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25 Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California

25 Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California


Known for its tasty bread, steep streets, and iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the nice metropolis of San Francisco has been on the radar of California guests for a very long time. This West Coast metropolis has seen an explosion of tech startups, actual property values, and vacationers in recent times.

But in case you’ve seen all of the sights on the town and also you’re on the lookout for some outside adventures, sandy seashores, or only a change of surroundings, there are dozens of distinctive day journeys from San Francisco. Many new and thrilling issues might be seen even inside the San Francisco Bay Area, whereas much more might be reached only a quick drive into the mountains surrounding it.

It is probably not your first intuition to hire a automobile when visiting San Francisco, as every part is reachable simply on foot, public transport, or bike. Plus, parking is notoriously costly. However, reserving one for a day or two to take pleasure in a day journey might be properly value it.

This is an extremely beautiful nook of America with loads of historical past and tradition round it, and whether or not you’re on the lookout for some easy afternoon actions or concepts for weekend getaways, there’s something to see close by. Take a glance beneath at a number of the prime day journeys from San Francisco, California, and our tips about every of them.

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full Day Tour
1. Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco
Top Recommendation


Escape the hustle and bustle of San Francisco for a day and immerse your self in California’s world-famous wine nation. On this full-day tour, you’ll go to a number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma, together with each big-name and family-run estates. You’ll get to style regional varietals, be taught in regards to the winemaking course of throughout guided excursions of vineyards and barrel rooms, and savor the realm’s connoisseur tradition with a cease for lunch in charming Sonoma Square Plaza or Yountville.

Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike
2. From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike


Looking to discover the majestic Yosemite National Park? Then this tour is for you! This small group tour with an professional information will take you to see a number of the park’s most iconic sights, together with Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and the large sequoia timber. Plus, you may additionally get to hike to the historic big sequoias (climate allowing). With a most of simply 15 passengers, this tour gives loads of alternative to cease at extra locations and take extra pictures.

Monterey Carmel and 17 Mile Drive Tour
3. Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive – Full Day Tour from San Francisco


If you are on the lookout for an thrilling and scenic drive down considered one of California’s most lovely roads, look no additional than this full-day tour from San Francisco. You’ll cruise alongside Highway 1, passing the beautiful mansions of Pebble Beach on the long-lasting 17-Mile Drive. You’ll even have loads of time to discover the charming city of Monterey, the place you possibly can stroll down Steinbeck’s Cannery Row or go to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Best Day Trips from San Francisco

1. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Distance from San Francisco: 167 miles (about 3.5 hours by automobile)

Let’s begin with some of the fashionable northern California locations, even for these not staying in San Francisco: Yosemite National Park. At about three and a half hours away, it does stretch to the boundaries of a possible day journey, however it’s completely for nature lovers eager to see the famed park.

Yosemite is known for a lot of issues, together with its big sequoia timber, many dramatic waterfalls, and towering granite cliffs. All of those pure options make for some wonderful mountaineering trails, nature images, and outside actions like rafting and fishing. Mountain bikers might be delighted to search out miles of ridable trails, however be aware that departing from these paths shouldn’t be allowed.

You can discover the customer heart operated by the National Park Service within the city of Yosemite Valley, the place maps with nature trails and data on outside actions can be found. Some of the quicker hikes and easier-accessed waterfalls additionally start right here, corresponding to Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite Falls.

A variety of excursions and experiences can be found, starting from a self-guided audio tour from the consolation of your personal automobile to day trips with transportation from San Francisco. If you need to make this a multi-day journey, the Yosemite View Lodge is in a superb location alongside the Merced River, with a number of swimming pools and a scorching tub.

See Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Yosemite National Park?

2. Muir Woods National Monument

Trail in Muir Woods National Monument

Distance from San Francisco: 16 Miles (about 45 minutes by automobile)

If some outside enjoyable sounds good, however Yosemite is simply too far, one other nice choice is the Muir Woods National Monument. This forest expanse is simply north of San Francisco beside the city of Mill Valley, making for a simple San Francisco day journey.

You also can discover some extra well-known big timber right here – redwoods. In truth, the monument is taken into account to be an old-growth forest, which as soon as coated hundreds of thousands of acres of this a part of California. Today, almost all of them are gone, making Muir Woods a uncommon instance.

There are miles of lengthy mountaineering trails across the timber, creeks, and hills resulting in viewpoints and spots to benefit from the peacefulness. You could even run into species like owls, foxes, or river otters native to the realm. The little cove that hides Muir Beach is a superb spot to loosen up on the sand and hike some seaside trails.

Thanks to its shut proximity, it’s straightforward to search out excursions of the Muir Woods National Monument that depart from and return to San Fransisco in case you don’t need to go to by yourself. Choose a forest tour that can concentrate on the gorgeous redwood timber the park is known for.

3. Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay Ocean View

Distance from San Francisco: 30 miles (about 45 minutes by automobile)

Arguably finest in the summertime however actually pleasant to go to year-round, Half Moon Bay is without doubt one of the hottest coastal cities to go to close to San Francisco. It sits on the well-known Pacific Coast Highway and is a superb endpoint if you wish to drive only a small portion of it.

Sitting on the Pacific Ocean, Half Moon Bay is a well-liked seaside vacation spot with a number of miles of sand. A coastal path follows the ocean and makes for a beautiful stroll or jog. Even if the seaside isn’t your factor, the city has a laid-back, coastal vibe with loads of native retailers and cafés to discover.

At the northern finish, a path results in Pillar Point, the place cliffs drop to tide swimming pools and rocky shorelines beneath. But the most well-liked factor to see on the level is the well-known Mavericks surf spot, the place a number of the largest waves on the continent draw adrenaline junkies from everywhere in the world.

Another fashionable exercise to do from Half Moon Bay is to take a ship tour to see marine life like grey whales and sea lions. You can discover boats departing from the marina at El Granada.

Half Moon Bay is a wonderful and high-end space to remain in in case you’re on the lookout for luxurious lodging. The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is without doubt one of the prime luxurious lodges on the town and even on this entire area, and you’ll count on every part to be top-of-the-line in case you select to remain right here.

See Related: Best Surfing Spots within the World

4. The Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway Scenery

Distance from San Francisco: 0 miles (however about 20 minutes to the closest level alongside the coast)

Speaking of the well-known Pacific Coast Highway, driving the highway generally is a kind of a day journey itself! California’s most well-known freeway is designated an All-American Road, that means it has particular, intrinsic qualities that make it gratifying to drive.

It is definitely the longest state route in California, with one finish beginning properly north of San Francisco in Mendocino County and the opposite south of Los Angeles in Orange County. Therefore, you in all probability received’t be driving the total size of it as a day journey. But a number of the most scenic sections are inside attain of San Francisco.

In the southern route, you’ll encounter a mix of small coves, sandy seashores, and dramatic cliffs on the ocean facet. Natural stops on this route are Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and at last, the Monterey-Carmel space. The latter is an efficient level to show again or inland to take the freeway again to the town.

If headed north, the freeway will take you over the Golden Gate Bridge, via some mountainous state parks and preserves, and alongside an general steeper coast via extra sections of mountains and hills. level to show again on the freeway is after Sonoma Coast State Park close to Jenner, as after this, huge mountains separate the coastal route from the closest main roads.

Don’t need to do the driving? Take a guided tour on the portion between San Francisco and Carmel to soak up all of the surroundings with out having to take the wheel.

5. Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park Scenery

Distance from San Francisco: 6 miles (a couple of 30-minute ferry trip)

Looking for an escape from the town with out venturing too removed from it? The excellent compromise could also be Angel Island State Park, positioned within the bay simply off Fisherman’s Wharf, but it surely may as properly be on a special planet.

To attain it, you’ll must take the Angel Island Ferry, departing from each the San Francisco Ferry Terminal and from Tiburon on the opposite facet of the bay. Trips from San Francisco take about half-hour and run 4 occasions per day.

Angel Island is a superb place to flee the town, hike some trails, and catch nice views of the San Francisco skyline over the bay. There are remnants of civilization on the island as properly. It has been used for a wide range of functions, corresponding to searching and ranching, navy operations, and a quarantine and immigration station for primarily Asian migrants.

If you determine to not make a full day journey out of Angel Island however would nonetheless wish to see it, there are many bay tours and sunset cruises that can sail round it. You’ll additionally get commentary to find out about its historical past.

See Related: Best Family Hotels in San Francisco, California

6. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Aerial View

Distance from San Francisco: 75 miles (about 1.5 hours by automobile)

Heading throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains will convey you to the quaint, medium-sized city of Santa Cruz, sitting on Monterey Bay. With sandy shorelines, a well-known seaside boardwalk, and exquisite surroundings all through, Santa Cruz is without doubt one of the finest day trips from San Francisco for households.

The boardwalk is without doubt one of the icons of this coastal city, with classic rollercoasters and video games subsequent to the Pacific Ocean. The wharf sitting simply beside it on the bay is one other, with its retailers, eating places, and views.

While there are nice seashores all all through this city, considered one of specific curiosity is Natural Bridges State Beach to the west. While the sandy house is on the smaller facet, the primary attraction is the pure arch that appears like a bridge throughout the seaside. The seaside can also be an incredible spot to see birds and monarch butterflies of their migrations.

Want to slot in with the surfer vibe of Santa Cruz? Take a surfing lesson for beginners at some of the iconic seashores for it in California. Waves aren’t too intimidating right here, and most of the people can rise up for not less than a while.

Although it’s not removed from the town, some guests wish to make Santa Cruz greater than only a day journey. There are a wide range of boutique and chain lodges to select from, however we just like the Hilton Santa Cruz Scotts Valley for its stellar location and wonderful grounds.

7. Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach Aerial View

Distance from San Francisco: 24 miles (about 1 hour by automobile)

Stinson Beach is a tiny beachside group nestled in a small valley behind the mountains of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. More than only a sleepy seaside city, it’s a singular escape from the town with quite a few actions out there in all seasons.

The drive down the mountain is a bit windy, and parking on the town is proscribed, however those that make the journey received’t be disenchanted. An extended, sandy seaside, partially managed by the National Park Service, stretches from the inlet to the Bolinas Lagoon to dramatic boulders close to Red Rock Beach.

The checklist of actions out there is lengthy: volleyball, fishing, mountaineering, browsing, bodyboarding, and extra. Surfing is finest within the winter and spring, whereas waves change into smaller and extra appropriate for bodyboarding in the summertime. You can catch fish straight from the seaside in case you convey a rod and lure.

The southern a part of the coast consists of trails to Red Rock Beach and Steep Ravine Beach, which do require a little bit of effort to entry. Rock climbing is fashionable round each, however be very cautious on this distant a part of the shoreline.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Lone Pine, California

8. San Jose

San Jose Cityscape

Distance from San Francisco: 55 miles (about 1 hour by automobile, about 1.5 hours by practice)

One of the opposite main cities of the Bay Area is San Jose, sitting simply south of San Francisco in what’s now generally known as Silicon Valley. A serious expertise hub, the town additionally has a wealthy historical past and its personal native id, making it actually value a go to.

If you’re nonetheless within the planning levels of your journey, know that San Jose has a serious worldwide airport that will also be used to entry the Bay Area. Whether you’re simply spending just a few hours or just a few days, highlights of the town embrace architectural landmarks within the downtown historic district, its numerous artwork galleries, and fascinating museums just like the Tech Interactive.

An iconic factor to do in San Jose is to go to the Winchester Mystery House, a 160-room mega-mansion that belonged to rifle firm heiress Sarah Winchester. It was in-built 1884, and whereas grand and exquisite, it’s additionally relatively unusual, with staircases to nowhere and ineffective doorways. It’s a singular expertise, and you’ll take a tour of the home to see all of it.

As talked about, San Jose is a serious metropolis and generally is a vacation spot itself. If you determine to remain an evening, loads of lodges can be found, corresponding to Hotel De Anza. This boutique lodge is within the coronary heart of downtown and displays its distinctive id.

9. Napa Valley

Napa Valley Vineyards and Sunset

Distance from San Francisco: 53 miles (about 1.5 hours by automobile)

Some of America’s most appreciated wines come from Napa Valley and Sonoma County, which is conveniently simply over an hour north of San Francisco. That makes it an incredible vacation spot for a day journey to see rolling hills of vineyards, do some wine tasting, and be taught the historical past of this vital land.

Your journey to Napa Valley may begin within the city of Napa. It’s a superb alternative of vacation spot, with Nineteenth-century structure, a riverside promenade with eating and procuring, and farmer’s markets with native merchandise. It’s additionally the place you may get on the Napa Valley Wine Train to style a number of the merchandise whereas rolling via a number of the most celebrated vineyards within the area.

Besides all issues wine, there may be some nice nature to be appreciated in Napa Valley. For instance, the Old Faithful Geyser of California blows thermal water into the air within the northern a part of the valley.

You can take a half-day excursion from San Francisco to Napa and again for winery excursions and wine tasting in case you don’t need to make the drive your self. If you don’t thoughts the journey and discovering your approach to one of many cities of the valley by yourself, a guided tour with a picnic lunch is offered, together with a number of different wine nation experiences.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Santa Maria, California

10. Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore Aerial View

Distance from San Francisco: 37 miles (about 1.25 hours by automobile)

Covering over 71,000 acres, Point Reyes National Seashore covers way over simply the seashore. This huge expanse technically encompasses a few of San Francisco however is usually the realm between Stinson Beach and Tomales Bay.

The protect is heaven for anybody on the lookout for some outside enjoyable within the woods, ridges, grasslands, and seashores of this area. If you’re prepared to hit the mountaineering or horseback using trails, treasures corresponding to Alamere Falls and secluded seashores await. But even by automobile, you possibly can entry sights just like the Point Reyes Lighthouse and the Cypress Tree Tunnel.

You also can have a seaside day right here, and it shouldn’t be arduous to discover a spot alongside its 80 miles of shoreline. Camping is permitted at a number of backwood websites, in addition to on some seashores alongside Tomales Bay.

As the Point Reyes National Seashore is so giant and there are such a lot of landscapes to see right here, many guests like to remain close by for just a few days to slot in all of the mountaineering they’ll. Renting a comfortable cottage in a close-by city like Inverness might be the proper place to return to after a day in nature.

11. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea Houses and Street

Distance from San Francisco: 122 miles (about 2 hours by automobile)

Another distinctive and lovable little seaside city is Carmel-by-the-Sea, reachable in nearly two hours from San Francisco. It’s discovered on the southern facet of the Monterey Peninsula beside a protected marine conservation space.

Many issues attract day-trippers to this seaside city: the gorgeous Carmel Beach, its historic, village-like downtown space, and the well-known Pebble Beach Golf Course. For some mild mountaineering and nice pure surroundings, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve presents trails and viewpoints simply south of city.

A preferred itinerary is to stroll, bike, or drive on Scenic Road from the Carmel Beach surf spot to the Carmel River State Beach, which reveals why it was given the title “Scenic Road.” You also can take a guided e-bike tour to essentially the most appreciated locations on the town to benefit from the oceanic air with out getting too exhausted.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is understood for its quaint downtown that has a extra village-like environment than most, and there are dozens of little inns and related lodging in case you select to spend the evening. The Carmel Mission Inn is a very talked-about boutique lodge sitting simply exterior of downtown with upscale facilities and a pool.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Ontario, California

12. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

View from Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Distance from San Francisco: 7 miles (about quarter-hour by automobile)

One of the simplest and closest day journeys from San Francisco is to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, simply throughout from the doorway to the bay. You may even attain the perimeters of the realm subsequent to the city of Sausalito by bus or, relying on how energetic you’re, by strolling throughout the Golden Gate Bridge.

There is lots to do inside the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Historic websites, mountaineering and biking trails, seashores with golden and black sands, and scenic factors are all scattered all through. In truth, a number of the finest viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge are within the GGNRA, making for excellent alternatives for photographers.

The Point Bonita Lighthouse might be reached on a comparatively straightforward path to the tip of its peninsula, the place sweeping views of the Pacific, San Francisco, and the rocky shoreline are distinctive. On both facet are Rodeo Beach and Black Sands Beach, completely secluded by rocky cliffs and nice for sunbathing.

Since this space is so near San Francisco and it’s full of out of doors experiences, it may be loads of enjoyable to rent a bike for a day to discover. You’ll get to trip over the long-lasting Golden Gate Bridge and benefit from the breeze as you pedal to the assorted factors of curiosity.

13. Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park Scenery

Distance from San Francisco: 57 miles (about 1 hour by automobile)

Comprising over 5,000 acres of the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park is an simply accessible and fashionable day trip from San Francisco. It’s positioned even nearer to San Jose, making it an choice for guests to that metropolis as properly.

People go to the park for its largely untouched panorama of native redwood and fir timber. Their huge stature alongside the rolling ridges makes for glorious surroundings and an incredible glimpse into pure northern California. This can also be a preferred vacation spot for rock climbers, with some interesting-looking and difficult formations within the park.

Castle Rock was one potential place to begin for the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, an enormous, 30-mile hike from the Santa Cruz Mountaintops to the ocean till it was compelled to shut by wildfires in 2020. However, there are over 32 miles of open trails within the park alone, and hikers can discover some unbelievable waterfalls inside its limits.

There are a number of campsites inside Castle Rock State Park in case you are trying to spend an evening beneath the celebs, however be aware that canine usually are not allowed right here. Horses are permitted on sure trails, nonetheless.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Lone Pine, California

14. Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium Architecture

Distance from San Francisco: 119 miles (about 2 hours by automobile)

In search of some enjoyable wintertime day trips from San Francisco? Take a day to go to some of the revered aquariums on the West Coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Located on the rocky shoreline of Monterey Bay, the aquarium is far bigger than these you’ll discover in San Francisco. Many firsts in marine science had been achieved on the museum: they had been the primary to exhibit a dwelling kelp forest, the primary to efficiently show and take care of an incredible white shark, and their scientists pioneered the primary efforts to lift jellyfish.

Needless to say, there are a ton of fascinating issues to see on the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With over 35,000 animals and 550 species on show, together with an enormous Open Sea wing that has seemingly no boundaries, it’s straightforward to spend a full day right here. There can also be a sea otter care heart and show tank, a species on which a lot of the aquarium’s analysis efforts are centered.

The Cannery Row promenade that the aquarium sits on can also be stuffed with enjoyable actions, eating places, and procuring, with the aquarium being the true anchor to all of it. Take a self-guided walking tour of the realm to get the total expertise of Monterey. Also, remember that whereas California is a well known whale-watching space, there are none on show on the aquarium – however you possibly can take a whale-watching tour to see some.

15. Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve

Distance from San Francisco: 44 miles (about 1 hour by automobile)

Nature lovers is likely to be all in favour of visiting the one intensive wetlands on the San Francisco peninsula coast, the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. This smaller recreation space nonetheless counts about 235 acres and is the place the Butano and Pescadero Creeks meet.

There are a number of pleasant trails and exquisite websites all through the protect. The hottest is the Sequoia Audubon Trail, operating from the tide swimming pools of the coast, via the grass and marsh alongside the creek, and into the forest behind. Other trails embrace Butano Trail, Round Hill Trail, and North Pond Trail.

One of the primary issues that allures guests to the marsh is the wildlife that may be noticed there. Endangered native species just like the San Francisco garter snake (innocent), nice blue heron, and the California red-legged frog are all recognized to inhabit the ponds and banks within the protect.

The space round Pescadero city and the protect generally is a good place to base your self in case you are trying to do just a few days of mountaineering, browsing, or seaside rest. With restricted lodges, there are just a few trip leases just like the Ocean View Cottage within the space which have every part it is advisable to recharge after a day of enjoyable.

See Related: How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card

16. Mount Tamalpais State Park

Sunset in Mount Tamalpais State Park

Distance from San Francisco: 20 miles (about 45 minutes by automobile)

Mount Tamalpais State Park surrounds some of the distinguished peaks inside the Muir Woods. This mountain, recognized regionally as Mount Tam, rises over 2,500 toes of elevation and sits simply north of the town over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The mountain is a spot to follow a variety of out of doors actions, together with mountaineering, biking, tenting, horseback using, and even grasp gliding. While trails to the height might be steep and difficult, those that make it are rewarded with views all the way in which to San Francisco Bay and past.

Heading down the slope might be simply as rewarding, nonetheless. Stinson Beach is the tip level of many trails and is a superb place to wind down at a café or leap into the ocean. Other factors alongside the rocky shoreline, like Steep Ravine Beach and different small, sandy coves, are quieter spots to loosen up with a view.

The views are what encourage individuals to discover Mount Tamalpais State Park. Some of the most well-liked viewpoints are Forbes Bench, O’Rourke’s Bench, and Veterans’ Bench. Take Ridgecrest Boulevard for a wide range of lovely views.

17. Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Skyline and Scenery

Distance from San Francisco: 180-200 miles (about 3.5 hours by automobile)

Here, we’re pushing the boundaries of a day journey once more – however for a very good trigger. Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe National Forest are a number of the most appreciated locations within the north of California for his or her pure magnificence and peaceable environment.

Small cities line the California shoreline of Lake Tahoe, and the cities of Tahoe City and South Lake Tahoe are good locations to plan your journey. In each, you’ll discover loads of eating places, retailers, and locations to entry and benefit from the clear lake water.

Lake Tahoe is very large, which permits loads of room for enjoyable on the water: kayaking, jet snowboarding, paddle boarding, water snowboarding, and swimming are only a few. You’ll discover water sports activities facilities throughout the lake. It’s finest to take a boat ride or helicopter tour to see the most effective spots on the lake, each of which can take your breath away.

While the crystal clear water and mountainous panorama are actually spectacular in the summertime, make no mistake, Tahoe is a winter vacation spot as properly. Winter sports activities like skiing and snowboarding are practiced on the slopes simply above the shoreline and are an equally lovely approach to admire the views.

See Related: Best Beaches in Lake Tahoe

18. Sacramento

Sacramento Skyline

Distance from San Francisco: 88 miles (about 1.5 hours by automobile)

Many persons are shocked to listen to that the capital of California is definitely Sacramento, positioned simply an hour and a half from the San Francisco Bay Area. Known regionally because the City of Trees and the Farm-to-Fork Capital, Sacramento has a popularity for being a serious producer of the meals many Americans discover on their menus day-after-day.

Sacramento has a younger and evolving tradition and is called a really “hipster” metropolis. Top points of interest embrace the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest of its sort west of the Mississippi, the California Automobile Museum, and the Old Sacramento neighborhood, with its historic buildings and streets.

One of the most effective methods to see the town is by boat on the Sacramento River, which hosts social gathering cruises and fundamental sightseeing excursions alike. Since the town is understood for its meals and produce, it might even be acceptable to strive a Sacramento food and history tour and luxuriate in the most effective eateries on the town.

In a metropolis of this dimension and with a ton to do, some guests may discover it worthwhile to spend an evening or extra. The Hyatt Regency Sacramento is opulent, centrally positioned, and well-equipped with a pool and spa.

See Related: Best Things to do in Sacramento, California

19. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Distance from San Francisco: 66 miles (about 1.5 hours by automobile)

Want to see the large, historic redwood timber that the northern areas of California are recognized for? You’ll actually discover them in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park and a California Historical Landmark.

Just south of the town and reverse Castle Rock State Park within the Santa Cruz Mountains, the greater than 18,000 acres of woods listed here are dwelling to the biggest steady stand of historic coast redwoods south of San Francisco. The climates and ecosystems within the park vary from damp and sometimes foggy close to the coast to sunny and heat within the heights.

The park is dwelling to a number of campsites, a few of which require you to convey a tent and others totally outfitted with cabins. Even in case you don’t keep the evening, there are a variety of waterfalls and loop trails which can be simply doable in a day’s hike or much less. Certain summits present ocean views when clouds aren’t current.

Once you’ve had sufficient time with the large timber and peaceable forests, just a few vineyards and wineries might be discovered simply exterior the park within the mountainous countryside. The city of Redwood Grove is dwelling to some, plus some nice eating places and cafés.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Fallbrook, California

20. Mendocino National Forest

Mendocino National Forest Trail

Distance from San Francisco: 140 miles (about 2.5 hours by automobile)

There are almost a million acres of rugged, mountainous wilderness that the Mendocino National Forest protects. It’s additionally the one considered one of all of California’s nationwide forests to not be crossed by a paved highway, so that is actually a spot to get off the grid in your escape from San Francisco.

The closest level to achieve the forest is its southeastern edge within the Sacramento Valley foothills, close to Clear Lake and the cities that encompass it. From there, you have to be able to do some off-road driving, if not mountaineering, biking, or horseback using.

In truth, the Mendocino National Forest is a little bit of an off-roader’s paradise. There are many filth roads and trails appropriate for jeeps and different 4x4s, filth bikes, and quads, for instance. That’s not all, although – these forests have huge areas for actions like searching, fishing, boating, picnicking, and extra.

There are many forests and wildernesses inside the park to think about, based mostly on the huge dimension of the entire protect. The Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Forest within the north of the park is the place yow will discover a few of its highest peaks of over 7,000 toes in elevation, whereas the Sanhedrin Wilderness within the west doesn’t have any developed trails, offering for a extremely distant expertise.

21. Reno, Nevada

Reno City Night Lights

Distance from San Francisco: 220 miles (about 3.5 hours by automobile)

Trying to get out of the Golden State on your day journey? Well, the Silver State is simply to the east and is your finest guess – particularly, the town of Reno. While it’s going to take you greater than three hours to get there by automobile, the journey might be made in a day or became a weekend getaway.

Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno is similar to Las Vegas in some methods, however Reno loyalists will inform you it’s way more gratifying. There are neon lights and casinos right here too, and lots of guests do come to strive their luck on the video games and crawl the bars.

Outdoor actions can be found on the Truckee River, Pyramid Lake, and the jap Sierra Nevada Mountains. Winter actions like an ATV and snowmobile adventure can be found within the chilly months, making Reno a year-round vacation spot.

If you’re staying a bit longer than a day, the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is an iconic place to remain and have enjoyable in Reno. Lake Tahoe is simply south of the town and simply mixed with it on a weekend within the area, and the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, & Casino stands out as the excellent place to remain on the Nevada facet.

See Related: Best Places to Visit within the US

22. Fresno

Fresno Cityscape

Distance from San Francisco: 190 miles (about 2.75 hours by automobile)

Take a trip into the guts of the San Joaquin Valley, one other main agricultural manufacturing area of California, and also you’ll discover the town of Fresno within the center. While it’s the fifth largest metropolis in California, Fresno has a small-town vibe that makes guests really feel welcome.

There are loads of enjoyable issues to do in Fresno, starting from historic to adventurous. One of essentially the most well-known, by far, is the Forestiere Underground Gardens. This underground complicated was hand-dug by an Italian immigrant who was experimenting to search out methods to flee the summer season warmth and in addition develop crops. Today, its 65 chambers and gardens beneath the bottom are open for exploration.

Other fashionable points of interest embrace the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which has all kinds of animal shows like giraffes and otters, and the Island Waterpark, an incredible place to chill off within the summertime. You’ll discover breweries, cafés, and eating places serving native meals and drinks all through city.

Fresno is a well-liked place to begin for guests to the close by Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. If you’re headed to 1 or each of these lovely locations, think about staying the evening in Fresno. The Holiday Inn Express Fresno South has free parking and free breakfast.

23. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Distance from San Francisco: 150 miles (about 2.5 hours by automobile)

Many vacationers have the well-known Big Sur on their to-do checklist, and this rugged area is actually accessible on a day journey from San Francisco. The Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park encompasses one thousand acres of the expanse and is a superb place to journey inside it.

The solely actual approach to get to the park is by driving the Pacific Coast Highway about 45 minutes south of Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s a wonderful stretch of shoreline that could be very gratifying to drive, and a few individuals make this their exercise of alternative in Big Sur. You can obtain a Pacific Coast Highway self-drive tour for this part of the highway.

But in case you select to park your automobile and head out on foot on this State Park, some beautiful sights await. Most guests wish to comply with the paths alongside the rivers and creeks, resulting in scenic gorges and waterfalls. There are views throughout the valleys and ridges after a little bit of climbing as properly.

Just previous the park on the freeway is the city of Posts, a small group among the many rugged terrain. Stop by for some traditional American barbecue at one of many few native eating places, or have a look inside one of many artwork galleries.

See Related: Best Cancel Anytime Travel Insurance

24. Redding

Redding Aerial View

Distance from San Francisco: 220 miles (about 3.25 hours by automobile)

Another comparatively small metropolis that serves as a regional capital is Redding, a bit over three hours north of San Francisco. Sitting on the Sacramento River, it was a inhabitants heart throughout the Nineteenth-century gold rush, because the tributaries close by proved considerably profitable to find gold.

One of the largest attracts to the city is the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. This is a spot with many particular person points of interest, corresponding to an arboretum and botanical gardens, a museum, a wildlife heart, and a path alongside the river. The Sundial Bridge throughout the river on its grounds is a neighborhood icon and, moreover functioning as a bridge, is a huge, working sundial.

There is loads of outside enjoyable available in and close to Redding as properly. The Whiskeytown National Recreation Area presents tenting, mountaineering, and fishing on a big lake on the outskirts of city. Explorers on the lookout for a problem can take the path across the Mount Shasta Mine Loop.

The Shasta State Historic Park is without doubt one of the finest issues to do close to Redding. It’s the ruins of a Nineteenth-century gold mining village, offering a singular and genuine look into the previous of the Wild West. Explore the museum, jail, blacksmith store, bakery, and different restored brick buildings that are actually protected websites.

25. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Distance from San Francisco: 240 miles (about 3.5 hours by automobile)

While San Francisco stands out as the closest main metropolis to Hawaii, you don’t must fly all the way in which to the Aloha State to get your volcano repair. Lassen Volcanic National Park is simply east of Redding and reachable from the Bay Area, and when you received’t see stay lava right here, there are some fairly wonderful sights.

This nationwide park is considered one of a handful of locations on the planet the place all 4 sorts of volcanos might be discovered. Plug dome, protect, cinder cone, and stratovolcano sorts are all inside its limits. Lassen Peak dominates the panorama and is the biggest plug dome volcano on the planet.

The space surrounding Lassen Peak is very energetic, with thermal springs, steam vents, and boiling mud swimming pools all through. Bumpass Hell is without doubt one of the hottest locations to see within the park, the place acres of boiling mud cowl the floor and might be noticed from a deck above.

Elsewhere, yow will discover moonlike lava landscapes overlaying the mountainsides that may idiot you into pondering you’re on the Big Island of Hawaii. Looking larger above, you’ll see a number of everlasting snow fields on the mountains that distinction the fiery exercise happening underground. Don’t miss this wild expertise and hidden gem in northern California.

See Related: Best Things to do in Hawaii & Places to Visit

FAQ

Where can I’m going for a day journey within the Bay Area?

If you’re trying to keep inside the Bay Area, there are a number of day-trip choices. Angel Island or the Golden Gate National Recreation Area make for excellent outside adventures, whereas San Jose and Sacramento are good metropolis breaks that make for excellent day journeys from San Francisco by practice.

Is Yosemite National Park a day journey from San Francisco?

One of the most effective day journeys from the Bay Area, California is actually Yosemite National Park. While it’s a couple of three-hour drive every method, early risers can undoubtedly slot in a full day of sightseeing on this lovely place, whereas spending an evening or two makes for top-of-the-line weekend getaways in northern California.

Do you want a automobile for day journeys from San Francisco?

If you want to make some day journeys from San Francisco with no automobile, there are just a few choices, corresponding to going to San Jose or Sacramento by practice. You also can take a collection of buses to locations like Half Moon Bay, Napa Valley, or Santa Cruz, however it’s going to take longer than having a automobile.

Can you go to Lake Tahoe on a day journey from San Francisco?

The California shores of Lake Tahoe are available in at simply over three hours from San Francisco, making the crystal clear waters and thrilling ski slopes inside attain for a day journey. You’ll need to get an early begin in case you are returning same-day, however there are various lodges and trip leases alongside Tahoe incase you determine to spend just a few nights.

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