Big Family Travel

Momma's Gone City

It’s Friday, around 7:25am. Jack and Zoe are upstairs getting dressed and ready for school while I frantically make sandwiches and pack lunches for the two of them, plus one for Beau that will be ready in our refrigerator for when he gets home from preschool. Justin is getting the younger two ready for the day and I still have to get myself somewhat prepared to leave the house for our drop-off routine and the rest of my morning with Evangeline. Instead of piling on outerwear, helmets for scooters and loading up our stroller for the long haul to elementary school, we have a large and trusty vehicle in the driveway waiting to shuttle us around. It’s taken longer than I expected to adjust to a life raising children in the suburbs, but after a year and a half I feel like we’ve finally found our groove.

One of our biggest challenges when we moved back to the Bay Area from Manhattan was finding a car that would not only fit our family, but suit our lifestyle as well. We needed something that would be large enough to hold four carseats plus cargo space and room for Theo. An obvious choice was a minivan, but with our active lifestyle and frequent trips to Lake Tahoe, we needed something that would have four wheel drive and room for our bikes, strollers, groceries and luggage, yet practical enough for daily carpool with playdates and other family errands. Our choices were narrowed down quickly, and after driving in the Yukon XL for a week, we’re all convinced that this is the perfect vehicle for our family.

Our weekends tend to be just as full as the school and work week. We are so fortunate to live in an area where there are plenty of outdoor activities in and around our neighborhood, so we try to take advantage of that as much as possible. Theo’s favorite thing to do ever is to go to the “dog beach” in Santa Cruz, so we make sure to do that with him more than a few times a week. Often we’ll pack a morning treat (donuts if they’re super duper lucky), load up the car with sand toys, a blanket and plenty of balls for chasing and we’ll spend a couple of hours together there. It’s both serene and active enough for all of us to be content and exhausted by the time we leave.


On Sundays there’s a local farmer’s market that happens to be held right next to a pump-track made especially for kids. It’s free and often empty, and the hills are small enough for Beau and yet fun enough for Jack and Zoe to take their bikes through the dirt. I can shop for locally sourced produce and the kids can ride while Justin watches them. As long as the weather is nice (which fortunately it is most of the time), this is something we tend to do often on our weekends.


Getting to these various activities simply requires space and accessibility, and one thing I’m willing to invest in is a vehicle to help facilitate our lifestyle, while making that process comfortable and easy. The interior of the Yukon XL is spacious enough to not only fit us all comfortably, but makes getting in and out a breeze as well, from loading Evageline’s car seat into it’s base to allowing the big kids ample room to maneuver through to the back row. There are two DVD screens, one for each row, allowing our road trips to see family in Southern California as well as summer and winter vacations in Lake Tahoe turning an otherwise tedious task into an enjoyable experience for the kids. I personally appreciate the OnStar capability and IntelliLink infotainment system for easy navigation and hands-free connectivity to my cell phone, contacts, and music.


Although it was an adjustment going from having zero vehicles and depending on public transportation while living in New York City to depending pretty much soley on a car to get us around in California, we’ve found considerable comfort, accessibility and ease within the Yukon XL. Finding a car that suits our needs from the morning routine, to weekend adventures and vacations with a large family plus a dog was a challenge we knew would be daunting, but I couldn’t be happier with our experience with the Yukon XL. The flexibility it offers to allow our family to experience the lifestyle we so crave and appreciate is something I cannot take for granted.

We are currently waiting for our very own Yukon XL to be purchased and ready for our family (we chose the model with a middle bench rather than two bucket seats for more seating options).

Thank you to GMC Yukon for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading.

Join the Conversation


  • Wow! Beau’s baseball stance is already pretty impressive!

  • Glad to hear you like the Yukon. Hubs and I are looking at one, but don’t need the third row seat. But since hubs is 6’5″, we do need the space in the front.

  • If you get to Its beach between 8:30 and 10 am on Saturdays there are doughnuts and Peets coffee available by donation! We go almost every week! Puppy and kid heaven.
    Also the Westside Market is on Saturday, by the pump track, Live Oak is Sunday! We have similar routines, but maybe that’s how it is with a big dog and a kid in Santa Cruz. Such fun!

  • What type of leash does Theo have? It looks like it could be an alternative to the harness we are using with our pup who likes to pull!

    • We have a collar on him that tightens when he pulls, per a trainer that we’re working closely with. It’s nylon, not metal, and the leash is just a basic nylon leash as well!

  • We rented a Yukon XL on vacation and really enjoyed it. When it came time to purchase a vehicle though, we opted for a Toyota Sequoia. The seats had a little more support for my husband’s bad back. Can’t go wrong with either.

  • We just got a 2015 Yukon XL – love it! Ours has the bucket seats in the middle. It holds us all and is SO comfortable to ride in and to drive.

  • I am so jealous that you have cars like this available to you!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in Australia and my husband owns the biggest 4WD on the market a Toyota Landcruiser and I have the model down from this (kluger) and they are both 7 seaters but you have NO boot with the third row up at all. We have baby #4 on the way in a few months and I will be saying see you later to putting anything bigger than 30cm’s into my boot! Yukon please think about bringing these cars out to Australia!!!!!!!

  • My dream vehicle!!!!! I hope to one day trade in the minivan for one!!!!!

  • I grew up with one of these! I loved this car, I cried the day we finally had to trade it in (15 years later ! ) It held my family, dogs, bikes, neighborhood kids! I drove it to my prom with all my friends piled in the back and my mom used to take bunches of us to the movies or park in it. I am waiting for the day I have my family so I can get one; great pick!!

  • Any advice on raising a good beach dog? I just moved to the beach with my 4 mth dachshund/beagle mix. He’s really good at fetch, listens pretty good, and loves the beach. So I try to engage him as much as possible, but smells distract him to the point of not listening. At that time the leash goes back on and we leave shortly after. I would like to stay out longer without a leash, any advice???

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