Hi, I’m Kris!
I’m a mom of two boys who loves road trips and discovering the best of California with my family.
I grew up in the Bay Area, went to college in San Luis Obispo, and got bit by the travel bug shortly after.
When I finally returned to California fifteen years later, I had a young family with me. Seeing the state through their eyes shifted my perspective. I now see endless opportunities for fun and adventure and the stunning natural beauty I once took for granted. And we need to get our kids outside to keep them from destroying our tiny house!
In the past five years, our family has been on all sorts of road trips around California, from the coast to the mountains to the desert. I’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to share these experiences with you.
On this website, you’ll find family-friendly destination guides and travel tips on everything from the best road trip snacks to road trip travel insurance. You’ll also find my favorite California road trip routes and itineraries.
This site is where we share our favorite finds and our lessons learned. We tell you about the places that inspire us, the experiences that have challenged us, and how we’ve learned to make active family travel fun for everyone.
Make Amazing Family Memories
I truly believe that travel is one of the best ways for families to connect. At JJ & The Bug, we think of every trip as an opportunity to learn, broaden our horizons, and create wonderful lasting memories.
Many parents wait for a golden age when they believe their kids will get the most out of travel. But in my opinion, family travel has important benefits for the whole family regardless of age. Whether you’re dancing around and being silly together or pushing boundaries on an outdoor challenge, teaching your kids to get out there and try new things will stick with them as they grow.
Since we moved back to California, our little family has hiked a volcano, attempted kayaking river rapids, and sandboarded the dunes in Death Valley. We’ve tasted avocado ice cream, tried salmon jerky, and sampled famous tacos in Santa Barbara.
Will my boys remember or appreciate every moment? Nope. But each moment we share on the road becomes a part of them. And John and I have some happy memories and awesome family photos.
California is an Awesome Road Trip Destination
John and I are both from California. He’s from LA and I grew up in the Bay Area. We both like to explore new places and lived in several states and countries before meeting in Washington DC.
While we sometimes leave the state for family adventures, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have so many incredible places outside our front door. From easy access to one of the dreamiest scenic drives I’ve ever experienced to the wonderlands of Yosemite, it’s hard to get bored around here.
On this site, you’ll find destination guides and trip itineraries to help you:
- Play on a purple sand beach in Big Sur
- Stay near Disneyland on a budget
- Choose the best volcanoes to climb in Lassen National Park
- Find the best tours and charters to get onto the water in Lake Tahoe
- Discover our favorite hidden gem lake right outside the gates of Yosemite
- Learn how to photograph really tall trees.
- Experience a bioluminescent kayaking tour in Point Reyes
- Hop on a dog-friendly outrigger canoe in Mendocino
And so much more.
Why I Blog
- To help people realize that they don’t have to wait for the perfect time or have a ton of money to enjoy an amazing California getaway.
- To simplify trip planning for families visiting California by sharing tried and true destinations and itineraries.
- To encourage families to see that it’s possible to get outdoors and explore together, even if you don’t fit the stereotypical mold of an outdoorsy family.
- To share tips and tricks for making family road trips fun for all ages.
- Because I love dreaming up trips, this blog helps me pause before planning for the next adventure!
Meet the Family
John and I couldn’t be more different, especially when it comes to travel. He loves to relax on the beach, I get antsy if I’m not moving or on to the next place. He prefers being spontaneous, I love planning. He prefers to drive straight through to one destination, – gasp! – I can spend most of a trip making road trip stops.
The good news is, if we both enjoy a destination chances are that it has wide appeal to all kinds of travelers.
John is also a filmmaker, so when you see a video or a really good photo, chances are that it’s his!
JJ is now eight years old! He’s an active kid who loves sports but still enjoys unstructured wanders through nature. He loves making road trip stops like his mom and now helps me plan our adventures.
Our Bug is 6 and is always observing and questioning. He loves the Wild Kratts, and animal adventures are high on his list. Just a baby when we moved back west, he’s our California kid.
El Brody is our sweet wonderpup. He loves, loves, loves going anywhere with us. Sadly, California parks are pretty strict when it comes to pet-friendly areas. We are always looking for ways to bring him along and plan to do more Brody trips this year.
Top Tips for Planning the Perfect California Road Trip
- Road Trip Travel Insurance: What You Need and How to Get It
- Family Road Trip Essentials
- Don’t let them get hangry! Easy Road Trip Snacks for Kids
Join the JJ & The Bug Community!
We hope you’ll join along for the ride and find new favorite adventures along the way.
Thanks for reading!
I’m not great at Instagram, but follow us and you’ll see updates on our latest outings whenever we hit the road again.