Where to go for Cheap Bay Area Staycation in Silicon Valley Santa Clara San Jose and Santa Cruz

Instead of an expensive vacation, with expensive hotels, why not try a series of day trips? Then you can spend each night back in your own home. “Staycations” allow you to save money while still having fun, and since the Bay Area and Silicon Valley both cater extensively to tourists, there’s lots of great attractions and activities at good prices. Why should the out-of-state visitors have all the fun?

If you’re looking for family fun, there’s a surprising number of amusement parks offering great entertainment value. Paramount’s Great America is located at the northern tip of Silicon Valley, in Santa Clara, and it offers four great roller-coasters, including one that’s billed as the longest “inverted” roller-coaster in all of Northern California. But there’s even more roller-coasters if you drive north to Vallejo, where the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom offers both rides and animal attractions. (And a few miles east, there’s the massive Waterworld water park in Concord.) There’s also free concerts during the summer if you drive south to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which features a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean along with an enormous wooden roller-coaster that was built in 1924. The boardwalk is said to be one of the old amusement parks in America – founded in 1907 – and because it’s further from the heart of Silicon Valley, it seems to offer a more leisurely atmosphere and a simpler, laid-back pace.

If you’re looking for a technology-themed attraction, you won’t want to miss the Tech Museum in San Jose. There’s exhibits on robotics, silicon chips, and even one about Star Trek.  If you’d like to explore before you visit, there’s a virtual tour of the museum available in Second Life. And for a fun blast from the past, visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. It was constructed from 1884 to 1922 during a never-ending cycle of improvement, at a cost of millions of dollars, by an obsessive owner who believed this would ward off ghosts. Is the enormous mansion haunted, or just a grand old house from the 19th century? Either way, you’re in for a fascinating tour…

And if you’re planning your staycation for the summer, don’t forget to check the schedule for the local county fairs. Silicon Valley is near the juncture of three different counties – San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara – and during the summer each one offers their own fair with their own set of headline performers. It’s a great way to enjoy the summer – and to enjoy the excitement of being out of doors and away from your day-to-day life.

And isn’t that was a staycation is all about?