Do: Summer with Kids
Summer is just around the corner and readers have been asking me to share my best ideas for a smashing summer with kids. Simply SV suggests:
- Sign up your kids for some fun camps.
I prefer morning sessions so the kids have a reason to get out the door, I get a break, and we can spend the hot afternoons together swimming. The less driving the better: look for camps that are close to home.
My kids are excited to be participating in Saratoga Basketball Camp. They did it last summer and loved it. This co-ed camp is run by the Saratoga High School coaches and players; my kids felt very grown up getting dropped off at the high school gym to be trained by the actual coaches and players. At the end of each day, the head coach selects one camper to lead the whole camp in a cheer, called "The Break." The day my son Hudson was the chosen one, he BEAMED with pride and walked a little taller.
Saratoga Basketball Camp is offering a $25-off Simply Special for new registrations made in April:
$25 off the total with promo code: April25
Great America opened for the season on March 24. We received season passes as a Christmas gift: $69 for each child, $89 for a Gold Pass for me (to get free parking.)
I recently gasped when I saw that Costco is selling the Gold Pass for $79.99! Great deal. Sunday, April 22 is Bring-A-Friend day: Season Pass holders can bring up to 4 friends for $19.99 admission; standard admission is $39.99. This spring they will unveil a new roller coaster, RailBlazer. They have a big water park too.
- Make sure you have a place to swim.
Whether it's a cabana club, a pool membership, or a neighbor's pool, you're gonna need a place to splash around and cool off on the dog days of summer. There are open swim hours during the summer at some local pools. Here are two options that are good to know about:
- Open Swim at the Los Gatos High School pool from 1:30-3:30 pm Monday-Friday, $4 a person.
- Open Swim at the Campbell Community Center pool, $2 a person. The hours are pretty restricted, but the price is right. Tuesday-Friday from 2:15-3:15 pm; Saturdays 2:15-4:15 pm. You can purchase a 25-visit pass for $40 ($10 saved.)
- Don't forget we live a mere 30 minutes from the beach.
My favorite area to hit the beach is Pleasure Point, in Santa Cruz. If you're going "over the hill" on the weekend or a holiday, make sure you're on Highway 17 by 10:30 am (at the absolute latest) to avoid wasting time stuck in traffic.
- Take an extended vacation. Two weeks is ideal.
If at all possible, take a two week vacation. Through experience, I've found this is the magic number: two full weeks away from the daily grind provide optimum refreshment and recovery. No need to use an airplane; save money and go to a cabin in the mountains.
I recently wrote about Chesa Madrisa, a beautiful Swiss chalet in the Sierras that has access to a pool clubhouse and is near an alpine lake. It would be the perfect place to spend two weeks.
The owner is offering a $175-off Simply Special:
Book a summer week at Chesa Madrisa before the end of April and she will waive the $175 cleaning fee.
These are a few of my ideas for a smashing summer with kids. Let's keep brainstorming, what are yours? Please share in the comments.
Insider Tip: If there's a camp you like that's cost-prohibitive, don't be shy about asking for some scholarship assistance—most programs have money set aside to defray the cost when necessary.