Arnold, CA! We are on the peninsula, so it would be even closer for you - I think a 2 hour drive or less. We know multiple families who own cabins there - there are a few separate communities that each have their own lakes (with lifeguards and swim platforms), some have pools. The families we know do what you describe - go multiple times a year, make friends that they see and meet up with. It's a beautiful small town in the woods, gets some snow each year (about a 30 minute drive to Bear Valley ski area) and is only 10 minutes from Murphy, which is a cute little town with tasting rooms and family-friendly restaurants and shops. Close to hiking and gold country too. We are recent transplants to the area and took a week vacation there last summer and were totally charmed.
When my kids were little we'd take a place in Arnold for a week. Close, very neighborly, lots of kids.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Snowy vacation that is NOT TAHOE (Nov 2005)
The town of Arnold is About 3 hours from Berkeley. It is around 4500' and 30 minutes east of it is Bear Valley Ski Area at 7000+ feet. You can rent a house in Arnold -- or further up the hill -- and have pretty easy access to snow. If you are avoiding Tahoe because of the horrible traffic, fair warning: the roads through Tracey aren't great on Friday or Sunday either.
Re: Snowy vacation that is NOT TAHOE (Nov 2005)
We have stayed summers and winters in rental houses at Blue Lake Springs. It's a medium size development off Highway 4, just outside Arnold, a half hour above Angel's Camp and about 3 hours from Berkeley. Blue Lake Springs is about an hour's drive from really good skiing (Bear Valley used to have an exceptional child care/ski school setup-- check their website). There are also some snow parks along Highway 4. Although Blue Lake Springs has a central golf course with clubhouse and condos (plus fabulous family pool and a couple of manmade lakes that are great swimming in the summer), most of the houses are privately owned cabins, and the streets are plowed but sometimes steep, so take your chains. I have had good luck and service from Sierra Vacation Rentals/Don Fry Realtors 209-795- 2422. We prefer the less fancy, ''rustic'' houses, but luxury ones are available. We have also driven up to Murphy's on Highway 4 on a Saturday, stayed one night in a little motel from the AAA book, then driven up to the snow and come home Sunday evening. But that's a harder day. peg
Re: Kid-friendly cabin near a lake May 2003
Arnold is a great place. Don Fry realty can set you up with a reasonable priced cabin near any number of lakes. We go every year with another family. Natasha H
The website convinced us that Arnold CA might be a good place to take my father-in-law and 2 year old son for a short trip. Can anyone recommend a place to stay? We are looking for a cabin- type arrangement for 2-3 days, so that we can prepare breakfast and lunch (and hopefully go out to dinner). Also, any suggestions for age appropriate activities for a 2 year old would be great. Mountain Mama
Well you don't say exactly when you wish to go (the time of year that you visit certainly determines what there is to do) but I can tell you that though Arnold itself may not exactly have a ton to do, it is centrally located to a lot of places that do (all within a 45 min drive). We have owned a cabin in Dorrington (7 miles northeast of Arnold) since the year I was born (36+ years) and absolutely love going there--even to do nothing...it is our own little piece of heaven. And we do rent our place. If you would like more details or even other suggestions of places to stay, let me know. You can email me at... amelliott21
We just used Don Fry Reatly with excellent results. You can pick your own cabin from the rental section of their website: www.donfryrealty.com
Have fun! karenv
Hi - We actually have a lovely 3BR, 2.5BA Arnold house that is available for rent. Arnold is a wonderful area all year round. Feel free to call me at 510-547-4137 with any questions.
You can see our house at: http://www.prucalrealtyarnold.com/rentchoate.html
Prudential Realty manages it.
Enjoy! Elizabeth Mckoy elizmckoyATyahooDOTcom
Our family will be renting a cabin in Arnold, near Senora Pass/Bear Mountain, later this week and we are wondering if anyone has spent time in the area and can recommend kid-friendly activities. We have a 4 year old girl and a 3 month old. We'll have a pool and a lake nearby so I'm sure we'll be spending a lot of time in the water which is great. But we're new to this area and would love to hear any and all suggestions. Recently our 4 year old has shown less patience with long periods of time in the car, so any ideas on good car games or activities would also be welcome. Thanks. Marlene
We have been going to Arnold for years (although just recently with kids!) Ideas off the top of my head include Big Trees State Park (they have some marked nature walks), the town of Murphys which has a cute downtown with an old fashioned ice cream parlor and lots of wineries to explore (especially look into the Ironstone Winery--it's amazing), and the restored gold town of Columbia (about 1/2 hour away) which has much to see and do that would interest children. If you think they are old enough, there are lots of caves in the area to explore. Some of the many friendly real estate agents in the area may have other suggestions. Claire
We spent the week of Spring Break in Angel's Camp and had a great time. It was 70 degrees in Angel's Camp so my kids could enjoy the swimming pool, and we went skiing at Bear Valley where there was a snowstorm with fresh snow! We also visited one of the limestone caverns in the area, Moaning Cavern which was fine for an 11 and 13 yr old but may be a bit scary for a 4 yr. old and a parent carrying a baby. You have to descend a 100 ft metal spiral staircase (similar to climbing the Statue of Liberty). Mercer Caverns was closed in Spring but they are probably open now and may be easier to maneuver with small children. Jamestown (Railtown) is fun for kids to learn some train history and ride an old time locomotive. Jamestown was also the set for several movies and TV shows. We also went to the Big Trees State Park which has some impressive BIG trees and is a beautiful walk through the forest. And there's Columbia which has been restored to an old time gold mining town. It's an interesting area, and you'll leave knowing more about California history since 4th grade! Miyoko
Been there many times, summer and winter. Recommend Calaveras Big Trees: some nice flat walks in great big trees. Car rides: try the old car bingo cards (with help from a parent to do spotting). If she knows her alphabet, try working together to find all the letters in order off of road signs. I also found drawing worked well, if the road's not winding. James