Winery in Napa
You can spend weeks visiting San Francisco and never run out of things to do and see. There are some amazing places around the city that are worth visiting, though. If you can tear yourself away from the City by the Bay, these are some of the best day trips from San Francisco:
Day Trips East of San Francisco
Berkeley – Berkeley makes a great day trip from San Francisco. Easily accessible by public transportation on BART, Berkeley has great restaurants and shopping as well as a beautiful university campus. Don’t miss the famous Telegraph Avenue or the “Gourmet Ghetto”, as locals call the excellent foodie area around Shattuck Avenue north of University Avenue.
Day Trips North of San Francisco
Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley – The best wineries in California make for some of the best day trips from San Francisco. Napa and Sonoma Valley are packed with top-notch places for wine tasting, and a visit to one or more is a must on any trip to the area. While Napa’s wineries are bigger and more commercial, Sonoma’s are more intimate and often family-run.
Tiburon and Sausalito – Just north of San Francisco, the picturesque towns of Tiburon and Sausalito are great places for a day trip. Wander around the small streets and go window shopping at the myriad boutiques by the by. Do as the locals do and have a beer on the pier at Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiburon before taking the ferry to San Francisco.
The Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and Muir Woods – If outdoor pursuits are your thing, don’t miss a chance to go hiking in the hills just north of San Francisco. The Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and Muir Woods all offer miles of excellent hiking trails for those that want to leave the urban bustle behind. After your day of hiking, stop by Stinson Beach for some relaxation by the ocean.
Day Trips South of San Francisco
Half Moon Bay and Pescadero – If you like beaches, surfing, or just being by the coast, Half Moon Bay and Pescadero are the best day trips from San Francisco. These quiet farming towns are flanked by some of California’s most beautiful coastline along the famous Highway 1.
Stop by Pescadero for a slice of California history and lunch at Duarte’s Tavern before heading north to Half Moon Bay for golf, surfing, beaches, and coastal trails. If you want to stay the night, the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay is the perfect romantic getaway. The best time of year to visit this area is from September to November, when the summer fog rolls out and the California sunshine graces the shores.
Silicon Valley – The vast stretch of peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose is the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous technology. Visit the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, or have breakfast at Buck’s of Woodside to rub shoulders with Silicon Valley’s famous venture capitalists.
Day Trips West of San Francisco
Whale Watching – One of the best things about San Francisco is its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. During whale watching season, head out on a boat to see the famous Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, and Gray Whales. If you’re lucky, you might spot an Orca Whale as well.
The Farallon Islands – 27 miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon Islands are one of the best day trips from San Francisco. Accessible by boat from the city, the islands are a famous national wildlife refuge. Visitors can see all kinds of seabirds, whales, seals, sea lions, and sharks.