You may have noticed, if you haven’t been away on your own family adventures just yet this summer, a lag in my blog posts and articles of late. If you know a thing or two about me, you can probably guess why (new baby, planning travel, traveling with baby + 2 kidlets, hosting 6 out-of-town relatives and showing them San Francisco…). I’m happy to say I have lots of great tips and sights to share from our recent excursions.
I’ll start with a terrific road stop for anyone traveling to Yosemite National Park with young kids by way of Highway 120. From where we live in the Bay Area, it’s about half-way to Yosemite Valley and comes at the perfect time for lunch after leaving home at a leisurely 10 a.m. And lunch is just the first excuse to stop at the Oakdale Cheese Factory, where a grilled Gouda cheese sandwich is made to order for a mere $2.99, and plentiful picnicking supplies, including 30 varieties of cheese, salamis, crackers, and cold drinks can be found in the Cheese & Specialties Store.
Got a squirrely toddler in the backseat? No problem. Lush green lawn sprawls out between picnic tables and shade trees, with plenty of room for little travelers to run and burn off their popsicles (also at the store). What else might you need for your visit? Yep, they’ve got multiple family-size restrooms to boot.
But what will your kids remember most about the Oakdale Cheese Factory? Think goats. And llama. And bunnies. And fish. There are plenty of animals to meet and hand-feed during your visit, with 25 cent feed machines ready where you need them (even for the fish in the pond).
Of course, while you’re there you may want to watch a demonstration of how the cheese is made, or learn more about the Bulk family’s Dutch cheese-making heritage, or just drool a little at the window to Cheese Paradise, and you are welcome to do so. That is, of course, why many people stop at Oakdale Cheese.
But if you’re traveling with small kids, rest assured the Bulk family will be just as happy to see your brood frolicking outdoors on the lawn. As will the goats. And the llama. And the bunnies. And the fish.
Oakdale Cheese Factory
Located at 10040 State Hwy. 120, Oakdale, CA
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
View Oakdale Cheese & Specialties in a larger map
More road trip tips and inspiration to come. And don’t forget to head over to DeliciousBaby.com to check out this week’s Photo Friday.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby