The Best Day Trips From San Francisco

San Francisco is an incredible city and you won’t have shortage of things to see and do there. The City – as locals call it – is also a great starting point to explore many other places in California. Indeed, you can go on many day trips from San Francisco – quaint small towns; beautiful coasts; national parks and hikes galore; and the incredible wine valleys are only some of the places you can visit.

Curious to find out more? I have asked a bunch of other bloggers to recommend the best day trips from San Francisco, and this is what they came out with. Continue reading!

Half Moon Bay
Photo courtesy of Andre Tan on Unsplash

25 Best Day Trips From San Francisco

Half Moon Bay

Easily one of the best day trips from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is located just 30 miles south of The City, but a million miles away in terms of atmosphere. This is rural charm at its best, with lots of coastal trails that are perfect for hiking, horse riding, bird watching and and idyllic sandy beaches galore with a great surf.

If you want to venture to rude the waves, you must be warned: the water is terribly cold in this part of the coast. If you don’t feel like surfing yourself, you can attend one of the surfing competitions that happen at Mavericks Beach when the conditions are right.

The small town has a great selection of restaurants where you can grab lunch.

For extra fun, plan to visit in October when it’s pumpkin picking season – there even is a Pumpkin Festival!

day trips from san francisco

Marin

*Submitted by Alexa Meisler of 52 Perfect Days
 
About halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge, you enter into Marin County. While it’s only a short drive from the city, Marin offers just about every kind of outdoor activity you could wish for – as well as breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.
 
Just after exiting the Golden Gate in Marin County, on the right side is Vista Point and a great spot to pull off for the incredible views of the bridge and city. 
 
Muir Woods, one of the first National Parks created in the United States, is one of the last remaining ancient redwood forests in the Bay Area. Some of the redwoods are nearly 1,000 years old and reach heights of more than 250 feet. This is one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area for a hike and exploring nature. 

A drive along the coast of West Marin toward the Point Reyes National Seashore is absolutely a must in Marin. The beaches are beautiful and there are truly endless opportunities for outdoor fun. 

Check out this guided day trip to Muir Woods that goes through Marine County.

Mill Valley

Mill Valley

*Submitted by Carole Terwilliger Meyers of Berkeley And Beyond

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge about 14 miles north of San Francisco, tiny Mill Valley is one of the best day trips from San Francisco. This small place is reputed to have more professionals per capita living here than anywhere else in the U.S. Its affluence supports cafes and restaurants and boutiques, as well as an annual film festival. Many Bay Area residents visit the town to get some fresh air.

A particularly popular spot is Old Mill Park, which features old-growth redwood trees in an idyllic stream-side setting – the perfect spot for a picnic that can be gathered from the well-stocked downtown grocery. The entrance to the famous, and rigorous, 7.1-mile Dipsea Trail begins at this park and ends across Mount Tamalpais at Stinson Beach.

More trails await hikers in Mount Tamalpais State Park, where the hills inspired an area resident to develop the mountain bike. If you time your visit for early summer, you can experience the natural outdoor amphitheater atop the mountain where a Broadway musical has been presented annually since 1913.

Mount Tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Submitted by Allison Green of California Crossroads

For a nature-filled escape from San Francisco, head to Mount Tamalpais State Park for some of the best views and hiking in the North Bay Area.

Mount Tam State Park is home to 60 miles of trails, including the beautiful already mentioned Dipsea Trail which you can take all the way down to Stinson Beach or connect with Muir Woods. 

Another great hike is the hike up to the East Peak, where a scenic fire lookout marks the summit and sweeping views over the Bay form a beautiful panorama. Another trail beloved by locals is the Cataract Falls Trail, which is a great winter and early spring hike when the waterfall is at its best.

Besides hiking, you can also enjoy other activities such as horseback riding, hang gliding, camping, and mountain biking, making it a great place for any kind of outdoor adventure when you escape the city!

Muir Woods
Photo courtesy of Spencer Backman on Unsplash

Muir Woods

*Submitted by Dhara of Roadtripping California

Muir Woods National Monument makes for a fun day trip from San Francisco. The park protects old growth redwood forests, and is one of the places nearest to the city where you can walk among the giant coastal redwoods.

Muir Woods is not very large, but it is beautiful, and because visitors are limited (you have to reserve in advance to visit), you can take your time admiring the beauty of the redwoods at leisure in relative peace and quiet.

The most popular activity in Muir Woods is hiking. There are miles of trails that lead you through groves of redwoods. You can also enjoy Redwood Creek, which flows through the park. If you visit in the winter, you can see endangered species of salmon that come here to spawn.

Muir Woods Cafe offers delectable food for lunch.

You can drive to Muir Woods from San Francisco or arrive by the Muir Woods shuttle. In either case, you have to reserve online in advance.

For more information about guided day trips from San Francisco to Muir Woods National Monument, click here.

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

*Submitted by Aditi Sharma of Land of Travels

For an unforgettable day trip from San Francisco, plan on visiting Avenue of the Giants – the spectacular 32-mile drive through the coastal redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. To reach this scenic drive, head north from San Francisco along US-101 for about 4-hours and take exit 645 at Phillipsville.

Avenue of the Giants winds its way along the Eel River as it passes through redwood forests, meadows and quaint towns. To make the most of your visit, follow the auto-tour highlighted in the brochures available near the southern and northern entrances of the drive.

Spend time marveling at the impressive redwood trees at Bolling Grove and Founders Grove before stopping at the largest redwood grove along the route – Rockefeller Grove. Driving through the ‘Shrine Drive-Thru Tree’ is a highlight for many and this stop is also perfect for a relaxing picnic. If you enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails in the park including the popular Founders Grove loop leading to the Founders Tree and the fallen Dyerville Giant.

In addition to the scenic drive and the nearby hiking trails, adventure enthusiasts can also indulge in kayaking, swimming, camping and even horseback riding during a visit to Avenue of the Giants.

Sequoia

Sequoia National Park

*Submitted by James Ian of Parks Collecting

Sequoia National Park is a must-visit place in California. Most of the world’s sequoia trees, which are the largest trees on our planet, grow there. Seeing them is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

The biggest tree on earth is the General Sherman Tree (most of the really big trees have been given names), and this makes a good place to start. Nearby is the small Giant Forest Museum, which has lots of interesting information about the trees.

From the General Sherman Tree, a great hike is the Congress Trail. An easy two-hour walk passes many of the largest solitary trees, plus a couple of small groves. One tree – the appropriately named Room Tree – has a hollowed out trunk that you can actually walk inside!

At about four hours away, the national park makes a long day trip from San Francisco, but it’s a compact park and if you set out by 7:00 am and don’t mind arriving back late, you can easily see all the highlights in a day.

Day trips from San Francisco

Santa Cruz

*Submitted by Cathy Winston of MummyTravels and Victoria Wazz Kennedy of Bridges and Balloons

Just over an hour’s drive from San Francisco, this is easily one of the best day trips from San Francisco. The first thing that strikes you about Santa Cruz is the colors. Built in 1907 as the ‘Coney Island of the West’, it has popped up as the backdrop in countless movies – more about that below!

Santa Cruz has a hippy, laidback vibes, with the added bonus of gorgeous beaches. The surf has made this chilled-out beach spot so famous. Legend has it that surfing first arrived in the US here, and you can watch or join surfers on the waves. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum has more history and some very old-school boards too.

Fun things to do in Santa Cruz aside from catching some waves, include visiting the iconic Beach Boardwalk (familiar from countless movie scenes including the Lost Boys), exploring the surrounding redwoods, hanging out at the beach and walking the cute downtown.

Another thing to do is spotting sea lions by the wharf. You can then head out along one of the coastal trails to look for dolphins and whales, and for more Instagrammable houses, you’ll find Capitola just 10 minutes further south down the coast.

If you’re traveling as a family don’t miss the steam train through the redwoods and ice cream at The Penny Ice Creamery. And on the drive down, stop at Swanton Berry Farm for a bit of seasonal fruit picking.

Big Sur

Big Sur

*Submitted by Jenny Kotlyar of Limitless Hiker

Big Sur is a beautiful day trip from San Francisco. Take a drive along the iconic Highway 1 through coastal redwood trees that overlook the turquoise ocean crashing along the coastline. California really has so much to offer, it’s amazing. Stop by McWay Falls and look at the waterfall flowing to the beach and gaze over the ocean at Bixby Bridge.

Explore Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or Limekiln State Park. If you want to turn your day trip into a weekend getaway, you can either camp at one of the state parks, or go off-roading and find some dispersed camping to stay in. There are also so many turnouts along the way where you can sightsee and enjoy the fresh air and the views.

Monterey

Monterey

*Submitted by Maggie Turansky of The World Was Here First

If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from San Francisco, then you absolutely cannot go wrong with visiting Monterey and nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea. Whether you visit Monterey as a day trip or choose to spend longer in the area, you’re sure to never run out of things to do.
 
Arguably one of the highlights of the area is the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium. This world-renowned aquarium was the first to ever house and care for a Great White shark; the first to foster a living kelp forest and the team of biologists working here are doing excellent research and conservation work for our oceans. 
 
There are also a number of other attractions in Monterey that you can’t miss. Take the time to walk down Cannery Row, visit the Old Fisherman’s Wharf or take a stroll along part of the Monterey Bay Coast Recreational Trail.
 
Heading south, you can’t miss the scenic 17-mile drive, lauded as one of the most beautiful routes in the United States (more about that in a bit). After taking in the dramatic coastal scenery, it’s time to explore charming Carmel.

Carmel by the Sea
Photo courtesy of Cameron Venti on Unsplash

Carmel by the Sea

*Submitted by Priya Vin of Outside Suburbia

Located just an hour and a half away, Carmel by the Sea makes for one of the best day trips from San Francisco. The charming village has a sliver of white sand beaches and natural parklands nearby. It is hard not to fall in love with the flower-filled courtyards, gardens and storybook-style cottages with names like Hansel & Gretel and Ocean’s End. The whole town is so photogenic, so bring your camera!

Make time to enjoy a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea at the Tuck Box. The scenic 17-mile drive is not too far away or you can drive up Highway 1 to Big Sur and have lunch with a view at one of the restaurants where you can see the land meet the ocean.

Book your accommodations early if you decide to spend the weekend in Carmel since there are only a few Inns in town. And keep in mind, you have to get a special permit to wear heels over 2 inches in Carmel. Yep, it is the law!

This guided day trip from San Francisco goes to Monterey and Carmel by the Sea.

day trips from San Francisco

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

*Submitte by Ankita Biswas of My Travelling Stilettos

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve lies at the coast of Monterey Bay near the pretty town of Carmel-by-the-Sea – just 125 miles away from San Francisco. It is known for its rich marine life. You can spot sea lions, sea otters, seals, pelicans while hiking through its different trails.

All hiking trails are beautiful, but you will enjoy the oceanfront trails the most. Hikes ranging from half to 3 miles are pretty easy barring few stairs here and there. You should allocate more time than you think you need as you cannot stop yourself from stopping every few minutes. Along the trails, you can enjoy a hidden beach behind China Cove, relax at the sandy Gibson Beach, do birdwatching at Pelican Point and Sea Lion Point, watch waves crashing on the rocky shorelines by the Cypress Forest and play in the tide pools.

Have a picnic lunch when you are tired. Don’t forget to carry a water bottle and a light jacket. The reserve is open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. Parking is available.

day trips from San Francisco
Photo courtesy of Cameron Venti on Unsplash

17-Mile Drive

*Submitted by Jyoti Baid of Story at Every Corner

Located in the Monterey Peninsula, 17-Mile Drive is one of the most beautiful drives on planet. If you’re visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s a must-do day trip. It’s essentially a U shaped route and you start from the northwest point and drive along the stops all the way to the exit. The entrance to Pebble Beach resorts and the drive has a ticket that gets reimbursed if you spend a certain amount at the resorts. Even if you don’t buy anything for reimbursement, every penny is worth it.

At the start you get a brochure with well marked vista points and stops – 17 in all. Each stop is unique and stunning in its own right. Be sure to take a well charged camera and plenty to time to soak in some of the most famous and photogenic spots.

First part of the drive is along the ocean until you reach the lodge at Pebble Beach. There’s a small marketplace, golf course and all the amenities at marker 14 & 15. It’s a great place to get lunch, dinner or a delicious snack.

From there on the drive goes through hills and groves of tall trees. Along the road are some of the most beautiful homes, that belong to the rich & famous celebrities.

A word of caution: be sure to dress in layers and wear warm clothes. Like any Northern California beach, it can get cold & windy or sunny & warm. Be prepared for an amazing day. You’ll love the entire drive.

You can actually bike the 17-Mile drive. For more information, click here.

San Francisco day trips
Photo courtesy of Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

Sonoma Valley

*Submitted by Sarah Hughes of All About Glamping

Situated just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, the beautiful Sonoma Valley is a top day trip destination from “The City.” With 17-miles of breathtaking varied landscape, more than 100 world-class wineries, and a plethora of boutique shops, cute cafes, gourmet dining, art galleries, and year-round events it’s a day trip that will have you dreaming of returning.

Sonoma Valley is more laid back and less commercialized than the nearby Napa Valley so it attracts those looking for a relaxed day of touring interspersed with stops here and there for a bite or tasting.

However, the Sonoma Valley is much more than wineries. If you’re visiting with kids there are plenty of options as well. The valley is full of parks and trails for scenic hiking and cycling including the jaw dropping views of Overlook Trail.

Take the family on an adventure at Safari West with more than 900 animals freely roaming 400-acres of wilderness in the “Sonoma Serengeti.” Or take to the Redwood tree tops on a Sonoma Canopy Tour full of ziplines, sky bridges and rappelling.

If you decide you need more than a day in the valley there are plenty of accommodation options including some pretty epic glamping experiences to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

If you don’t fancy driving, you may want to check out this excellent guided day tour to Sonoma Valley. For a combined Sonoma and Napa Valley tour, click here.

Petaluma

Petaluma

*Submitted by Taryn of Chasing Trail

Located about 40 minutes north of San Francisco lies a much lesser-known wine region: Petaluma. It’s often overshadowed by Napa and Sonoma, but Petaluma is a fantastic day trip destination from San Francisco in its own right.

Wine, of course, plays a starring role in Petaluma (in particular, pinot noir and chardonnay thrive in the windy region), but there’s much more to experience in this historic town.

Petaluma’s charming downtown is dotted with antique shops, artisan restaurants emphasizing farm-to-table, art galleries, clothing boutiques, cafes, and breweries. That’s right — Petaluma is just as much a beer town as it is a wine town. In fact, Lagunitas Brewing got its start here.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Petaluma has plenty for you, too. There are beautiful walking paths traversing the rolling hillsides, the Petaluma River is perfect for kayaking or SUP, and the town is extremely bicycle-friendly. Sandy beaches and rocky cliffs on the coast are also just 30 minutes away.

Point Reyes

Point Reyes National Seashore

*Submitted by Jenessa Van Woerkom of Destination Daydreamer

If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful day trips from San Francisco, check out Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is a gorgeous coastal reserve located only a 1.5-hour drive north from Downtown San Francisco and it is a perfect place for a peaceful and rejuvenating getaway.

One of the best things you can do in Point Reyes is to enjoy hikes with sweeping ocean views (and in February-June loads of beautiful wildflowers). Two of the most popular and breathtaking hikes you can choose from are Chimney Rock Trail (2.5 km/1.6 mi roundtrip) and Abbotts Lagoon Trail (3.2 km/2 mi roundtrip). Chimney Rock Trail also includes Elephant Seal Overlook (where you can see the Elephant Seals that call Point Reyes home).

Another beautiful walk is along Limantour Beach to Sculptured Beach (4 mi/6.4 km roundtrip). The sand is packed and easy to walk on, and you will end at beautiful rock formations in the ocean (including an arch!).

You can also visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center and/or descend the 313 steps to the lighthouse itself (steps are closed when the wind is blowing over 40 mph).

Tiburon
Photo courtesy of Steven Coffey on Unsplash

Tiburon

*Submitted by Katja Gaskell of Globetotting

For an easy day trip from San Francisco, take the ferry and head across the Bay to Tiburon. This picture-perfect coastal town is the epitome of the laid back California lifestyle. Living in Tiburon does not come cheap: houses here go for multiples of millions.

Still, you can spend the day as a millionaire enjoying all that Tiburon has to offer from rugged terrain perfect for biking and hiking to water adventures including paddle boarding and sailing.

Tiburon also enjoys fantastic views from almost every corner. Don’t miss Hippie Tree, an enormous Eucalyptus tree that you can either climb, or take the perfect Instagram photo on its rope swing. The background view is of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline.

There are lots of great places to eat in Tiburon too. Try Rustic Cafe, Lola’s Taqueria and the Tiburon Tavern for starters and then make sure you book a return trip to try out the rest.

Sacramento

Sacramento

*Submitted by Trijit Mallick of BudgetTravelBuff

Sacramento is one of the best day trips from San Francisco, as it is just one and half hours driving distance from it. The capital city of California is not only beautiful but also has a lot of attractions, historical sights, and a thriving cultural scene.

Fortunately, there you will find plenty of free things to do in Sacramento, yet it is not that popular destination like other cities in California.

Sacramento is incomplete without visiting California State Capitol Museum, a perfect place for art and history lovers. Check out California’s glorious history in this executive building of the California State Government. Don’t forget to watch the documentary films in the basement of the building.

Old Sacramento State Historic Park is another popular landmark of the city. Admire the beauty of the historical buildings and Spanish architecture such as the B.F. Hastings Building, Eagle Theater, and the Big Four Building. At the day end, visit the Tower Bridge, a unique designed gold-colored bridge that looks more beautiful during the sunset.

Amtrak train service and Greyhound USA bus service both are convenient ways to get to Sacramento. You can also drive your own car which takes lesser time.

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

*Submitted by Emma Caldwell of Emma Jane Explores

Yosemite National Park is an epic day trip from San Francisco, and if you are willing to take the three-hour drive there you will definitely not be disappointed. Known for its waterfalls, lush meadows and granite cliffs that form deep valleys, Yosemite is one of the world’s most renowned national parks.

From San Francisco, Yosemite National Park is best accessed by driving directly inland for three hours via Tracy and Knights Ferry. The park does charge an admission fee – for cars this costs $30 USD per vehicle for 7 days.

Once inside, keep an eye out for the unique flora and fauna that makes Yosemite so special. On occasion, black bears can be spotted strolling the meadows or drinking from the gently flowing creeks. Yosemite Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are the two most popular waterfalls to visit, and you mustn’t head home without taking in the incredible granite rock formations of El Capitan and the Half Dome – both havens for rock climbers.

You can visit Yosemite on day trips from San Francisco such as this San Francisco: 1-day Yosemite National Park or this San Francisco to Yosemite Park full day tour.

Sausalito

Sausalito

*Submitted by Sean Lau of LivingOutLau

Located 4 miles (7 km) north of San Francisco, Sausalito is an excellent day trip for anyone seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of SF and explore the charm of a small seaside town.

Because of its close proximity, Sausalito might not seem like a full-day trip from San Francisco, but that could not be further from the truth. Connected to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge, visitors are blessed with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Be ready to be mesmerized by the stunning views of San Francisco, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the bridge itself.

A day trip to Sausalito is a trip where the destination is as exciting as the journey. This laid-back seaside town is home to many fine-dining establishments, encircling art galleries, and boutiques, most of which are dotted along the charming main street of Sausalito, Bridgeway.

Beneath the luxurious amenities and souvenir shops, visitors will also find a historic side of Sausalito that tourists often miss. Museums and many other historical areas are ready to tell the story of Sausalito!

To get to Sausalito, you can use the hop-on hop-off bus – get your tickets here. Alternatively, you can go on a guided tour such as this one.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe

*Submitted by Daria of The Discovery Nut

South Lake Tahoe is a town located along the southern shores of Lake Tahoe famous for its incredible beaches, hiking trails and small hidden mountain lakes.

In summer, South Lake Tahoe attracts visitors from all over the country who come here to camp, enjoy water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and explore scenic hiking trails.

The area is also home to several state parks such as Emerald Bay State Park, Donner Memorial State Park, and Van Sickle Bi-State Park.

And if you want to come in winter, South Lake Tahoe offers superb skiing options. Not only are you skiing against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States that doesn’t freeze, you are also pretty much guaranteed to enjoy amazing sun! The Lake Tahoe area receives over 300 days of sunshine per year and the snowfall here is measured in feet, compared to some places that are lucky to get a few inches.

The ski lift to Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort, the largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe, is located in the heart of downtown South Lake Tahoe and offers great nightlife, restaurants and cozy cabins that are perfect to relax after an active day.

And if you want to have some fun after a day of adventures, head to Stateline, a town in Nevada across the California border where you can explore many entertainment options.

Make sure to check out this cruise around South Lake Tahoe and this photography tour.

Napa

Downtown Napa

*Submitted by Charles McCool of McCool Travel

Napa is about 90 minutes from San Francisco and transport options are available from SFO airport and The City – so this is one of the easiest day trips from San Francisco.

Downtown Napa is the heartbeat of Napa Valley, featuring a centralized area with stores, restaurants, lodging, and activities. Everything in Napa is close and walkable so you do not need a car once after arrival.

Things to do in Napa include incredible dining, fascinating public art, and fun activities —try hot air ballooning there.

Many of the 700+ Napa Valley wineries have their wines featured in downtown Napa restaurants and shops. Suggested downtown Napa restaurants include Celadon and The Copia (at CIA—Culinary Institute of America). While at CIA, check out the Wine Hall of Fame and the public art from local artist Gordon Huether.

The Oxbow Public Market is a must see, as is the courtyard behind Napa General Store. Admire the intricate tile fountain with scenes from the history of Napa.

Napa

Napa Valley

*Submitted by Anisa Alhilali of Two Traveling Texans

If you are a wine-lover, you must make time for at least a day trip to the Napa Valley, the most famous wine region in the US. While it may be best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, there are more than 400 wineries that make many varietals.

While you can visit wineries (like Domaine Chandon, Stag’s Leap, Castello di Amorosa, and more) to sample wines, the Napa Valley Wine Train could be a fun alternative. Taste wines as you travel through the spectacular landscape.

Once you’ve had enough to drink, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Napa that don’t include wine tasting. The di Rosa museum has contemporary art and an outdoor sculpture garden. You can also go hiking in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park or see Calistoga’s Old Faithful.

You can get to Napa using public transportation but it will take around two hours and some wineries won’t be accessible. Take the San Francisco Bay Ferry from the San Francisco Ferry Building or to Vallejo, then take the Napa Valley VINE bus system Route 10.

If you want to get the most out of your short time in Napa, it’s best to take an organized tour or drive. While it only takes a little more than an hour to drive, it might be hard to find a designated driver. You can book your tour here or here.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley

*Submitted by Antoine and Marielle of Offbeat Escapades

Home to some of the world’s leading technological companies, Silicon Valley is one of the best day trips from San Francisco.

The area of Silicon Valley is very spread out encompassing various cities like Palo Alto, San Jose, Menlo Park, Cupertino and Mountain View among others.

The biggest draw of visiting Silicon Valley is to tour the headquarters of companies like Google and Apple. Apple has an interactive visitors center where you can explore the campus and experience the company’s newest developments like virtual reality. Google, on the other hand, has colorful installations everywhere, including the employee bikes scattered about, and a cool Android sculpture garden in the form of code.

Aside from these two destinations, there are also many other great things to do in Silicon Valley like checking out the different tech museums and seeing where it all started in the garages of tech gurus like Steve Jobs and Hewlett-Packard.

The best way to get there would be to self-drive as public transportation like the Caltrain (50 minutes) or bus (2 hours) takes a lot of time. You can also visit the Silicon Valley on guided tours from San Francisco such as this one.

San Jose

San Jose

*Submitted by Anjali Wadhwa of Cheerful Trails

San Jose is North California’s largest city, primarily known as the Capital of Silicon Valley, and a perfect destination for day trips from San Franscisco. The city can be conveniently reached by a flight or the Caltrain rail service just under 2 hours from San Francisco.

The city has a vibrant downtown which is a hub to various historic buildings, the Tech Museum of Innovation, Museum of Art, hotels, street style and luxury shopping areas.

If you are looking for a memorable food experience head to the San Pedro Square downtown. It is filled with many incredible restaurants serving a variety of cuisines and drinks. The Guadalupe River Park located along the scenic banks of the Guadalupe River is a centre for many leisure activities which also include 2.6 miles of nature trails.

Take a stroll around the Mediterranean themed Santana Row that features many entertaining activities, green spaces and shopping outlets. The intriguing Winchester Mystery, pictured above, is also a must visit attraction in San Jose.

Berkeley
Photo courtesy of Thomas Fields on Unsplash

Berkeley

*Submitted by Julie Espinosa of Family Travel Lifestyle

Berkeley is a little gem of a city, just 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco, and full of unique shops, interesting people, and a gorgeous campus. It’s a people-watcher’s dream and a haven for foodies.

Berkeley is easily accessible using the BART (rapid transit) system or by driving across the Bay Bridge. It’s a very walk-able city. The town is built around the campus, and be sure to book a tour in advance on the UC Berkeley website. Even if you don’t have anyone who is college age in your group, the campus is full of history best appreciated through a tour.

A ride up the campanile (bell tower) gives you one of the best views in the bay!

Grab lunch in any of Berkeley’s fabulous restaurants that range from gigantic pizza by the slice to the world famous Chez Panisse. Take a walk down the famous Telegraph Avenue, where you can peruse the used bookstores and street vendors. If you have a car, head up into the hills above campus where you’ll find the Berkeley Rose Garden, the *to do to make Berkeley a perfect day trip!

Further Readings

Traveling to California? Make sure to read my other posts:

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