Is it time to paint your house?

exterior shutterstock_567245236 copyPainting the exterior of your house is a big undertaking, and a big investment.

You can find professional estimates on when you should paint your home ranging from every four to every fifteen years — so how can you tell if the time to repaint your home has come?

Fading

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Choosing the right paint is a big factor in how well it will wear. ezhome painting experts can help.

Exterior paint is exposed to the elements, and the elements break down your paint over time. Color is the first thing to go. All colors will bleach out in the sun, but with a darker color, you’ll see it sooner.

The sun can take an especially hard toll. You may find that south facing walls and doors need even more frequent painting than the rest of the house.

 

Chalking

If it appears that the color has faded, but you get a white film on your hand when you touch the paint, that’s chalking. It’s a sign that your paint is chemically breaking down and not offering the full protection to your home, which could lead to bubbling and peeling of the paint before long.

That means it’s a good time to look into a paint job. The chalking needs to be thoroughly washed off your house before the new paint can be applied.

Bubbling and Peeling

When the paint is literally coming off by itself, your need for fresh paint is no longer in doubt. The wood or stucco underneath is then at risk for weather damage and rot, so you’ll want to get that seen to without delay. Even if you avoid damage, waiting until you hit this stage means that the amount of prep work needed — scraping, sanding, and priming — before the new paint job can begin will be extensive and drive up the cost.

exterior shutterstock_494762554 copyBoost Curb Appeal

In addition to protecting your home, a fresh coat of paint in an eye-catching color combination boosts curb appeal and adds value to your home.

Find Curb Appeal inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

 

 

Want your yard ready for spring?

party shutterstock_302612990 copySpring is right around the corner. Whether you want to kick back and read a book outside, host a party, or just enjoy some time with family and friends, here are some tips on how to prepare your yard for the season and make it a place to enjoy:

Lawn restoration

If you have a lawn, now is the best time of the year to restore it and treat any patches or dry areas. Aeration, seeding, and new sod are all possible options, depending on the condition of your lawn. In the early spring, grass is actively growing, the weather is still cool, and the ground is moist. These are ideal conditions to sprout new seeds and make your lawn healthier.

Pathways and patio

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Pressure washing can remove the dirt and stains of winter.

With winter, especially a rainy one, comes buildup of dirt, moss, algae, and leaf stains. Pressure washing can remove dirt as well as minor stains from your pathways and patios, leaving them clean and ready to show off.

Add a bit of color

Spring is all about color, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to options in the garden. Treat yourself to old favorites, or explore something new, like the wide variety of drought tolerant flowers gaining in popularity. You can stick with symmetry and long planting rows, or you can create dense plantings of the same varieties to mimic nature.

Apply mulch to your softscape

In the spring, adding a layer of mulch helps to keep the soil moist around your planting areas. Not only is mulch aesthetically pleasing, but it also provides valuable nutrients to the soil and helps control weeds.

Check your irrigation system

The rain can sometimes conceal weaknesses in your irrigation system. Make sure your lawn and planting beds are well irrigated for the spring and summer seasons. In particular, you should look out for any dry areas, puddles, and leaks in your irrigation system.

Planting beds

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Add color for spring, including with drought-tolerant varieties like lavender.

In the spring, you’ll want to fertilize your planting beds with compost to enrich the soil and promote growth. You should also consider measuring the pH of your soil with a soil test kit. You can then make any necessary adjustments with new soil or amendments based on the needs of your plants.

Fences and gates

Winter can be harsh on fences and other wood surfaces in your yard. Check for loose posts, rotted boards, or other sections that may need repair or replacement.

Got a friend who could use ezhome? When someone you invite to ezhome purchases a service, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Get backyard inspiration with ezhome on Pinterest.

Secrets of a Lush Lawn — Aeration

 

Just like your car, your lawn needs periodic extra maintenance to keep it in shape. Aerating once or twice a year will increase the longevity of a healthy lawn. If your lawn is patchy, aeration can be key to bringing it back.

Since aeration is seasonal, ezhome offers this service only for a few weeks. This is the best time of the year to aerate and rejuvenate your lawn. For best results, we highly recommend an irrigation check along with your order.

What’s aeration?

Simply put, lawn aeration helps to supply water, air, and nutrients to the roots of the grass for a stronger and more vigorous lawn.

Over time, soil gets packed down, and when it does, the roots of your grass can’t get the nutrients they need. Aeration punctures a series of tiny holes in the soil, allowing air, water and nutrients to get down into the roots where it’s needed. Aeration also breaks up thatch, which is the collection of dead and living bits of grass that builds up just above the soil.

Does my lawn need aerating?

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ezhome aeration is available seasonally — from March into early April, and then again in October. Place your order.

All lawns can benefit from aeration once or twice a year. If your yard gets a lot of foot traffic, especially kids and pets who run around on it often, the soil is likely to be compacted.

If you’re noticing that your lawn dries out too quickly, or has a spongy feel, that might be from excess thatch that needs to be broken up.

When should I aerate my lawn?

You want to aerate your lawn while it’s actively growing and before the weather gets too hot, so the grass is most able to recover from the aeration. In California, early spring is the prime time to aerate your lawn, followed by early fall. Because not every month of the year is a good time to aerate, this is a seasonal service from ezhome, available in the spring from March to early April, and then again in October.

What results should I expect?

Aeration can truly transform your lawn. However, a few ingredients are needed for success. To see the best results, it’s vital that you have a functional irrigation system. For the first few weeks, you should water daily — ideally twice a day. If you’re not sure how well your irrigation system is working, you can get it checked around the time of the aeration.

Is aeration the right solution for my lawn?

Aeration can help any lawn by allowing the supply of valuable nutrients — but not always on its own. Lawns that will see the greatest transformation are those with patchy, dry or yellow spots. In some cases, aeration will help but will not solve your problem. If your lawn is dried out, the root cause most likely is the irrigation system. Similarly, if your lawn has multiple areas that are bare, you will need to either reseed your lawn or install new sod.

If you have friends or neighbors interested in aeration, invite them to join ezhome. When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits.

Get inspired with ezhome on Pinterest.

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Not Just a Pretty Lawn

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Looks matter. We want the pretty yard, the beautiful house.

But a growing number of people want that and more. They want to spend on good products and services — and also do good in the world.

ezhome is forging a new model in yard and home care that champions people, from customers to gardeners. Your support makes it all possible.

 

Growing Possibility

irrigation-img_9364When you hire ezhome, you rest assured that the people taking care of your home are treated fairly.

ezhome offers stable, fair wage, “green collar” careers in gardening and home services, with employee benefits unheard of in the industry, including health insurance, paid time off, and advancement opportunities.

Together we can change lives, one home at a time.

Cultivating Happiness

Your happiness and feedback is so important that it drives gardener promotions. You can rate any visit through your easy-to-use post-service report, or through your my.ezhome.com account. And soon, you’ll be able to reach us via live chat as well!

Now in Orange County!house-shutterstock_557781199

Tell your friends and family — we’re now in Orange County, California with an amazing team of gardeners and technicians!

Refer a Friend, Spread the Love

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When someone you invited purchases a service from ezhome, you’ll each get $50 in credits. Also, with each referral, ezhome donates funds to our Community Outreach Program, which provides services to local non-profits and individuals in need.

Invite a friend to ezhome.

The Elegance of Hardwood, For Every Style and Budget

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Whether you have older, distressed floors in need of refinishing to bring out their full charm, or carpets you’ve wanted to upgrade for years, a refresh is within easy reach with ezhome flooring services.

No trend has ever surpassed the timeless appeal of gleaming wood floors. Mauricio Melendez, ezhome flooring expert, takes us through the essential options.

Solid Hardwood

“Solid hardwood floors are the ultimate home investment piece,” says Mauricio. “They have a proven track record of adding to your home’s value,” he notes “and properly taken care of, they can last hundreds of years.”

They’re beautiful, durable, and each variety of wood — whether oak, maple, hickory or any number of exotic choices — gives its own distinct look to a room. Solid hardwood can be tailored to your wants and needs through your choice of wood, stains in a wide variety of tones, and finishes from matte to high gloss.

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Wood floors of all kinds add warmth and elegance to every room.

Refinishing Even with worn looking floors, you’re standing on a good foundation. Sanding and restaining can have old floors that bear the scars and scratches of use looking good as new. “That’s the beauty of solid hardwood,” says Mauricio. “It lives on.”

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is real wood, but it’s manufactured with multiple layers. The way it’s constructed, layering different woods in perpendicular to each other, makes it very stable and less likely to shrink and expand with differences of humidity and temperature. That makes them well suited to any room in the house. The middle road balancing cost and durability, engineered wood can be a great solution for those who want solid hardwood, but feel that it’s a bit out of their price range.

Unlike the many decisions required with solid hardwood floors, and the time it takes to install and finish them properly, “with engineered hardwood and laminate, what you see if what you get,” Mauricio points out. And what you can get is incredibly varied.

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Hardwood floors — an investment for generations, and maximum home value.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate may not be the home value enhancing investment of hardwood, but it can get you the style you want at a fraction of the cost. A synthetic material made to look like wood or stone, laminate is incredibly durable and water-resistant. It’s a great choice for high-traffic areas, like kitchens, bathrooms and play rooms, bringing style and spill resistance at a great price!

Laminate can also be a way to get everything you want style-wise without breaking your budget. Want the look of an exotic wood that’s way out of range as solid hardwood? You can have it with laminate.

 

About ezhome Flooring Services Solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, or laminate, ezhome has a flooring option to suit your style and budget. As with all our 50+ home services, we work hand in hand with our customers from the moment we provide a quote, to when we finish the job — communicating effectively along the way to provide a high-quality floor at a price that’s less than what you might think. Request a free quote and learn more.

Get inspired and find your perfect floor with ezhome on Pinterest

Beyond Cactus — the wonderfully varied world of drought-tolerant landscaping

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Species commonly known as Kangaroo Paw can bring the color and whimsy of a Dr. Seuss book to your own backyard.

Drought tolerant plantings and low maintenance yards are a trend that shows no signs of quitting — and for good reason. It pays to be water conscious in your landscaping, both when looking at your environmental footprint and looking at your water bills.

Moving your yard to a low-water use design can seem daunting, but remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Finding ways and parts of your yard to bring in more drought-tolerant plantings will still have an impact. And if you want help coming up with a plan, ezhome’s landscape design services can help.

The range of species and looks is greater than many people realize. Here are some points to consider.

Embrace Stark Beauty

Cacti and other succulents are what comes to mind for most people when they think about low-water plants. A bold agave plant claims space with authority! The variety of shapes, colors and sizes make this category a favorite.

Soften the Edges

Not all low water plants are compact or prickly. Ornamental grasses (like Festuca glauca, Muhlenbergia rigens and Miscanthus sinensis) add textural variety. Red fescue (Festuca rubra) creates a “lawn” that looks like windswept waves of grass.

 

Get All the Color You Want

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Trailing African daisies are drought-hardy but look delicate.

Kangaroo paw describes a number of species from Western Australia that produce flowers that look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. To incorporate colorful groundcover with evergreen qualities, try trailing African daisies (Osteospermum fruticosum) or California lilac (Ceanothus ‘Centennial’) with tight clusters of purple-blue flowers. And don’t forget fragrant and flowering species that you can bring into the kitchen or bath, like lavender and rosemary.

 

Go Global

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Lavender varieties bring the Mediterranean into your garden, kitchen and bath.

The American West isn’t the only place on Earth that needs to be water conscious. California native species are great, but you can also look to the Mediterranean and Australia for inspiration, opening more looks to choose from.

“While invasive plants are a concern to take seriously,” says ezhome landscape designer Samantha Bella, “just because it isn’t native doesn’t mean it’s causing damage. A professional landscape designer will be well-informed on what’s a good choice and what isn’t.”

 

Don’t Forget Trees

Most trees, once established, don’t require much watering. Big winners are Marina Strawberry trees (Arbutus marina) and crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia) with its beautiful clusters of blossoms in multiple colors.  Or choose fruit bearing trees like citrus and olive to create a Mediterranean idyll in your own backyard.

 

Stone is a Garden Tool

To build in areas for activities and entertaining, consider a bocce ball court or a decomposed granite patio. And for a soft path, mix stone with plantings like creeping thyme.

Call on ezhome’s landscape design services  to create a custom plan that suits your yard and tastes.

Get inspired and dream up your best garden with ezhome on Pinterest.

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YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Tile — Your Interior Design Secret Weapon

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With ezhome’s new tile installation service, getting what you want has never been easier.

There’s no home design material more versatile than tile. It’s the perfect fusion of form and function, able to adapt from floors to walls and from inside to out.

No matter what your style, there’s a tile that fits it. Modern or traditional, masculine or feminine, subtle or bold. They can be a supporting element, or striking enough to be the main event.

If it’s been a while since you’ve checked tile options, prepare to be impressed. The selection of materials, colors and shapes has never been greater. You’ll want to take tile well beyond your bathroom.

A few tile trends to love:tile-shower-shutterstock_465064154

  • Simple and modern subway tiles for a clean, unified look
  • Innovative shapes and sizes that design with their lines as much as their colors
  • Retro colors and combinations to highlight the period charm of your home, from mid-century kitchens to an Old Hollywood powder room
  • Global inspiration from Mexico to Morocco

 

Floors

tile-livingroom-shutterstock_181705637Tile is a great flooring choice for bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, sunrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, patios — any high traffic area of your home. Get water resistance, longevity, and make clean-up a breeze.

Find colors and patterns that can brighten even the smallest spaces with a single design gesture.

And tile floors are great for temperature control. They stay cool when it’s hot, and are one of the best choices to install over a radiant heat system.

Walls & Backsplash

No surface is easier to clean than tile, from kitchen splatters to sticky fingers and muddy dogs. Whatever mess you throw their way can be solved with a swipe of a sponge.

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Update your bathroom with tiled showers, walls and floors. Nothing combines form and function better than tile.

Any spot craving charactertile-fireplace-shutterstock_536678077

Take an unused space, like the rise of your stairs or a tiny hallway, and make it special. Or use tile to define a space, like around a fireplace, or to create separation between living areas in an open floor plan.

When you’re ready to install, call ezhome. With ezhome’s new tile installation service, getting the look and functionality you want has never been easier.

Request a free quote.

Get inspired and find your perfect tile with ezhome on Pinterest

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YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Top 3 Reasons to Repaint Your Rooms Right Now

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With ezhome’s interior painting service, getting a whole new look is easier than ever.

Sometimes, you just need a change, and nothing transforms a room like a fresh coat of paint. The path to your new look has never been easier with ezhome’s interior painting service. You decide what you want, and our pro team does all the work.

There are so many reasons to love designing with paint, but these are some of our top picks.

#1 It’s a Big Bang for the Buck

There’s no greater impact on a modest budget than the transformation paint offers. A fast few coats of paint later, and you’re waking up to a whole new room. What was dingy is bright. What was dreary is fresh. What was jarring is soft.

You don’t need lots of color to make an impact. If you like the clean minimalism of white, a fresh coat of paint will make your rooms look new. And “white” isn’t really just white. Choosing whites with warm or cool tones can create totally different atmospheres and play differently with light.

#2 You Can Have Whatever You Want

paint-shutterstock_331119938-cropSeriously. Whatever. You. Want. And how often is that true? Your imagination is the only limit.

Want a sunny kitchen? Butter yellow walls will perk up the room. Bored with your living room? Try out one of the deep blues that are popular now, and it’s got a whole new vibe.  Want to paint your bedroom a brilliant green, so it feels like you’re waking up in the jungle canopy? Do it.

Sometimes a relatively small and targeted application of color is the right amount. If you have your heart set on a really bold candy apple red or tangerine, but think a whole room is too much, try an accent wall. Or refresh the walls with a nice white, and use something bold on doors and trim for a flash of color that doesn’t overwhelm.

Fresh color can go anywhere. Try ceilings and floors…the rise of your staircase…the brickwork around your fireplace. Nothing is off limits. Remember, you can have whatever you want.

And there’s no need to contain your new palette to the inside of the house. An eye-catching front door is a great way to play — and boost curb appeal.

#3 It Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

When you start a remodel that has you knocking down walls, you’re going to be living with that for a while.

With paint, you’re committed only as long as it’s working for you.

If you go bold, and then get tired of it in a year or two, paint over it.  It’s not that hard to change (and even easier if you have ezhome do the work). You could pick an accent wall and change it twice a year. (We’ve seen it done!)

Get inspired and find your perfect color with ezhome on Pinterest 

 

About ezhome Painting Services Walls, floors, ceilings and more — ezhome can make your design dreams happen with our interior (and exterior) painting service. We work hand in hand with our customers from the moment we provide a quote, to when we finish the paint job — communicating effectively along the way and tailoring every detail to your specific needs to provide a high-quality paint job at a price that’s less than what you might think. Request a free quote and learn more. 

Want help with painting your rooms? ezhome can get the job done, from accent walls to full rooms, floors and ceilings. We can paint your home’s exterior too. Visit ezhome.com/services 

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

Q&A on Winter Yard Care with ezhome Landscape Designer Samantha Bella

shutterstock_93597238January and February might not seem like the most obvious months for garden projects, but it’s the very best time of year to see to the health of your trees and plants. Good winter maintenance can put your yard on the path for a beautiful spring. Every step of the way, ezhome is here to help.

We sat down for a chat with ezhome landscape designer Samantha Bella to get her tips for winter yard care.

Q: If homeowners take on one project for their yard this month, what would you suggest?

Samantha: Winter is a great time to take care of your trees with proper pruning. That’s my #1 priority. During winter, trees are in their dormant period (yes, even here in California), and because they’re not engaged in active growth, they are more receptive to pruning. Our wet winter weather also helps to reduce stress on the trees, avoiding shock. By pruning your trees in winter, you’re not fighting against their natural cycle, but working with them. And on a practical note, fewer leaves allows you to see a tree’s structure better and make the proper cuts.

Q: Pruning 101. What is pruning?shutterstock_533693173

Samantha: Seasonal pruning is an important process for the health, longevity, and aesthetics of your garden.  Using proper equipment, pruning removes dead, damaged and diseased branches to allow for healthy new growth.  It is especially beneficial during the winter months when the trees and shrubs are putting their energy and nutrients towards their root systems in preparation for spring blooms and foliage.

Q: What kind of trees are candidates for pruning?

Samantha: Really, all of them, but for different reasons. First, there are ornamental trees, flowering trees and fruiting trees. In their case, pruning is essential for best growth and productivity. Fruit trees in particular need to be pruned yearly to maintain the quality of the fruit.

Here we have some citrus trees that are “ever-bearing,” meaning they produce fruit throughout the year. Even though they don’t ever go dormant, it’s still possible to prune them in winter, and you still need to manage their growth.

Q: Do big shade trees get pruned too?

Samantha: Absolutely. Big trees can become dangerous if they aren’t pruned. Branches that are too close to your house, or your neighbor’s house, can block light and cause excess debris on the roof and in the gutters. And with big trees, it can be easier to identify potential hazards in winter when their limbs are bare.

Pruning is also important for the health of the tree. We might love a dense, lush tree, but allowing some openness is essential. If the center of the tree is too dense with vegetation, and debris is allowed to collect, that can lead to rot. Overly dense vegetation can also block the wind from safely passing through the branches, and that puts the tree at risk for being blown over by strong winds.

Q: What if I just want to let everything go natural?

Samantha: If you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods, you’ve seen how out of hand that could get! Your neighbors might not be pleased. Even more importantly, there are real safety concerns in a populated area. Branches can become hazardous, causing serious property damage or injury. And as we just talked about, it’s not good for the health of the tree.

Q: Is tree pruning something I can DIY, or do I need to hire a professional?

Samantha: You can do it yourself — but not without some serious study of plant biology. Of all the tasks in your yard, pruning trees isn’t for beginners. Even for small trees, making smart decisions about where to prune for best growth and productivity is essential to the health and longevity of the tree. Tools need to be kept clean to prevent spreading disease between trees. And for big trees, pruning can be a dangerous job. Anyone climbing up into a big tree needs to have proper safety equipment — and know how to use it. And then you’ll need a plan for how to manage all the debris. It piles up fast!

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ezhome’s gardening experts prune trees of all sizes. Learn more.

Q: Do I have to deal with every tree in my yard at the same time?

Samantha: No. With a lot of trees, pruning can be a big job, so not every tree in your yard needs to be pruned at once. A landscaping professional can help you make a plan for your property, identifying which trees need the most frequent pruning, and which can be put on a more occasional schedule.  

Samantha’s #2 tip for winter gardening — Winter is for dreaming! This is the time to plan your best yard, and the time to get your big plantings done before the spring rush. Stay tuned for more on that…

About Samantha Bella, ezhome Landscape Designer — Raised in Kansas on five acres surrounded by wheat fields, Samantha grew up with a love of gardening and a fascination with the life of plants. She earned a B.S. in Landscape Design and Horticulture from Kansas State University, and then a Certificate in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley. Samantha is a Bay Friendly Qualified Landscaper and holds a CA state contractors license. She is currently smitten with the brilliantly colored variety of plants native to Australia and New Zealand that are low water use and thrive in the Bay Area. Just ask her about Kangaroo Paw.

Want help with pruning your trees? ezhome can get the job done for trees of all sizes, as well as assess potential hazards. Visit ezhome.com/services 

YOUR HOME, MADE EASY.

5 Must-See’s in San Jose!

There’s no denying that the Bay Area is home to some pretty great stuff, and San Jose is no exception! Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite must-see’s in California’s third-largest city.

1. Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Parents trying to find a fun, educational activity for their kids can’t go wrong with the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. This unique museum uses play to engage your child’s senses and take advantage of their natural curiosity, while also introducing them to science and engineering.

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Children’s Discovery Museum

2. Japantown

San Jose is home to one of the United States’ three Japantowns that are left in the country, providing opportunities for unique cultural experiences throughout the year. There’s plenty to do in San Jose’s Japantown, which is home to a year-round farmer’s market, the Japanese American Museum, several authentic restaurants, and the summer Obon Festival celebration–a popular two-day event featuring music, dancing, and more.

3. Winchester Mystery House

Looking for a genuinely spooky experience? The Winchester Mystery House might be right up your alley! Built based on the bizarre instructions of Sarah Winchester, this Victorian maze of a building features a seance room, secret passages, and unusual staircases. Touring this real-life haunted house is a perfect Halloween activity.

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Winchester Mystery House

4. Almaden Quicksilver County Park

For a taste of the outdoors without leaving San Jose, you can’t go wrong with the Almaden Quicksilver County Park! This picturesque location is home to an extensive network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. With beautiful wildflower displays, a look at San Jose’s mining history, and even the chance to see bobcats and other wildlife, this park is perfect for family picnics and other outdoor fun.

5. Raging Waters

You can’t talk about fun things to do in San Jose without mentioning Northern California’s largest waterpark! Whether you prefer to relax on the lazy river or test your bravery on intense waterslides like Bombs Away or Blue Thunder/White Lightning, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy at Raging Waters.

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Raging Waters

As you can see, there are plenty of great activities for the whole family in San Jose! Which one is your favorite?