Ways to enjoy the summer holiday without major vacation preparations

Hit up the beach, the city, take a class, get in shape or just relax


Andrew Sternfield

Over the summer, take advantage of Palo Alto’s proximity to the coast and plan a relaxing trip down to the beach.

Congratulations! You have almost made it through this school year and summer is just around the corner. But, what are your summer plans? Though it may seem like everyone in Palo Alto is traveling the world during summer, many are not. For those who are not able to travel wherever they please and are stuck in the Bay Area, there are various local options that will allow you to have an amazing, fulfilling summer.


Take a trip to the beach

We are lucky enough to live in a state known to have very beautiful beaches. Grab your friends, get in the car and go on a road trip for a day at the beach. The closest beach to Palo Alto is Half Moon Bay, only a half an hour drive away. Though not known for warm weather, Half Moon Bay has scenic views where you can watch waves crash into the cliffy California coastline. It is a perfect place to relax and appreciate nature’s beauty.  For more fun in the sun, another beach to visit is Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is about a 50 minute drive away and is filled with great shops and restaurants, as well as a boardwalk with amusement park rides and warm sandy beaches.

Pick up some s’mores supplies and head to the woods for night of camping

Camping is affordable and allows you to take a vacation close to home. The beautiful Foothill Park, located in Palo Alto, is open for residents to rent out campsites. The park also contains various safe hiking trails to enjoy and explore.


Hit the City

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is only 40 minutes away. Take the Caltrain up to the city and enjoy a variety of high end to low end shopping and food. You can also visit renowned sites located in San Francisco such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Chinatown. Take the opportunity to appreciate art and science with the excellent museums located in the city such as the Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum. Tourists from all over the world visit San Francisco, so Palo Alto citizens should take advantage of their unique proximity.


Take a class

Sure, it seems like the last thing anyone would want to do over the summer, but there are many interesting and fun classes available nearby. For example, the Palo Alto Art Center offers art classes for people of all ages. These classes help students learn more about or even master photography, painting, drawing and sculpting. In addition, us Palo Altans are extremely lucky, as our city is host to one of the most prestigious and beautiful universities in the country, Stanford University. Stanford University offers several educational camps for students. With these classes, you could even use your summer to get ahead in your classes at school or bridge into higher lanes.


Get in shape

Many make a promise to themselves to get fit over the summer, but don’t end up achieving this goal due to “being too busy.” Now that school is over, you have more free time to get in shape. You can work out in creative ways such as hiking, biking, rollerblading or running on the beach. Join a club sports team to maintain your skills or go to a camp and learn a new sport you have always wanted to try. Also, there are several places where you can take classes which help you adhere to your workout regimen. For example, Sanyam Yoga Center, Core Studio and the JCC are all local gyms and studios that can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Do not let lack of travel get you down. Take advantage of all the bay area has to offer you and have a fun and productive summer.