Best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

Half Moon Bay, just 30 miles (50 km) south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway, makes a great getaway for visitors ready for some peace and quiet. It has forests on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Its historic downtown is a good place to stroll, with beaches and parks accessible to bikers and horseback riders as well Berkeley is famous for many things: It is the home of the University of California – Berkeley, the oldest state university in California, and for being a very politically liberal city. The area was settled by Spaniards in the 18th century, though it got its name from George Berkeley, an Irish Anglican bishop. Berkeley also is famous for its involvement in the hippie movement of the 1960s, with the hippies migrating there from nearby San Francisco.

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

It’s easy for visitors to leave their hearts in San Francisco; it’s a very beautiful city. It’s equally easy for visitors to leave their hearts just outside of . A myriad of activities awaits visitors who venture on one of the top day trips from San Francisco: stunning ocean views, rolling hills peppered with vineyards, quaint towns, mountains and more. Most are easily reachable within a couple of hours drive from the city by the bay.

flickr/ Half Moon Bay, just 30 miles (50 km) south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway, makes a great getaway for visitors ready for some peace and quiet.

It has forests on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Its historic downtown is a good place to stroll, with beaches and parks accessible to bikers and horseback riders as well. Excellent golfing at two courses is another outdoor option. The city hosts a pumpkin festival in October that draws hundreds of thousands of people. Visit a roadside stand to buy locally grown produce such as fruit, beans or artichokes. flickr/ Berkeley is famous for many things: It is the home of the University of California – Berkeley, the oldest state university in California, and for being a very politically liberal city.

The area was settled by Spaniards in the 18th century, though it got its name from George Berkeley, an Irish Anglican bishop. Berkeley also is famous for its involvement in the hippie movement of the 1960s, with the hippies migrating there from nearby San Francisco.

The top of Lawrence Hall of Science on the UC campus is the best place to view San Francisco Bay. flickr/ Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean await travelers to the Monterey Peninsula, which includes the towns of Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove.

Monterey, just 115 miles south of San Francisco, was the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Carmel is famous for having Clint Eastwood as its mayor and for its golf courses, though with 20 world-class golf courses on the peninsula, it does not have a monopoly on them. Other popular activities include sailing, biking, whale watching on Monterey Bay, enjoying fresh seafood in fine dining restaurants, and touring art galleries and museums.

flickr/ Not as well-known or touristy as the neighboring Napa Valley, Sonoma County is a wine lover’s dream nevertheless with more than 400 wineries nestled in the hills and valleys going inland from Pacific Coast Highway No.

1 just north of San Francisco. Its coastal region is beautiful and rugged, and the agricultural pastureland is some of the most quintessentially beautiful to be found in California.

Sonoma Hwy/Hwy 12 is lined with wineries, and runs from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, then to western Sonoma County.

Some of the wineries offer chances to meet their winemakers while others offer classes on cooking and pairing foods with wine. flickr/ A visa to one of America’ most loved national parks, Yosemite, is doable on a day trip from San Francisco, but travelers may want to get an early start as it takes about 3-1/2 hours to make the one-way 165-mile (265 km) trip.

Yosemite National Park, which turns 125 years old this year, is most famous for its waterfalls, including the Nevada Fall that drops nearly 600 feet, and the stunning rock face of El Capitan, a favorite with rock climbers. Yosemite is a good place to see giant sequoias, but visitors will have to hike two to three miles to see them.

flickr/ Santa Cruz is the original surf city; it was here that surfing first took place on the U.S. mainland. But ridin’ the waves isn’t the only riding visitors can do in this central coast city. There’s riding the rides at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the oldest seaside amusement park on the west coast.

Besides surfing, visitors can scuba dive, paddle board, kayak or watch whales. Those less athletically inclined can shop the boutiques and galleries along tree-lined streets in the downtown area, all less than a 90-minute drive south of San Francisco.

flickr/ Visitors can drive to Napa Valley in under 90 minutes or if they want to sample the grape without worrying about driving afterward can take an organized tour.

The Napa Valley, which includes Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga, has hundreds of wineries that draw visitors from around the world.

Hills covered with vineyards provide a scenic backdrop to the wine-tasting experience. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the main wine draws, but dozens of other varietals are produced to enhance the experience. flickr/ Sausalito is another city on the bay where visitors frequently leave their hearts. The historic old town area is filled with charming boutiques, art galleries, coffee houses and an historic wharf.

After dark is a good time to visit the wharf where one can look across the bay to the sparkling lights that are San Francisco. Travelers can take cooking or ceramics classes, and visit the Marine Mammal Center. Getting to Sausalito from San Francisco is fun; visitors can take a water taxi or ferry from San Francisco or ride a bike across the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. Muir Woods are named after naturalist John Muir, founder of environmental organization the Sierra Club. Shrouded in fog rolling off the Pacific Ocean, It is one of the few remaining places where the coastal redwoods can be seen in their full glory.

Many of these redwoods are over 200 feet (60 meters) tall and over 600 years old. Because the woods have become so popular with visitors on summer weekends, the Park Service recommends visitors to tour them by shuttle bus since parking is limited. Muir Woods is located just 12 miles (19 km) north of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The park has both paved and unpaved walking and biking trails.

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby - Best Bay Area Tours (San Francisco)

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

Home to one of the world’s most iconic architectural structures, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a city just waiting to be explored. Rich in history and diverse in culture there is no end to the adventures that could be had in San Francisco for the budding explorer. Located in Northern California with balmy weather all year round there are countless opportunities to venture further afield from San Francisco should a change of scenery be in order. Here are 15 day trips from San Francisco offering you the full Californian experience.

1. Yosemite National Park Source: Sarah Fields Photography / shutterstock Yosemite National Park High on the list of every rambler’s bucket list is majestic Yosemite National Park. Famous the world over for its dense forest of giant sequoia trees framed by the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountains Yosemite National Park is a must-visit American wilderness.

Spanning an impressive 3,027 km² Yosemite National Park’s most stunning vistas of El Capitan and Half Dome can be visited in a single day trip from San Francisco and certainly provide a picture perfect backdrop for those all important holiday snaps!

With countless waterfalls, granite cliffs and incredible wildlife Yosemite National Park is the perfect day trip from San Francisco. Source: Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / shutterstock Muir Woods National Monument Should the buzzing metropolis that is San Francisco become too much perhaps consider a day trip to the Muir Woods, the perfect place to reconnect with nature and leave the city smoke behind.

Home to the awe-inspiring Redwood trees Muir Wood is a nature lover’s paradise. With trails crisscrossing throughout the woodland area during your meanderings you’ll pass Cathedral Grove, along the gorgeous Redwood Creek and onto Bohemian Grove.

If it is coastal vistas you seek be sure to march up the steady incline of the Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails. At the pinnacle you’ll be greeted by views of the Pacific Ocean and towering Mount Tamalpais. Source: Jeff Whyte / shutterstock Alcatraz Quite possibly the world’s most infamous prison, Alcatraz Island is not to be missed when visiting San Francisco. Having operated as the federal penitentiary for notorious criminals such as the Birdman, Robert Stroud and even Al Capone from 1934 to 1963 there is an eeriness about a day trip to Alcatraz Island.

Guided tours of the island compound, the inner prison complex and the prison grounds are enlightening to say the least and bring to life the tales, trials and tribulations of both prisoners and prison staff who existed there. Lying just 2 km from the mainland a trip to Alcatraz Island also offers incredible views of San Francisco’s cityscape.

Source: Andreas Koeberl / shutterstock Napa Valley Calling all wine lovers, Napa Valley is a must-visit, no question about it. World-renowned for its hundreds of vineyards, picturesque rolling hills and gourmet restaurants Napa Valley is home to over 400 wineries. During a day trip to Napa Valley’s wineries you’ll learn how the full wine making process from vine to glass. By no means a sommelier’s secret, the wineries of Napa Valley open their doors to visitors from all walks of life and the passion for the craft is palpable.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a wonderful way to explore the landscape and pass through a versatile range of wineries. Source: Michael Warwick / shutterstock Sonoma Valley With a just under half the number of vineyards, a day trip to Sonoma Valley offer the opportunity to explore wineries and a quaint, historic city.

Home to boutique wineries and the mass production outlets too, Sonoma Valley has a superb selection of wines to sample and a beautiful landscape to match. Mission San Francisco Solano and the Sonoma Barracks can be found near the city plaza and have been created in colonial style.

In this same plaza you’ll find the weekly farmer’s market filled with local produce, crafts and more. Source: Lowe Llaguno / shutterstock Carmel-by-the-Sea Carmel-By-Sea is much loved California beach town abundant in rustic charm that can be found on the Monterey Peninsula. Endearing and fairytale like, Carmel By Sea is the perfect day trip from San Francisco if a saunter is in order.

Within the space of a day you can wander past Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo and through to Point Lobos. At Point Lobos you can look out over the Pacific Ocean and watch the waves crash on the rocks below. Keep a beady eye out for whales breaching on the horizon. Be sure to visit the Carmel Heritage Society Museum during your day in Carmel-By-Sea.

Source: Jon Bilous / shutterstock Big Sur Lying between Carmel-By-Sea and Hearst Castle, Big Sur is incredibly rugged 90-mile stretch of Pacific coastline that makes for an ideal day trip from San Francisco.

Quintessentially Californian, wildlife lovers, hikers and photographers will immediately fall for the wonder of Big Sur. Should a mix of coastline and redwood forest sound appealing then taking a hike on one of the shorter trails of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park should be included in you day’s plans. Having been the muse of Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac there is something inherently inspirational about Big Sur.

Source: Benny Marty / shutterstock Google, Silicon Valley If you’re an avid lover of tech and innovation then a day trip to Silicon Valley is a must if you’re visiting San Francisco. Silicon Valley is home to technological mavericks like Google and Apple. Chances are you’re reading this from a device created by the incredible minds of the Silicon Valley workforce. The Computer History Museum is informative and engaging, you’ll certainly come away with a better knowledge of the evolution of technology over the last 100 years.

A Google Campus should too feature on your day trip from San Francisco, if only for their brilliant gift shop. Source: Jon Chica / shutterstock Sausalito Nestled on the northern edge of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is an easily accessible day trip from central San Francisco.

Relaxing, charming and providing impressive views of the yacht -dotted bay Sausalito is the perfect low-key day trip. Having been a buzzing shipbuilding hub during World War II there is a lot of history to explore, especially in the Richardson Bay area. Home to over 400 boat houses by merely taking a stroll along the waterfront avenue you can see many of the historic houses inhabited by lifelong San Franciscans.

Sausalito is a lovely little spot for shopping too. Source: James Kirkikis / shutterstock North Beach San Francisco is famed for its pioneering food culture. Proudly housing some of the most innovative restaurants in the world in the North Beach and Little Italy suburbs you can experience homely, authentic and incredibly flavourful European cuisines. Whether you spend the day strolling from one cafe to another or nip into the family run bakeries that line the streets of North Beach these suburbs of San Francisco highlight the rich diversity of cultures that congregate in northern California.

Should you take the time to chat to a local throughout the day you may pick up an artisan secret or two. Source: Pescadero Marsh Nature Reserve For budding ornithologists the Pescadero Marsh Nature Reserve is an ideal day trip from San Francisco. Home to over 60 resident species of birdlife and over 200 migratory, remember to pack your binoculars and your notebook when setting out from central San Francisco.

The Great Blue Heron is sighted regularly along with endangered species like the California red-legged frog and Tidewater Goby. Featuring thick riparian woodland, a freshwater marsh and a tidal estuary area the Pescadero Marsh Nature Reserve is an exciting and active day trip. In the spring and summer months the marshlands are awash with blooming wildflowers.

Source: mark smith nsb / shutterstock Monterey The California coastline is simply sublime and it seldom gets better than the seaside views offered from Monterey. An accessible and easily achievable day trip from San Francisco if you are keen to experience California’s most impressive coastal vistas then Monterey day trip for you. Driving along the 17 Mile Drive is the highlight of any coastal California adventure.

This picturesque drive curves along the coast with ease winding between stately mansions and golf courses too. Look amongst the sparse patches of forest to catch a glimpse of the, sadly, increasingly rare Monterey Cypress. Source: Kusska / shutterstock Sequoia National Park Should a real adventure be the order of the day then Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is the natural first choice.

Avid explorers could spend weeks on end hiking through the 800,000 acres of natural wilderness. Within a day trip to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park you gain more than a just a taste of the forest. With paved trails for the shorter hiking routes visitors can enjoy guided walks or set out solo.

Featuring wildflowers aplenty, wildlife in abundance and even the Crystal Cave freedom awaits you at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. 14. Angel Island State Park Source: cdrin / shutterstock Angel Island State Park Although the largest island in the Bay of San Francisco, Angel Island is something of a hidden gem. Offering day visitors brilliant views of the Marin Headland, Mount Tamalpais and of course San Francisco city itself, Angel Island is a relaxed, even romantic, day trip from the bustling city.

Rich in history, Angel Island was gifted to author Antonio Maria Osio in 1837 to be used as a cattle ranch. In 1910 Angel Island was subsequently used as a US Immigration Station. In the present day it is a wonderful hiking area with plenty of shady spots for a picnic.

Source: weriset / shutterstock Armstrong Redwood State Reserve California is famous the world over for being home to some of the tallest and oldest redwood trees in the world. During a day trip to the Armstrong Redwood State Reserve it is humbling to stand beneath the gran Colonel Armstrong Tree that is believed to be over 1,400 years old.

The reserve is named after Colonel Armstrong who vowed to preserve this area of is property way back in 1870. At regular intervals throughout the marked walking trails you’ll find information panels sharing important insights into the biology and conservation of the area. True eco-warriors should make a B-line to the tree-hugging platforms. • Yosemite National Park: Sarah Fields Photography / shutterstock • Muir Woods National Monument: Mariusz S.

Jurgielewicz / shutterstock • Alcatraz: Jeff Whyte / shutterstock • Napa Valley: Andreas Koeberl / shutterstock • Sonoma Valley: Michael Warwick / shutterstock • Carmel-by-the-Sea: Lowe Llaguno / shutterstock • Big Sur: Jon Bilous / shutterstock • Google, Silicon Valley: Benny Marty / shutterstock • Sausalito: Jon Chica / shutterstock • North Beach: James Kirkikis / shutterstock • Pescadero Marsh Nature Reserve: • Monterey: mark smith nsb / shutterstock • Sequoia National Park: Kusska / shutterstock • Angel Island State Park: cdrin / shutterstock • Armstrong Redwood State Reserve: weriset / shutterstock

best dating san francisco bay area day trips nearby

Ideas for an Active Day Out in San Francisco • : Great for hiking, biking or just running around. • : We've rated them by activity so you can find the best one for you.

• : If you're from out of town, Blazing Saddles will rent you a bike and give you a map and route to follow. • : When the major streets are closed, it's a great place to bike or rollerblade.

• : We think this is one of the most fun ways to tour the city. Active Day Trips Out of Town • : One of the area's most popular places for rock climbing and hiking. • : Plenty of beaches for all kinds of activities, ocean kayaking, hiking, horseback riding along the coast.

• : Wine country backroads around Healdsburg are especially popular for bicycling. • , Fremont: On a busy weekend morning, it may seem like half of Silicon Valley is on the trail up the peak. When you get to the top, you'll see why.

• : The water's calm and the wildlife abundant. • , Danville: Hike up or down one of the area's tallest peaks. • : An ancient volcano left behind monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and caves.

If you're curious and like arts, architecture, science or the unusual, these ideas for a day trip or a vacation side trip from San Francisco may appeal to you. Ideas for a Curious Visitor's Day Out in San Francisco • : They offer a wide range of walking tour topics.

• : When the AIA asked the American people, these are the northern California places they liked best. Tour them all for a beautiful day. • : Perfect for architecture lovers. • : A self-guided tour of some of the most famous sights from Alfred Hitchcock's classic film.

• : Take a guided tour or take a stroll around some of the city's nicest "Painted Ladies" on your own. Unique Day Trips Out of Town • , Sonoma Raceway: If you've ever dreamed of driving a fast car on a real race track, the Audi Experience may be just the thing for you.

• , Santa Rosa: There's too much reading here to interest the kids, but adults who love the comic strip will have a great time. • , Mountain View: If you remember punched cards or know what an Amdahl is, you may enjoy a trip down memory lane here. • , Danville: The Nobel Prize-winning playwright wrote his most personal works here.

• , Martinez: Home of the famous naturalist. • , San Jose: A collection of buildings from San Jose's past. • , San Jose: It was the largest refractory telescope in the world when built and they still do some great science on the mountain. • , Salinas: Devoted to the famous author and the history of the Salinas Valley. • , Palo Alto: Graduate students will take you on a tour of the "atom smasher." • , Alameda: This retired ship has a singular history.

• , Calistoga: Artist Carlo Marchiori's Palladian villa near Calistoga is filled with his whimsical art. • , Palo Alto: Home to one of the finest collections of Rodin sculptures in the western U.S. They also have some great special exhibits. ​Cute Towns Near San Francisco • : If you live in the Bay Area, you may overlook Berkeley, but it's got a lot going for it. • : The less-crowded northern end of Calistoga has lots of hot springs spas and a cute downtown.

• Capitola: This seaside town's pastel-colored buildings make it look like a bag of salt-water taffy. • : Full of well-preserved Victorian-style houses, with a cute downtown and a weekend farmers market. • : Besides the university, there's a lively downtown with a wonderfully restored classic movie theater.

• Pescadero: Don't miss the artichoke soup at Duarte's Tavern or a peek at the antique shops and artisan's studios before stopping at Arcangelli Bakery for a loaf of bread. Just across the highway is one of the best places for tide pooling. • : The still-intact 1800s town square is a slice of California history and downtown has a pleasant selection of shops for browsing.

• : We live the lively feel of downtown Santa Cruz and its individualistic attitude. • : It's an easy ferry trip across the bay, but if you drive you can see its unique .

• : So cute you just want to hug them, these tiny Sonoma County towns enchants everyone who wanders in. Ideas for a Family Day Out in San Francisco • : Kids seem to think this old prison is pretty cool. • : You can hike and bike, and there's lots of room. • : The area's best science center for hands-on fun. • : A broad, sandy beach with plenty of room to fly kites or build sand castles. • : An old standby. Family Day Trips Out of Town • : If the kids have never been on a train trip, the one-day ride from Emeryville to Reno can be fun.

To do it in a single day, you'll have to fly home from Reno - or stay overnight and take the train back the next day. • Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito: A fun place for kids. • , Sonoma: Everyone likes Benziger's tractor-towed, open-air tram tour. • , San Jose: Tons of interactive things to do and fun special exhibits. • , Healdsburg: Food, family pool, a glass of wine for the parents. • : Fewer screaming roller coasters, shorter lines and pretty surroundings.

• , Gilroy: Besides offering pick-yourself produce, a bake shop and an antique shop, Gizdich says it's alway kid season at their farm. • : Beaches, tide pools, family-friendly hotels and a visit to the farm. • : The appeal of watching specialty jelly beans being made is universal and if you don't mind coping with the sugar rush, their seconds (called "belly flops") are a great bargain.

• , San Jose: Kids love the antique trolley and the old fruit processing barn in this historic park and they have an old-fashioned soda fountain, too. • : This place is everything it's said to be, with lots of fun things for kids to do. • , Calistoga: Trees turned into stone are the big draw. • , Felton: If your kids like train rides, this trip is one of the area's best. • , Marin Headlands: A pretty beach full of colorful pebbles is the feature here, better for walking or kite-flying than for sand castles and also a popular place for skimboarding.

• , Calistoga: It's like a trip to the zoo and a mini-safari all in one at this wildlife park/bed and breakfast outside Calistoga, a great stop for animal-loving young'uns. • : Pay-as-you-ride for a less-expensive alternative to the big theme parks. • , San Jose: A little pricey for the amount of time you spend, the Winchester House is nevertheless a favorite of many kids.

It's better for pre-teens and older. Little ones may be frustrated with having to stand still. Ideas for an Indoor Day in San Francisco • : The big machinery that runs the cars is fascinating, and downstairs you can see the cables in action. • : The grand-daddy of hands-on science museums is still one of the best, with lots of interesting exhibits to play with. • : You've got dozens to choose from.

• : Try a few of these ideas if it's rainy outside. Indoor Day Trips Near San Francisco • : In a single day, you can ride Amtrak's California Zephyr from Emeryville to Reno, Nevada - but to make it a day trip, you will have to fly back home. It's a trip over the top of the Sierras that's especially scenic in the winter.

• : Everyone loves to see how these sweet confections are made. • : It's dry inside but wet in the tanks, and here are plenty of them to keep you entertained for hours. • , San Jose: Sarah Winchester may have been a haphazard architect, but her house is plenty big. Places for Lunch or Brunch • , Point Reyes Station: One of the best area cheesemakers offers their products at Tomales Bay Foods, a great place to pick up picnic supplies.

• , Carmel: Live jazz, great views and an extensive brunch buffet are great any time, but when the weather is nice and you can sit on the patio, it's pure pleasure. • , Big Sur: Some people grumble that it isn't gourmet cuisine, but frankly, we don't think it matters. With some of Big Sur's best views and a laid-back ambiance, this place can't be beat.

Don't get in a hurry and settle for less. Only a spot outdoors will do. • , Half Moon Bay: Weekly Vintner Series wine/food pairings and wine tasting experiences featuring a new set of wineries every month, a lavish Sunday brunch buffet and an annual Fire & Wine Experience weekend give foodies plenty of reasons to keep going back to the Ritz Carlton. • : Top-rated restaurants and award-winning chefs cluster around Healdsburg, and there's plenty of great wine, too.

• , Berkeley: If you're tired of traditional wine-tasting, try a little sake instead. • : First come, first-served seating make Tomales Bay the best choice for an impromptu oyster picnic. Bring your own shucking knife, accompaniments and don't forget the charcoal if you'd rather have them barbecued than raw.

• , Near Santa Cruz: Pick your own strawberries, ollalieberries and kiwi fruit. • : If the plethora of wineries befuddles you, we've compiled a selection of the ones that offer the most enjoyable tasting experience. • : You can't beat the scenery when you take the California Zephyr over the top of the Sierras. To make this a day trip, you will need to fly back home. • , San Francisco Bay: Panoramic views, a rich history, and a super-fun Segway tour are just a few of Angel Island's attractions.

• , Santa Cruz Mountains: Some say it's just as nice as Muir Woods but a lot less crowded. • , Moss Landing: Birds and sea otters abound at Elkhorn. Kayak on your own or . • , Danville: You can see more from here than almost anywhere else on the planet. • , Marin County: You can see all the way to San Francisco from here on a clear day. • , Marin County: One of the easiest places to get to for a short walk in the redwoods. • , Carmel: Rocky coastline, windblown trees, and abundant wildlife help make Point Lobos one of the state's most beautiful coastal parks.

• , Marin County: Views are extraordinary, it's home to a herd of tule elk and a dramatically-situated lighthouse. • : We're not talking about tiny things in a far-away tree here. This guide tells you where to find the big, beautiful Great Blue Herons and snow-white egrets. Excursions in San Francisco • You don't need to drive all 49 miles and this guide highlights the ones worth your time.

• : Use our self-guided directions to visit some of the most famous spots in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film. Day Drives Out of Town • : Follow the directions going south for a drive down Highway One from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel (or further). • : If you want to visit Pebble Beach or have lunch at Roy's in Spanish Bay, it's worth the admission. Or try our admission-free alternative if you're just looking for pretty views. • : California Hwy 1 from Carmel south is one of the state's most beautiful drives.

Add a stop to tour the and it makes a nice day out. • : These maps are perfect for the curious wanderer, with several routes perfect for an old-fashioned Sunday drive. • San Francisco to Santa Cruz on Hwy 1: This often-overlooked section of Hwy 1 is just as pretty as Big Sur, less crowded and a lot closer to the city. • Sir Francis Drake Blvd: Follow US 101 north out of San Francisco, then go west in San Rafael toward Olema and the drive is almost as pretty as your destination on the coast.

Return via Hwy 1. • : Head south to King City on US 101 then go west into one of the least-changed landscapes in central California. Relaxing in San Francisco • The Labyrinths, Grace Cathedral: A meditative walk through the labyrinths is a great way to focus and shed stress. Relaxing Day Trips Out of Town • : There's nothing more relaxing to this harried travel writer than a soak in the Calistoga mud. • : Located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, with a wide range of relaxing services.

• : It's a hike to one and the other two have unusual schedules, but they're worth the trouble. • , Hollister: A small, no-frills place with relaxing hot waters. • , Sonoma County: A massage in one of their outdoor pavilions is about as relaxing as it gets. • , Napa: We love the Inn, and their spa is top-notch, too. Places to Go Shopping in San Francisco • : One of the city's most enjoyable shopping streets features blocks of interesting shops, restaurants and boutiques.

• : A good mix of coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants and a small movie theater make this a lively street. • Haight Ashbury : An eclectic mix of wares and generally affordable prices make the Haight one of our favorites.

• : Local San Franciscans rave about the fun shops you can find in this area. • : One of the largest shopping areas in the western United States, with a large variety of shops.

• : The Mission District's main shopping street offers lots of fun options. Places to Go Shopping Out of Town • , Berkeley: High-end outlets, some yummy restaurants and food shops and local artisan galleries make for a fun time, even if your shopping bags stay empty. • : It's so big they have a trolley to take shoppers from one side to the other and you'll find all the standard outlet stores here.

• , San Jose: At times it seems a little too contrived, but you'll find good restaurants and nice shops. Weekends, there's a farmers market and any day, the nearby movie theaters offer plenty of diversions.

• , Albany: One of our favorite places for recreational shopping, withe some of the Bay Area's most interesting shops. • , Berkeley: Located near the university, Telegraph has lots of great bookstores, some interesting shops that cater to a young clientele and a lively weekend street market. • : Another big outlet mall, between San Francisco and Sacramento. This page is mostly for out-of-towners. The places listed below are some of the most popular for a side trip during a San Francisco vacation.

• : The state capitol has an interesting Old Town and some great museums. • : Many of your iconic ideas of California probably came from pictures taken in Big Sur, with sweeping coastlines and towering trees.

• and : The peninsula's bookend towns couldn't be more different: a former cannery town and an upscale artists' enclave. • : The Wine Country you've read about. • : There's the old-fashioned seaside amusement park and some great beaches in this little place.

• : Just across the bay, with pleasant views and some nice art galleries. A ferry ride away from Fisherman's Wharf. • : Less pretentious than Napa, with great scenery and friendly tasting rooms. Guided Day Trips A few San Francisco tour companies offer personalized, small group tours, which are the most enjoyable way to go. They include and .

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