5 San Francisco weekend getaways

By Stef Zisovska
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5 San Francisco weekend getaways

Stef Zisovska
 
San Francisco
San Francisco
 
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The city of  San Francisco is definitely a visitor’s paradise, with its perfect weather, diverse food, and great cultural life. But the City by the Bay is only part of what the area has to offer. There are many incredible places around San Francisco that you can escape to for a weekend and enjoy with your friends and family.

Here’s a short list of the best getaways around San Francisco.

Sea Ranch

The Sea Ranch Chapel, designed by James Hubbell – Author: ingridtaylar – CC BY 2.0
The Sea Ranch Chapel, designed by James Hubbell – Author: ingridtaylar – CC BY 2.0

100 miles south of San Francisco, Sea Ranch is ideal for all the outdoorsy folk who like to explore the region’s coastline. This popular vacation spot offers tourists the chance to hit the 10-mile stretch of bluff trails and view the Pacific Ocean crashing below. If you are lucky enough, you may spot some sea lions or whales. Fishing and kayaking fans can take an expedition into the water and explore the waters of the ocean.

Sonoma County has strict rules regarding the town’s architecture. Details such as unpainted wood and no streetlights during the night are some of the things that just add more charm to the place. With the lack of streetlights, you’ll get the chance to see the most spectacular night sky. Wine lovers should stop at Bodega Bay and enjoy its natural beauty accompanied by a glass of wine.

Monterey, Carmel-by-the-sea, and Asilomar

The beach on a sunny afternoon at Carmel-by-the-Sea – Author: Arzun – CC BY 3.0
The beach on a sunny afternoon at Carmel-by-the-Sea – Author: Arzun – CC BY 3.0

If you want to have a weekend full of activity, start in Monterey and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the National Steinbeck Center. For inspiring ocean views head to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a lovely beachside town. Explore the famous 17-Mile Drive that goes from the Pacific to the Pebble Beach. Carmel-by-the-sea is a perfect place to be for art lovers because of the great art festivals that take place there. Carmel Bach Festival celebrates the classical composer, and the Carmel Art & Film Festival showcases the best in independent movies, so those of you who like their art movies should visit this great vacation spot. For a perfect end to your weekend, make a visit to Asilomar State Beach and explore the miles of coastline and rocky coves.

Muir Woods and Sausalito

One of the paved trails in Muir Woods
One of the paved trails in Muir Woods

Muir Woods has 560 acres of redwoods, and it’s a great spot for Nature lovers who want to see some 1000 year old trees. Besides the majestic 250-feet tall trees you can see more than 50 bird species in the park. Also, there is a big chance that you’ll run into a black-tailed deer, which is one of the iconic animals that roam around the redwoods. Some of the park locations were used in scenes for the movie The Planet of Apes. After finishing your visit to Muir Woods, head to the beach town of Sausalito where you can see the Point Bonita Lighthouse and catch a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Santa Cruz

Surfer near Santa Cruz – Author: Brocken Inaglory – CC BY-SA 3.0
Surfer near Santa Cruz – Author: Brocken Inaglory – CC BY-SA 3.0

If you want to catch some great surfing waves, then Santa Cruz is the place for you, just 70 miles from San Francisco. Try the old carnival rides down the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk before visiting Seabright State Beach. One more thing you can’t miss while in Santa Cruz is the Mystery Spot where the law of gravity doesn’t apply. If you’re interested in optical illusions, then this is the right place for you to finish a weekend.

Half Moon Bay 

View of Half Moon Bay
View of Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a coastal town, only a 35-minute ride from San Francisco. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy horseback riding, playing golf in sight of the Pacific Ocean or gdo some birdwatching. There are also daily spa centers that you can visit to complete the weekend in a relaxed atmosphere. If the waves are big enough, you’ll maybe witness the annual Mavericks Surf Contest which is an incredible experience. Good luck!

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