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Best Bay Area Field Trip Destinations


The Bay Area offers so many engaging, interactive activities for folks of all ages – especially kiddos. With a wide range of historic attractiions and stunning views, San Francisco is one of the best places for a child to grow up and learn to love art, science, and more.

So consider yourself lucky. If you’re helping to plan a field trip in the greater San Francisco area, you probably have no problem finding ideas. On the contrary, it might be hard to narrow down your options!


We’re going to make that task a little easier. Here are a few ideal excursion options for the K-12 crowd, along with some logistical tips and Bay Area charter bus rental recommendations to make sure everyone arrives safely and on time.

San Francisco Bay Area view Golden gate bridge

The Best Bay Area field trip destinations

For a quick snapshot, here’s our list of top field trip destinations:

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • USS Pampanito
  • Exploratorium
  • Cable Car Museum

Each of these are kid-approved, and they’re relatively easy to get to – especially if you opt for renting your own school bus in advance. Each of these attractions offer plenty of sights, sounds, and changing exhibits, so they’re worthy of multiple trips.


Read on to discover why these are the top kid-friendly San Francisco activities.


Bay Area Discovery Museum

First on our list is the Bay Area Discovery Museum.


This museum is the perfect way for kids to spend a day learning, playing, and interacting with their surroundings. The whole building is geared for kids, so you don’t have to worry about anyone getting bored.


Even better, this museum is centrally located. After everyone’s done exploring the exhibits, you’ll have an ideal photo op in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.


Aquarium of the Bay

Maybe your school has already visited the Discovery Museum. If that’s the case, then it’s time to book a trip to the Aquarium of the Bay.


This is one of the best aquariums for large groups of little ones to visit. They’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with the sea life, and maybe even touch a ray or two. The friendly, knowledgeable staff will make sure the kids are learning as they go. And with tank after tank of sea critters, we can guarantee your kids will remember this field trip for years.

USS Pampanito Submarine - San Francisco, California, USA(

USS Pampanito

How many kids (or adults, for that matter) get the chance to explore a real-life submarine?


The USS Pampanito is a unique experience that can easily provide a full day’s worth of learning and discovery. Both a museum and an actual submarine, this historic structure is a true Bay Area treasure. And it goes without saying that this unique museum experience will enthrall people of all ages.


A combination of science, tech, and color – what could be more San Fran?


The Exloratorium makes for a great field trip option. This quintessential Bay Area museum is full of hands-on, interactive exhibits that encourage kids to play, experiment, and explore. Plus, the organization is truly dedicated to learning and education: they host workshops for educators and have plenty of resources for science teachers looking to mix things up in their classroom.

San Francisco Cable Cars on California Street, California, USA

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

So many kids have grown up seeing them zipping around town and have probably boarded them plenty of times. But they don’t know about the rich history and stories behind the iconic cable car.


For a different kind of field trip, plan an excursion out to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. They’ll learn how cable cars actually work, and get to see a wealth of photos that transport the whole class to a different era.

Planning your Bay Area field trip

The key to a successful field trip is all in the planning. After you choose your primary destination, it’s time to think through the logistics.


Make arrangements for food well in advance, so you can accommodate everyone (and provide healthy options even for those with food allergies). The Bay Area is full of affordable food options, so coordinate with others at your school to take a survey of food restrictions, narrow down your choices based on your destination, and get quotes. Many kid-friendly attractions in the Bay Area offer their own food options or can recommend convenient catering services.


A few weeks before the trip, get them excited! If you’re a teacher or school administrator, incorporate facts and stories related to your destination into their lesson plans. If you’re visiting the aquarium, it might be the perfect time to cover ocean conservation. If it’s a history museum you’re going to, research the exhibits and plan classes accordingly.


And of course, you can’t forget to plan transportation for your field trip ahead of time, so parents, staff, and the kids all know what to expect on the big day.


Transportation for Bay Area Field Trips

If you’re worried about getting all those exuberant kids on the road safely and in an organized fashion, rest assured: there are affordable transportation options right in the Bay Area!


Rent a school bus for the day for a hassle-free solution. There are plenty of Bay Area school bus rental options out there. But you can’t compromise safety: do your research and make sure to choose a bus rental company with top ratings and a solid reputation about Bay Area schools.


Get started by requesting a quote for a private bus. The sooner you nail down your transportation, the sooner you can finalize your schedule for the day and notify parents and families.


Regardless of how you get there, you and your kids are lucky to be in one of the most culturally rich cities in the country. So finally, and most importantly: enjoy your Bay Area field trip!

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