San Francisco is easy to fall in love with. It’s home to some of the best food, the most beautiful scenery, and natural wonders, and most importantly, access to it all is just a short drive away.
San Francisco is a city that has a lot to offer, and with so many different sites and activities, it can be hard for visitors to choose which ones they want to explore. But if you’re looking for an amazing day trip from San Francisco, there are plenty of options! Whether you want something active or relaxing; historical or adventurous; outdoorsy or indoorsy – we’ve got you covered. It all depends on what kind of vacationer (or local) you are.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite day trips from San Francisco for you and your friends to enjoy!
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- Yosemite National Park
- Alcatraz Island
- Point Reyes National Seashore
- Sonoma Coast
- Lake Tahoe
- Angel Island State Park
- Lake Berryessa
- Muir Woods National Monument
- Mount Diablo State Park
- Sonoma Valley
- Lake Tahoe
- Mount Tamalpais
- Lassen National Park
- Napa Valley
- Vacaville Farmers Market
- Half Moon Bay
- Santa Cruz and the Beach Boardwalk
- University Town of Berkeley
- Stinson Beach
- Big Sur
- Point Lobos
- Los Gatos
- San Jose
There are many reasons to take a Sausalito day trip from San Francisco.
This coastal town is home to several famous art galleries, and its historic waterfront is a popular spot for sailing. In addition to the waterfront, Sausalito is home to many wineries, including a thriving one on the bay. The city’s famous houseboats are a popular sight, and you can learn about their history by taking a tour.
To get to Sausalito from San Francisco, you can take a ferry across the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also rent a bike, or go on a Segway tour. You can even take in the view from Muir Woods National Monument, the oldest forest in the country. There, you can marvel at redwood trees and take a picnic with your friends. After all, a day of hiking and relaxing in Sausalito will leave you refreshed.
The picturesque town of Sausalito is just four miles away from San Francisco. It is known for its beautiful bay views and is also a favorite destination for bohemian artists after WWII. Visitors will find numerous restaurants and boutiques, as well as art galleries, and plenty of activities to keep them busy. While you’re in Sausalito, you may even find time for a fishing trip.
Many people from San Francisco and beyond make the trip to Sausalito every year. They love spending the day in Sausalito and often take visiting relatives and friends there. Famous for its breathtaking panoramas of the San Francisco Bay and skyline, Sausalito is a popular tourist destination.
Yosemite National Park
If you are looking for a day trip from San Francisco, consider visiting Yosemite National Park. Located in the Sierra Nevada, the park features breathtaking scenery and ancient sequoia trees.
There are several different types of tours available. To make the most of your trip, reserve a spot early in the morning. You’ll have a chance to see some of the most iconic sights in the park.
The famous El Capitan towers three times higher than the valley floor and dominates part of Yosemite Valley. Its majesty often moves visitors to tears. Yosemite’s AAA four-diamond hotel is a picturesque place to stay and complements the natural beauty of the valley. If you’re unsure where to begin your trip, a guide will walk you through the park’s highlights and explain the park’s history and features.
While visiting Yosemite National Park, don’t forget to visit the Valley Visitor Center to learn more about the park’s history and natural beauty. You can also explore the beautiful Yosemite Valley on foot, or visit the famous Ansel Adams Gallery to learn more about the legendary artist’s work. If you plan to spend the day hiking, it is best to go on a weekend so you can enjoy everything the park has to offer.
To make the most of your day trip, pick a tour company that offers a shuttle from your hotel. Most companies offer a complimentary pick-up, and most depart at 7 am. Once inside, you’ll enjoy a one-hour tour of the park before you have 2-4 hours to explore the area at your own pace. Keep in mind that delays are normal – traffic and weather conditions can cause problems. However, all guests seem to agree that the scenic beauty of Yosemite makes up for any transportation problems.
May and September are the best times to go to Yosemite because the park is open but not too busy. It is important to know that snow closes many roads and trails in Yosemite for most of the year.
If you’re planning a day trip from San Francisco, consider making one to Alcatraz Island. This historic prison is well worth a visit, whether you’re visiting by day or at night. You can purchase a ticket for a self-guided tour that features the voices of former inmates and great sound effects.
The tour offers information about the jail’s history, including the attempts by the Anglin brothers, Frank Lee Morris, and others to elude its confines.
To get to Alcatraz Island, first, take a ferry from Pier 33. You’ll spend about 25 minutes on the water. You can also take a guided tour of San Francisco and including a stop on Alcatraz Island. The island is best visited in September and October. The weather is mild during this time, but the island can get foggy and windy in certain areas. Make sure to plan your day accordingly.
Another option for day trips from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island is to combine your tour with a trip to other popular Bay Area attractions. Taking a combined tour is an excellent option if you’d like to see Alcatraz, as well as Muir Woods and Sausalito.
You’ll get to experience a different side of San Francisco and learn the fascinating stories of its inmates.
The famous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary is located on Alcatraz Island, just offshore from San Francisco. The island was home to Civil War prisoners during the war, and you’ll be able to experience a glimpse inside its former cells. You’ll also see the historic lighthouse from the island, as well as a spectacular view of the city skyline. Whether you’re looking for an educational or historic tour, you’re sure to enjoy your visit to Alcatraz.
Point Reyes National Seashore
A day trip from San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seaside will take about an hour and a half. The drive is relatively uncrowded, as the area is only a couple of hours from the city.
There are many educational programs at the park, as well. Visitors can join ranger-guided tours to learn about the natural beauty of the area. These programs are offered throughout the year, and often take place during school breaks in the summer and winter.
One of the most popular day trips from San Francisco is to the Point Reyes Peninsula. The peninsula is located just north of the city and is filled with scenic views. There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy over the weekend, and you can plan a day trip from San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seashore in two or three hours. This trip will give you the chance to explore the natural beauty of the peninsula, as well as see wildlife. You can expect to see elephant seals, tule elk, and the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale.
The road hugs Tomales Bay for the first 7-8 miles. It passes through Inverness Park, named for the Scottish town of Inverness. Just beyond Inverness, the road climbs uphill to Chicken Ranch Beach, a popular swimming, sunning, and picnic spot. You can continue through the park on this scenic route with numerous bends. Point Reyes National Seashore is located on all of this land, so you are guaranteed to see a spectacular coastal vista.
There are plenty of hiking trails and beautiful vistas in West Marin County. You can spend a full day hiking through the area or enjoy some relaxing beach time. It is a great day trip from San Francisco and is only 90 minutes away. The drive is scenic, but be aware that it can be windy! You should plan plenty of time to explore the area so that you don’t feel rushed.
Visitors seeking a day in the great outdoors will enjoy a visit to Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s easy to unwind on the park’s trails and beaches, and even a drive through the park is beautiful.
If you’re looking for an adventure with a bit more depth and a few unique experiences, try a day trip from San Francisco to Sonoma Coast.
Located about an hour north of San Francisco, this beautiful area is renowned for its rolling vineyards and world-famous Pinot Noirs. It’s also known for its elevated country cuisine, chic boutiques, and hidden wineries.
You’ll be in for a memorable day when you drive from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, one of the best places to visit wineries in the area. Santa Rosa is the county seat and largest city of Sonoma County, and the perfect jumping-off point for wine tours of the surrounding hills. You’ll have plenty of time to explore Santa Rosa’s historic Railroad Square and stop for a tasting plaza. After tasting a variety of wines, take the luxury coach to visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center and Safari West.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, head north to Bodega Bay, which has miles of pristine beaches and plenty of fresh seafood. The Sonoma Coast Park is a popular destination, as it preserves the natural environment and offers plenty of activities for the entire family. You can camp here and even bring your dog with you.
If you are planning a day trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, you may be wondering which times of year are best. If you’d like to experience Tahoe in the summer months, you can expect hot weather and extreme traffic. However, if you’re planning a trip during the winter months, you’ll experience fewer crowds and snow-covered roads.
No matter what season you choose to visit, there are plenty of things to do and see.
One of the best ways to spend a day in Lake Tahoe is to book a door-to-door tour. These tours are typically around four hours long. They’re great for families because you get to see two popular attractions at once.
On a day trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, you’ll have more time to explore the area. Stops along the way include Emerald Bay, Rubicon Bay, Meeks, and Crystal Bay. From the south shore, you can view state parks and marinas.
If you prefer a road trip, Interstate 80 and Interstate 580 lead to Lake Tahoe. These highways merge just outside of Oakland. You can also use Route 12 or Highway 50 to reach South Lake Tahoe. While it’s possible to take either route, you may want to avoid the peak travel hours of the city. If you choose a day trip from San Francisco, plan for more driving time, because you’ll likely be in the same traffic jam as the city.
One of the best ways to see Lake Tahoe from the air is to take a hot-air balloon ride. From this high perch, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of all the shorelines. Afterwards, you can opt for a picnic or head out to the lake. And if you have a bit more time, you may want to explore Tahoe City itself. While you’re there, stay in a hotel, or rent kayaks and paddle boards. If you have time, you can explore the surrounding areas by car.
Skiing in beautiful places Lake Tahoe’s beautiful mountains and sunny skies make it a popular ski destination. Heavenly Ski Resort near South Lake Tahoe has 97 trails and 28 ski elevators.
Angel Island State Park
An uninhabited island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island State Park is a great place for a day trip. It has a history as a military base, prisoner-of-war detention centre, and even a missile site during WWII. Nowadays, it is a state park with trails for hiking and cycling. You can even rent a bike to get around on your own.
There is a scenic tram that will take you on a tour of the island. You can purchase tickets at the Angel Island website or through Groupon. You’ll be treated to excellent views and a commentary about the island’s history. The tour takes about one hour and features an audio tour of the island. If you’re short, you can opt for the guided tram tour that leaves at a set time.
You can rent a bike from the Angel Island Company. This is a seasonal service, so make sure you call ahead. Electric bikes cost around $24 for an hour, while regular bikes cost $16. Box lunches are available on the island, but you may have to wait for a bit if you’re on a tight budget. You can also purchase food and drinks from the Cove Cafe.
Angel Island has a state park that is open every day. From April to October, the cafe and bike rentals are open, and tram tours run every day. The rest of the year, the times of the daily tours change. There is no need to make a reservation, but buying ferry tickets ahead of time is a good idea on weekends and in the summer.
There are many reasons to drive to Northern California’s Lake Berryessa. Not only is it California’s largest body of fresh water, but there are plenty of recreational activities and amenities to enjoy there as well.
Whether you want to spend a day boating, swimming, or jet skiing, there is something for everyone. And if you want to rent a houseboat for a romantic getaway, there are many options in the area as well.
While driving to Lake Berryessa, keep in mind that the area is far from quaint Napa Valley hotels. You’ll have to pitch a tent if you plan on staying overnight, but several lakeside campgrounds provide great facilities for RVers and campers. There are also cabins available at Markley Cove and Spanish Flat Resort. If you’d like to spend more time on the water, head to the lakeside and check out the Berryessa Brewing Company.
For nature lovers, a day trip to Lake Berryessa should include a stop at the elkhorn slough, a lesser-known beauty located just off the coast of California. Here, you can see rare species of birds, as well as a stunningly tranquil setting. You can take the short hike at Elkhorn Slough or hike on one of the longer loops. You can also take a naturalist-led tour during the weekend.
Deer, coyotes, bobcats, grey foxes, American white pelicans, flickers, ruby-crowned kinglets, and towhees are just some of the avian species that have been spotted near Lake Berryessa. Pileated woodpeckers and peregrine falcons are among the rarer birds to be spotted.
If you’re a San Franciscan, a day trip to Carmel-by-the-Scee is a great idea. This coastal getaway is located about an hour outside of San Francisco. While visiting Monterey, you’ll be able to see Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and browse the ritzy boutiques.
Afterwards, head to Silicon Valley to explore the tech campus.
One day in Carmel may not be enough to explore everything, so you might want to extend your trip for a weekend. There are a variety of activities in Carmel, so a day trip here will depend on your personal preferences. Usually, you’ll plan to participate in three to four activities and one meal at a local restaurant. If you’re travelling with a dog, you might even want to go for a hike in the nearby Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
If you’re travelling by car, you’ll need to bring comfortable clothes for driving in a convertible. Make sure to pack plenty of water, as the 17-mile drive through the bay is not the easiest to navigate. Also, don’t forget your camera, as the view along the coast is gorgeous. Once you’re there, you can also check out the Carmel Aquarium and Old Fisherman’s Wharf.
Muir Woods National Monument
One of the most popular destinations on the Pacific Coast is Muir Woods National Monument. The park is located just over an hour from San Francisco and is often very crowded during the summer.
Arrive early to beat the crowds and avoid the heat. If you don’t mind spending a bit more time driving, you can also take advantage of the free shuttle service.
While hiking through the woods, don’t forget to bring water and snacks. You’ll also want to be prepared for sudden weather changes. Bring sunscreen and wear layers of clothing. Moreover, you’ll be spending most of your time outdoors, so you might want to bring extra layers if you’re planning to spend some time in the sun. The Muir woods also offer a picnic area for visitors to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
There are many attractions and free activities available at Muir Woods, including guided walks. Park rangers offer tours in the park, which are both informative and entertaining. You can even sign up for TED-like sessions with a park ranger. If you’re traveling with a group, it’s a good idea to reserve a shuttle in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay to park your car.
You can see redwood trees in a lot of different places. Muir Woods National Monument, on the other hand, is a place you should go to at least once. It is a historic national monument that people all over the world know about. Even though it has become a bit “touristy,” the redwoods are still very beautiful and impressive.
Mount Diablo State Park
There are many great reasons to make day trips from San Francisco to Mount Diablo State. The park’s spectacular natural scenery makes it a great destination for all seasons. There are plenty of activities to take part in, such as rock climbing, hiking, and biking.
You can also check out the nearby city of Clayton for a great lunch spot and a few local shops. Here, you can buy souvenirs and learn about local wildlife. You can also hike on the Mary Bowerman Trail.
Mt Diablo is the most prominent attraction in the park. This 3,849-foot volcano rises out of San Francisco Bay and is one of the most beautiful places to see San Francisco from above. You can take the eleven-mile trail to the summit and see panoramic views of up to 35 California counties. Camping is also available.
Day trips from San Francisco to Mount Diablo State Park are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors without putting in too much effort.
From San Francisco, you can visit the park’s Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd. and see the Tao House, the former home of Pulitzer-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill. It is now a National Historic Site and hosts play. Afterwards, you can visit downtown Danville, which is a great place for shopping and lunch. A delicious organic meal can be found at Danville Harvest, which is located near Mt. Diablo State Park.
Most people use the North Gate Road Entrance, but you can also use the South Gate Road Entrance. Both routes lead to Mount Diablo State Park, and each vehicle has to pay $10 to get in.
Sonoma is located about 45 miles from San Francisco, so it is very accessible by car. Depending on your accommodation preferences, you can choose between two hotels in Sonoma: the Sonoma Chalet Bed and Breakfast and the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. You can also take the bus from Santa Rosa or Petaluma.
The Sonoma Valley is a popular day trip destination from San Francisco, and it’s the perfect starting point for an extended wine-tasting tour of this popular wine region. You’ll be able to enjoy wine tastings at three vineyards during the tour, and a gourmet Italian-style lunch is included. Note that the prices of wine tastings may change without prior notice. Generally, prices start at $165 per adult.
The Napa Valley wine region is home to a plethora of boutique wineries and vineyards. You’ll have ample time to taste wines at a variety of wineries, and your tour will also stop for lunch in historic Sonoma Square. You’ll also have the opportunity to snap a few pictures with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Then, you’ll head back to San Francisco by bus or ferry.
When planning a day trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, consider the time of year you’ll be there. While summer and Fall are great for outdoor activities, wintertime brings snowy landscapes and high prices. You’ll be driving along Interstate 80 and a few smaller roads in Napa and Sacramento. Be aware that you’ll likely experience traffic and may want to plan your trip during off-peak hours. If possible, plan your trip for late spring or early fall.
Taking an adventure tour from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe will allow you to see the best of this beautiful area. Tours are available for three to six days and can range from an afternoon to a full week. Tour departure dates vary, but September is generally the most popular month.
There are many things to do in Lake Tahoe, including hiking, biking, and boating. Make sure to check the weather, as some of these activities require booking ahead of time.
The easiest way to get to Lake Tahoe is to drive. While driving is the fastest way, it can take over three hours on a clear day. Despite this, the final stretch of highway winds through mountains and may be closed due to inclement weather. If you plan to stay overnight in Lake Tahoe, you should plan for at least one day to explore all of the town’s offerings. This way, you won’t have to worry about driving in traffic or spending the night in the car rental lot.
In Marin County, a 45-minute drive from the city, Mount Tamalpais State Park offers views of the bay and the hills surrounding the East Bay.
Hiking trails wind through the park’s lush, sweeping hillsides and give visitors incredible vistas of the Bay Area and the Farallon Islands. Once home to the Coastal Miwok Indians, the park has a rich history, and visitors can learn about the area’s native people.
One of the most popular day trips from San Francisco is to Mount Tamalpais State Park. Conveniently located near the city, Mount Tamalpais offers scenic drives and a unique chance to view wildlife. Visitors can hike for 0.2 miles to reach the summit, where they can enjoy the spectacular views and watch birds, eagles, and other wildlife. A visit to Mount Tam is an unforgettable experience for both the outdoors and the city.
In addition to the summit, Mount Tam is home to several picnic sites and a natural stone amphitheatre. Two campgrounds are available on the mountain, and both have cabins and hiking trails. Alternatively, guests can stay in the historic West Point Inn, which offers sweeping views of the East Bay and the San Francisco skyline. The inn offers seven guestrooms in the main lodge, with a communal fully-equipped kitchen and fireplace. Guests must note, however, that electricity is not available at all locations in the park, so it’s not a place to stay for long.
You can easily get to Mount Tamalpais because you can drive almost to the top. Once you get there, you can go up and around the mountain on a few short trails.
Lassen National Park
One of the most popular day trips from San Francisco is to Lassen Volcanic National Park. This large park offers many activities and features lakes and hydrothermal features similar to those found in Yellowstone National Park.
In addition, Death Valley National Park offers an out-of-this-world landscape and is accessible from several major airports. There are several things to do in Lassen, including hiking, horseback riding, and scenic viewing.
If hiking is your thing, then you’ll want to consider taking the trail to Lassen Volcano. This 1.5-mile trail provides spectacular views of the park’s signature volcano. You’ll also be rewarded with views of Lassen Peak, Chaos Crags, and Eagle Peak. While it’s easy to get lost in this beautiful landscape, it’s worth keeping in mind that the trail gradually loses elevation, so plan to take frequent breaks.
If you’re in the mood for some active geothermal activity, you can take a tour of Lassen Peak, the world’s largest plug dome volcano. The park also includes several hot springs, geothermal mud pots, and steam vents. If you’re travelling on a budget, you can also take a day trip to Lassen. The trip can take you as far as Sacramento, but you may want to consider staying an extra night or two to enjoy the park’s other activities.
Lassen Volcanic National Park, found in northeastern California, is as rare and diverse as it is beautiful. Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, is the park’s most famous attraction.
The Pacific Highway runs through San Francisco and connects the southern bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. Along the way, take a stop at the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous concrete structure in California. This photo-worthy stop offers scenic views of the city, including the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The Pacific Highway also connects San Francisco to Sausalito and Muir Woods. You can even enjoy a day at the beach!
If you are not comfortable driving, consider taking a bus to Monterey from San Francisco. A tour by San Francisco Shuttle Tours will take you from your hotel to downtown Monterey. If you’d like, you can purchase tickets for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The tickets will save you $10, and you’ll skip the long line. After the aquarium, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Cannery Row and the waterfront district.
For those looking for more urban-style living, Monterey may be the right destination. This beach town is home to Cannery Row, a waterfront fishing village that inspired John Steinbeck’s famous novel “Cannery Row.” you can also stop by a sea otter farm, or shop in the quaint downtown area. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a popular destination for children.
If you’re heading to Napa Valley for a day trip, there are many options available. There are numerous buses, shuttles, and car rentals to choose from. There are also several on-demand rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft. These rideshare services will take you to Napa Valley and anywhere within it. Before you take these services, make sure to check traffic conditions and book ahead of time.
When visiting Napa Valley, aim for at least two to three wine tastings per day. Start your trip by visiting the farthest winery and work your way back. There are 8 distinct regions in Napa. While tasting wine, make sure to pack plenty of snacks. The Ariscault Bakery has an excellent chocolate almond croissant and is located in downtown Napa and St. Helena. Try to eat lunch at one of the many outdoor eateries, and don’t forget to pick up some artisanal chocolates and other goodies.
If you’re driving from San Francisco to Napa Valley, renting a car is easy and well worth the money, even if you plan on parking overnight. While staying overnight in San Francisco, you can take a day trip to Muir Woods, Napa Valley, and even Sonoma. For a more relaxed day trip, you can stop by the Pacific Coast Highway and drive through the Point Reyes National Monument.
Between August and October, or March and May, Napa is at its most beautiful. The busiest time of year for tourism in Napa is right around harvest time (August through October). Everything, but notably lodging, will be more expensive and more crowded at this time.
Vacaville Farmers Market
If you’re looking for a unique, easy-to-reach day trip, then the Vacaville Farmers Market is the place to be. On Saturday mornings, you’ll find a wide variety of produce, local crafts, and unique foods. And if you have a taste for artisan soaps, you can buy them at the Vacaville Farmers Market.
Vacaville offers stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Berryessa and bouldering at the Browns Valley Open Space Preserve. Bike paths abound and you can pedal your way through the city via the Alamo Creek Bike Path. Live entertainment is included in admission to Madame Tussauds. Or if you’re looking for something a little more local, you can ride the wine train.
If you’re looking for a more active way to spend your day, there are several great hikes and outdoor activities in the area. Lagoon Valley Park offers panoramic views and specialized trails for hikers. You can also picnic on the lawns of the American Tower. A day trip from San Francisco to Vacaville should be a fun and easy one. So why not make it a weekend getaway?
If you’re looking for a day trip from San Francisco, why not try a trip to Woodside? Located in Silicon Valley, this upscale town is only 30 miles from the city. Located just off Interstate 280, you can enjoy the small town’s attractions, including the iconic Buck’s of Woodside. This funky diner has been a favourite of Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs since the early 90s.
This 654-acre estate once belonged to mining magnate William Bowers Bourn II and is now maintained by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Visitors can explore the well-manicured gardens and topiary, and take in the lavish interior. You can even take in some filming while touring the estate, which has been the setting for many films and television shows.
Day trips from San Francisco to the Woodside can be a fun and educational way to spend the day! The city is home to many attractions, including world-class restaurants and bars.
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a small town on the California coast, just south of San Francisco. It’s home to a beautiful beach and a small downtown area that has great views of the ocean. If you’re looking for an afternoon trip from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay would be an excellent choice.
The main attraction in Half Moon Bay is probably its famous coastline. The surfers here are notorious for being some of the best in the world—and with good reason: Half Moon Bay’s waves are known for being incredibly consistent and well-rounded; it’s not uncommon to see even beginner surfers doing tricks on these breaks!
Another great thing about this area is that there are plenty of hiking trails nearby if you want something more active than laying out on your towel for hours at a time (but who doesn’t?). You can also check out some historical sites like Old Coast Road or Crespi House while you’re here.
Santa Cruz and the Beach Boardwalk
If you’re looking for a day trip from San Francisco, you may want to visit Santa Cruz and the Beach Boardwalk. Santa Cruz is home to the original surfing mecca, and the boardwalk is one of the oldest seaside amusement parks in the country. Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports and visit local galleries and boutiques. The boardwalk is only 90 minutes south of San Francisco.
You’ll also want to check out the nearby Yosemite National Park, California’s most spectacular natural area. Here, you’ll have the chance to go hiking, swimming, and exploring. While you’re there, make sure to check out the wine country of Napa and Sonoma. Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea are also well worth a visit.
If you have time, you can head up to Santa Cruz to visit the famous Wharf, one of the oldest piers on the West Coast. There’s even a gravitational anomaly called Mystery Spot.
University Town of Berkeley
Located on the east side of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is famous for its campus culture and liberal attitude. Its bohemian shops, eclectic dining scene, and symphony performances draw tourists and students alike.
Visit the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Botanical Garden for a breathtaking view of San Francisco. Children will love Tilden Regional Park, located just outside downtown Berkeley. The park is 2,000 acres of nature with hiking trails and a steam train that whizzes around the forest. You can also visit the Little Farm and Botanical Garden, as well as ride an antique carousel.
If you want a great day trip from San Francisco, consider making a day trip to Stinson Beach, located just south of the city. This popular beach has miles of white sand and warm water. You can also play beach volleyball, hike, and picnic. Dogs are welcome on leashes, so bring your four-legged friend along. You can also take the scenic drive from the city to Stinson Beach.
Getting to Stinson Beach is easy. Just follow Highway 101 North to the 445 Mill Valley/Stinson Beach/SR-1 exit. Drive another 8.6 miles to the town of Stinson Beach. The entire journey should take about 45 minutes with no traffic, but if there is heavy traffic you might have to wait an hour or more. Once you arrive at Stinson Beach, make sure to plan enough time to walk around, and take in the scenic views.
It’s no wonder that the Big Sur has spawned so many tunes, what with its scenic byways of snaking mountain roads, wide stretches of sandy coastline, and dazzling sundowns. It’s not easy to do in a day from San Francisco, but if you get up early enough, you can have a great day.
You’ll leave with a song in your heart after experiencing the wonderful dining and relaxing alternatives. Take in the beautiful views along State Route 1, and then make a beeline for Pfeiffer Beach, where a natural arch in the rock creates a stunning light tunnel at dawn and dusk. Before going to lunch, you should take a trip up to the overlook at McWay Falls to get a birds-eye perspective of the island-like landscape.
Enjoy a three-course lunch with a view of the Pacific Ocean at Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant for a set price. Come to Nepenthe, tucked away among the foliage, for ‘The Famous Ambrosiaburger,’ a ground steak sandwich on French bread with ambrosia sauce cooked right there. If you’ve had your fill of excitement for the day, head to the spa at the neighbouring Ventana Inn for some rest before making the long trip back home. The Henry Miller Memorial Library organizes several events throughout the year, including Philip Glass’s Days and Nights Festival at the month’s end.
Contrary to Healdsburg, Sebastopol has managed to maintain its relaxed vibe. The selection at the Aubergine Vintage Emporium ranges from Soviet Army belts to aviator jackets. There’s a patio bar hidden behind the coat racks. New Age and philosophical publications, as well as statues of various philosophical figures, can be found at the charming Many Rivers Books & Tea. The back tea shop features a blend of Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Nilgiri called Monk’s Blend. The Barlow is an eclectic eatery housed in a collection of former apple storage buildings. Authentic Belgian farmhouse-style sours are brewed in copper tanks behind the bar at Woodfour Brewing Company. A plate of bratwurst, oysters from Miyagi, and Petaluma cheese.
You may find earthenware with a Nordic flavor at the Passdoor. The former bank building in Guerneville now houses the INIZI wine tasting room, a boutique selling locally made products, and Nimble & Finn’s ice cream parlor. Have a shot of Bulleit and a handful of chocolate-covered pretzels. Towards the rear of the Russian River Historical Society’s headquarters is an exhibit devoted to Guerneville’s timber industry. The Hopmonk Tavern is known for its illuminated Tuscan-style patio, red banquette bar, and live music.
In addition to its rich marine environment with giant kelp forests and darting sea lions, Point Lobos is a great day excursion for photographers, hikers, and scuba divers due to its pathways across cliffs, coves, and woodlands. The Whaler’s Cabin, a museum displaying the personal effects and diaries of Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese whalers, is worth a visit if you park near Cannery Point. Extraction of blubber and the use of harpoons will be demonstrated. The yard is littered with macabre whale bones.
You can go scuba diving, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding at Whaler’s Cove. In the spring, Sea Lion Cove becomes overrun with sea lions and their young. The crashing waves and rocky cliffs of the reserve can be observed along Sea Lion Point Trail. Lunches in Piney Woods are a sight to behold. Once upon a time, Weston Beach was well-known for its exceptional tide pools. Massive sandstone blocks of stunning hues and patterns were formed over millions of years by sand that settled in submerged beds.
Los Gatos, situated at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is a popular weekend getaway for the city’s well-to-do. Manresa Bread is a more manageable alternative to the Michelin-starred Manresa restaurant. Lunch and dinner are both available at Oak & Rye. They make their pretzel bread and are known for their cocktails that feature rye and whiskey. You may relive the golden age of the neighbourhood candy shop at Powell Sweet Shoppe. There’s ice cream, cotton candy, and bacon candy strips flavoured like beer. There are some antique theatre seats over there, with a projection screen playing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Any fan of the history of the San Francisco Bay Area should make the trip out to Quicksilver Country. Before the Gold Rush, New Almaden’s mercury mining industry attracted people from all over the world. The New Almaden Mine Museum is located in Casa Grande, a building originally constructed in 1854 for a mining supervisor. You can see what’s left of the mine’s buildings by taking a hike to English Camp in the neighbouring County Park.
The outlet malls in Gilroy provide fantastic prices without the crowds found in malls located near parking lots and warehouses. The Gilroy garlic, along with other locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, juices, and preserves, is a popular item at the area’s famed farmers’ markets and farm stands. Stop by Garlic World on Monterey Road for some vampire-repelling garlic-flavoured almonds, hummus, and other munchies.
After all that garlic cooking, you might want to open some windows. Henry Coe State Park in California is the best area to go camping because it has 250 square miles of forestland.
San Jose has outgrown its northern neighbour, San Francisco, in both land size and population, and has done so relatively unnoticed. This enormous Silicon Valley epicentre is immune to the rain and fog that affect the rest of the Bay Area.
Countless cookie-cutter housing developments, tech business parks, and commercial subdivisions dot the major thoroughfares of the greater San Jose area. However, nerds aren’t the only ones moving to San Jose these days. Some of the best examples of San Jose’s distinct character can be found in the city’s downtown, where institutions like the San Jose Museum of Art and the Tech Museum of Innovation showcase the work of local artists and offer hands-on exhibitions for the next generation of software engineers.
Both the California Theatre and the SAP Center, where the San Jose Sharks play, frequently feature world-class performers. The development of a new theme park and a trendy commercial district has transformed California’s first capital into a popular tourist attraction.
San Francisco is the perfect city for a day trip. You can take a ferry across the bay, visit historic landmarks and natural wonders, or take in some of the amazing food that San Francisco has to offer. All of these places are within easy reach and will give you a great taste of what it means to live in this beautiful city!