Weed, CA – What feels to many travelers like the final outpost on the California drive toward Oregon, where Interstate 5 and Highway 97 go separate ways before crossing the state line, Weed may seem an unlikely stop for anything other than gas and a possible sandwich. And let’s face it, the city’s name doesn’t do much to much to push the tourist trade either. But if you’ve got kids in the car, you may want to plan a pit stop in this small town, especially in fair weather.
You won’t see the city’s 7-acre Bel Air Park while driving the main strip through town, but local families know it well as you’ll find by the army of playmates clambering on the climbing structures, slides, swings, and loveable dinosaur-built-for-two. A handful of picnic tables rest nearby in the shade of some large trees, and you can also pitch your picnic blanket in a shady spot of lawn beside the playground.
Across an expanse of thick lawn, you’ll see restrooms and also one end of the outdoor Weed Community Swimming Pool — another great place to let your kids burn off some energy while in Weed, if you have time. Babies and toddlers will enjoy the “baby swings” further east from the main play structure and big kid swings (but still within eyeshot). Explore the park and you’ll also find a Bocce court and horseshoe pits. But there’s plenty of room to just chase a ball–or each other while you work up an appetite.
Good to know:
Weed can be freezing in winter and quite hot in summer months (check current weather here), but you will find shade in the park. On the hottest days, it makes a terrific venue for a dinnertime picnic and chance to air-out your car while parked in the shade. If you don’t have picnic supplies with you, hit the main grocery store or a gas station mini mart on upper Weed Blvd. where you can pick up ready-made sandwiches, chips, and drinks. Weed also has a number of restaurants if you prefer or in case you pass through in foul weather.
As of yet, online mapping won’t help you much. So just follow South Weed Boulevard south and cross east under the freeway. Turn right at Scotts Valley Bank and proceed on College Avenue. Soon you’ll see the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company on your left (wet your whistle in their tasting room), and then the playground of Bel Air Park just beyond it with nose-in free parking at the curb.
This photo was taken 2 years ago when we first discovered Bel Air Park, thanks to the recommendation of a gas station attendant and resident father of three. It’s been an important road stop for the Rivolis on all road trips north ever since.
Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby:
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children
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