6 Must-See Day Trips from San Francisco

San Francisco

One of the nice things about San Francisco is that you can take many day trips outside the city that are only an hour or two drive away. And since San Francisco is getting more crowded by the day, you’ll welcome the opportunity to get out of town for some fresh air and wide open spaces.

Here are six day trips you can take out of San Francisco and that I’m sure you will love.

Support Wine Country

alpha omega winery day trips
Alpha Omega winery

The recent wine country fires were absolutely terrible to watch unfold on the news, but I can’t imagine what it must be like for all those who have lost loved ones or their homes and all of their possessions. One big way that we can all help the victims and the area in general is by visiting the wineries, restaurants, and small businesses in wine country.

My favorite places to sip a glass of wine are Alpha Omega and Frog’s Leap but there are so many to choose from and you really can’t go wrong. If wine just isn’t your thing, there is much shopping and food to be had. Visit downtown Napa or the Napa Premium outlets for good shopping and downtown Napa, Sonoma, and Calistoga and Yountville have bountiful options for food. My favorite places to eat are The Girl and the Fig, Oenotri, Bouchon Bakery, and the Oxbox Public Market.

frog's leap winery day trips
Frog’s Leap winery

Wine country is especially great for a girls’ trip or bachelorette party. You could relax poolside at the luxurious Meritage, soak in the salt baths at the Fairmont Sonoma Inn and Spa, or get massages and use the pool at MacArthur Place.


View marine life in Monterey

monterey bay aquarium day trips

Monterey is the day trip for you if you enjoy being by the water. Visit the marine life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, walk Cannery Row, enjoy the beautiful coastline, and indulge in some serious sea food. The quiet and relaxing town is only a 2 hour drive south of San Francisco and Carmel-by-the-Sea is the next town over and also worth a visit.


Start the fall season in Apple Hill

apple hill day trips

If you love fall foliage and apple pie (and who doesn’t?), you must day trip to Apple Hill to get into the spirit of the season. Apple Hill is an area in Placerville, close to Sacramento, that is full of apple orchards and markets and vineyards where you can do some apple-picking, wine tasting, and shopping to stock up on pies, produce, and more. It is a true country escape complete with fresh air, wide open spaces, and colorful trees.

Eat your way through Pescadero

pescadero day trips

Pescadero is another small, sleepy sea-side town that I think is under the radar but deserves some day trip attention. There is a lot of great food to be had in Pescadero including the Pie Ranch and Arcangeli Grocery and beautiful and fun attractions like the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and the Harley Farms Goat Dairy. Also, on the short drive back to San Francisco you can stop for drinks or dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. They have a picturesque patio facing the water – a perfect way to end the day.


Relax in quiet Bodega Bay

bodega bay day trips
Putting ourselves in the setting of the movie The Birds

If you or someone you know is a big Hitchcock fan then take a day trip to Bodega Bay. This town is most famous for being the setting to the famous film The Birds but like Monterey, it’s also a great place to go for good seafood and water views. I highly recommend the Osmosis Day spa for some rest and relaxation, Wildflour Bread for out of this world pastries and bread, and a bowl of clam chowder or fish n’ chips while you look out to the bay.

Hike the Tennessee Valley Trail

tennessee valley day trips

The Marin Headlands is by far the shortest day trip from San Francisco. You simply drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and have so many hiking trails to choose from and I love the Tennessee Valley Trail so far in my explorations of this area. The trail is a super easy 1.7 mile hike that is mostly flat and leads to the Tennessee Beach where you could sit and have a picnic. Or you could drive to the nearby restaurant Sol which has the most delicious Puerto Rican food. I swear everyone raves about it and for good reason!


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