town.  Located just a few blocks south of Old Town is the Crocker Art Museum with its fabulous permanent collection, always interesting exhibits and wonderful children's program. 

Head a few blocks east and visitors will find the California State Capitol Museum and grounds, the Wells Fargo Museum, the California Museum and Hall of Fame, the Leland Stanford Mansion, the Esquire IMAX Theater, Sacramento Convention Center and Community Theater. In Midtown, you'll find the very first settlement here in Sacramento - Sutter's Fort  - along with the California State Indian Museum, both open for daily tours. 

Hop on the freeway or navigate through beautiful old neighborhoods to one of the largest and oldest parks in the area, William Land Park. Here you'll find the Sacramento Zoo, local favorite Fairytale Town and a mini Disneyland called Funderland, perfect for kids ages 10 and under.

Affordability.  When planning for multiple families, cost is often a huge factor in determining where to go, how long to stay, and what to do on vacation.  Compared to some of the other large cities in California, Sacramento is really quite a deal....especially when families visit on the weekends.  Due to the weekday influx of business travelers and lawmakers, hotel rates in Sacramento actually drop on the weekends.  For instance, the Sheraton Grand which can run upwards of $300 per night during peak week nights, may drop by as much as half come Friday. (For a list of family friendly hotels in downtown Sacramento, click here.) Plus, if you request a Sacramento Gold Card when you check in to a Sacramento-area hotel, you'll gain access to discounts and savings at restaurants, shopping centers and attractions.

So, when planning your next vacation, consider bringing the whole family to Sacramento and taking advantage of all it has to offer families of all ages, generations and interests.  Memories are sure to be made, that will last a lifetime.