What are the best day trips near San Francisco?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Kimberley Lovato

Day trippin' is one of the best reasons to come to San Francisco. As fun as the city is, there are myriad reasons to get out for a day. The trick is picking which direction you want to go!

Wine country visits are easy. Of course everyone knows the Napa Valley, which is a popular choice and at only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, it's an easy option.  But don't forget Sonoma, a historical town and home to the last of California's missions, founded in 1823. There are hundreds of small wineries in the area too. Healdsburg is the upscale sister to Sonoma, with chic eateries, hotels, shops and wine tasting cellars on the main square.

Santa Cruz has the laid back vibe expected of a California surf town and the Beach Boardwalk with roller coasters, arcade games and carousel make it ideal for families too.

Monterey is about two and a half from San Francisco, and is perched on the mighty Pacific.  Here visitors can visit the world-renowned acquarium and take 17-mile Drive, a posh stretch of gorgeous road that winds past Pebble Beach and into the tony enclave of Carmel-By-The-Sea, a gorgeous town filled with cafes, galleries and shops.


Katie Sweeney

One of the great things about San Francisco is that it's incredibly easy to get out of the city and enjoy the day elsewhere. In every direction, there is something wonderful to see and do.

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the North bay and you can explore the shops and restaurants of Marin and Sausalito. Want to hike or go on a bike ride? You can do this, too. There's the Marin Headlands and Highway 1 that takes you out to Stinson Beach and Tomales Bay. Head further North and you'll hit wine country in Sonoma and Napa. 

When you cross the Bay Bridge, you'll end up in the East bay which is home to the University of California at Berkeley and the Oakland Athletics and Raiders. If you're into drinking, check out St. George Spirits in Alameda, where day tours are offered. This company is known for it's one of a kind vodka, gin, and absinthe.

In the South Bay, you can visit Stanford University or check out the wineries of Saratoga. Head further South and you'll end up in Monterey which has world renowned golf courses, wonderful shopping, and a stunning aquarium.

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