San Francisco is a vibrant and exciting city, but there’s so much more to explore just beyond its borders. From natural wonders to world-renowned wineries, these are the top 10 day trips you won’t want to miss.
Yosemite National Park
With its towering granite cliffs and cascading waterfalls, Yosemite is a natural wonder that should not be missed. Allow for at least a full day to explore the park’s many hiking trails and take in the breathtaking views.
Napa & Sonoma Wine Country
Napa and Sonoma Valleys are home to some of the world’s most renowned wineries. Take a tour to visit several wineries, taste wines and learn about the wine-making process. A full day tour is highly recommended.
Muir Woods National Monument
Take a short drive north of the city to explore the ancient redwood forest of Muir Woods and the charming waterfront town of Sausalito. Allow for at least half a day.
Point Reyes National Seashore
This 71,000-acre coastal park offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore tide pools, hike through forests, and view wildlife such as Tule elk, grey fox, and sea otters. Allow for at least half a day.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
See the marine wildlife of the Monterey Bay up close at this world-class aquarium. Allow for at least half a day to fully explore the exhibits.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply referred to as Carmel, is a charming coastal town located about 2 hours drive from San Francisco. The town’s main street, Ocean Avenue, is lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. The town is also known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and its white sandy beaches. Visitors can take a walk along the beach and enjoy the scenic coastal views.
Enjoy the spectacular coastal views and hike on the many trails of Big Sur. Allow for at least half a day.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Take a trip back in time at this classic seaside amusement park. Allow for at least half a day.
Lake Tahoe: Enjoy the crystal clear waters and stunning mountain views of Lake Tahoe, which is about 3 hours drive from San Francisco. You can go for a hike, swim, boat, kayak or just relax on the beach. Allow for at least a full day.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a beautiful state park located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about an hour drive from San Francisco. One of the main attraction in the park is the Roaring Camp, which is a historic logging camp that has been preserved and offers visitors a glimpse into the area’s logging history. The park also offers a number of hiking trails that range from easy to challenging and provide the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the park. Visitors can also take a guided nature walk, which are offered by the park rangers on weekends. Allow for at least half a day.
These are just a few of the many incredible day trips you can take from San Francisco. Whether you’re looking for natural beauty, culture, or good food and drink, there’s something for everyone just a short drive from the city. Don’t hesitate to take a tour that offers these points of interest, and explore beyond the city limits to make the most of your San Francisco vacation.