Best stops on I-5 with kids

I’ve written before about some of the reasons I might suggest you choose the longer route—Highway 101—to travel between Northern and Southern California: even with the extra hours factored in, there are so many more good stops! But if your kids are okay with the longer stretches and you’re interested in the most direct route, you’ll likely find yourself on I-5.

The interstate has been sorely lacking in good kids-stops for years. Our usual stop, Harris Ranch, at least has some expansive grounds and long hallways for running around, but I always feel the clock ticking as we’re eager to keep on the road and get the drive over with. But on our last drive up the interstate, after Disneyland, we pulled out in Kettleman City—about 30 minutes short of Harris Ranch and discovered Bravo Farms.


There’s a cheese and beer shop, an ice cream parlor, a toy store with road-trip diversions, and a good tex-mex / barbecue restaurant—but the best part is the playground. They built an entire little western town of kid-sized buildings (most with hidden slides) around a bunch of picnic tables. We sat and ate our lunch while the kids ran from the jail to church, dug in the sandbox, and even got out some energy on a punching bag. It’s a game-changer!

Has anyone else been? Have you discovered any other hidden gems along I-5? 

P.S. Our day at Disneyland and my favorite stops along Hwy 101. (By the way, I just went back and read the comments on that post and the last person to comment actually mentioned Bravo Farms—but I’d forgotten! So glad we happened on it anyway!)

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